Restaurant Revisited: Whiskey Creek Steakhouse

by in Shows, January 2nd, 2013

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleAt Whiskey Creek Steakhouse in Keyport, Wash., Robert Irvine found not just poor food and a dark, drab interior, but also untrustworthy staff members. After just two days, Robert had established systems that would help the owners, Pat and Karan Ziarnik, regain control of their restaurant and slowly pay off debt, and the eatery reopened as a welcoming, sophisticated steakhouse with crowd-pleasing food. We checked in with Pat and Karan a few months after their Restaurant: Impossible renovation to find out how the restaurant is doing today.

Pat and Karan tell us that October was a “very busy” month at Whiskey Creek Steakhouse. Since Robert left, they’ve begun to pay back some of their debt, and their overall financial situation is now “better than before.”

Thanks to the new, effective systems in place, Pat and Karan perform “a lot more double checks” to deter costly staff actions. Recently two staff members were let go, “mostly because they were caught doing other wrongs,” they tell us.

Both owners are working at the restaurant daily, and they say that customers have told them the food looks “clean” now. The most popular menu items are “prime rib and rib eye steak,” they note.

Pat and Karan have yet to make time for a date together, but they explain, “We have a dog that thinks he is our son, and we are stuck with him 24-7, but we love him.”

More From Restaurant Revisited:

Rising Sun Bistro (December 19)
Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Missouri (December 9)
Bronk’s Bar and Grill (December 5)
Rohrer’s Tavern (November 28)
Poco’s on the Boulevard (November 21)
Oleander Bar and Grill (October 17)
Valley Inn (October 10)
Whistle Stop (October 3)
The Maple Tree Cafe (September 26)
Michele’s (September 19)
Paliani’s Restaurant (September 12)
Frankie’s (September 5)
Gusanoz (August 29)
Stella’s (August 8)
Italian Village (August 1)
Zandi’s (July 25)
The Main Dish (July 18)
Longbranch Steak and Seafood (July 11)
Horton’s Kids (June 13)
Pollard’s (May 30)
University Grill (May 23)
Ristorante Barolo (May 16)
Pappas (May 9)
Mama Lee’s (May 2)
Pelican Grill (April 25)
Valley View (March 14)

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Comments (222)

  1. FNGossip says:

    Click on my name for more updates and reviews of the restaurant. It looks like they are still having issues.

  2. Brittany says:

    By far my favortie episode of Restaurant Impossible. I adored this couple and wish them all the best!

  3. Gwen J. says:

    I really enjoy watching Robert in this show! He always does a wonderful job in two days! This show really keeps my attention. I hope foodnetwork will keep it on for a long, long time. Good clean TV. Thanks! Gwen J.

  4. A. Rizzo says:

    Oh my gosh! They didn't go under in a few months, so it will take more than a few months to pull themselves out of the hole. Give them a chance, guys!

  5. Bri says:

    They should have fired the WHOLE staff !!!!!! They were stealing, eating food, drinking drinks, and misusing these old sick people! Their staff should be ashamed of themselves including that waitress/manager who knew that the staff was doing "wrong things"

    • Henry says:

      I agree completely

    • Jan says:

      You are sadly mistaken about the staff from this episode. They had a good loyal group and have run them into the ground. Luckily 90% of them have left to work for people who know how to treat good employees!! The owners themselves took things without paying. Funny that didn't surface in this show….

      • shedav6 says:

        AMEN JAN!! As I said above those who know…..(parents of staff) they fire the good staff or the good staff leaves for wages that are better than those at Whisky. But in doing so then the owners are able to hire a newbie for a lot less of a wage. CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP owners.

  6. Mary M says:

    My husband and I moved up to the Puget Sound area last July. We had been to Whiskey Creek not long before that when we were looking for a house. I admit, the chairs were awful, I did not like the dead animals on the walls and the food was certainly not worth the $70 bill. BUT… there was a certain charm about the place, even then, and the people were kind. I am so glad to see that it was featured on tonight's episode of Restaurant Impossible! We are looking forward to going back a second time now, and will be telling others of the show as well! Thanks food network! Mary M

    • shedav6 says:

      The food was pricey which is why we saved it for special occasions. The food was great though. The chairs admittedly were crap. But again they had cushions for those who wished to use them. All you had to do was ask and the regulars knew this. The staff has never been anything but kind to us even before they knew we were the parents of a staff member.
      I hate that they were shown on the food network because the owners were dishonest.

  7. Robin says:

    We hope they succeed! God less.

  8. YoYoDFW says:

    I think the assumption that the servers are liquidating funds overlooks the possibility that is all too common – the owners are taking their profits off the books. Avoiding taxes is the oldest scam in the books. Just something that needs to be considered before we automatically conclude that the servers are lifting six figures out of there (unlikely to be undetected by even a casual owner)…

    • Henry says:

      They are a sweet old couple they don't seem like the "avoiding taxes" type. They were inexperienced old and unhealthy owners.

      • Karen says:

        Actually, didn't they've owned this restaurant for like, 20 years, and say they came from restaurant backgrounds, that they just wanted their own business? That doesn't sound inexperienced to me. They also aren't that old – in checking this episode out, I saw article that puts him in his early 60's. It seemed that they thought they'd be able to spend a minimal amount of time there and have it still flourish – why? If this had been my restaurant, and it was doing as badly as this place was, I surely would've been there more than 3 or 4 hours, I would've worked my butt off! Reading through all these responses, and having just watched this episode (I had it DVR'd), I wouldn't be the least bit surprised that the owners had skimmed, taken food and drink themselves, and weren't nearly as nice or innocent as they attempted to appear to be.

    • pete says:

      You must work for the IRS. Did you notice the million dollar home they lost, insurance policies cashed in and cars sold, credit card maxed out? I don't think they were swimming. They made a good living for years before sickness and a recession set in. They got slack in managing the place and it cost them.

    • Edward says:

      That doesn't explain the trips and vacations they took to places like the Bahamas and Cayman's if you read their previous blog site, or looked at the post cards on old restaurant wall.

    • barny says:


    • Epic Fail says:

      There's also a problem with Irvine doing his calculations with every steak being sold at $24. In every steakhouse I've been in, a Ribeye costs more than a Sirloin, which costs more than a Flatiron etc. His steak cost totals were off from the start. What other costs was he off on.

  9. Andy in Poulsbo WA says:

    Robert needs to go back and kick butt. We used to go to Wiskey Creek alot until about 5 years ago , the food was always great the service good the seats uncomfortable but they had cushions you could grab by the host table.

    Due to circumtances we have not been back until this past Thanksgiving with a party of 6. The food was for the most part ok except my daughter-in-laws steak had to be sent back 3 times to get it to med/well.

    The service was the worst we have ever had there except for the bus boy who would tell us he tell our server of our requests, our server spent her time talking to other workers at the host table. It may be another 5 years.

    By the way I don't think I have ever seen the owners there.

  10. Judy H says:

    Their demise wasn't new! they have been scamming and screwing people for years! Late paychecks, bounced bills, they spent tons of money on their house, and their lifestyle, we worked on their house 10+ years ago along with alot of other contractors who walked off the job! because they were late in payment constantly and their checks constantly bounced! I know lots of people who have worked at the restaurant over the years and they will tell you about waiting 3 weeks for a paycheck(after payday) and it still bounced! and this was long before the economy! This dosent mean they are bad people, just that they shoudnt own a restaurant!

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