Restaurant Revisited: Maniaci’s Italian Bistro

by in Shows, March 10th, 2013

Robert Irvine at Maniaci's Italian BistroAfter their mother passed away five years ago, brothers Geoff, John and Tim Maniaci have struggled with dwindling business at their family’s 18-year-old restaurant, Maniaci’s Italian Bistro, in Mohnton, Pa. Before its Restaurant: Impossible overhaul, the eatery was losing more than $2,000 per month, and for those whose livelihoods depend on profits, the damages were almost too much to bear. Robert Irvine and his team worked with the brothers to revamp the interior of Maniaci’s and rework its menu, as well as to fix the tattered management in the hopes of giving the business a second chance at success. After only two days of renovations, Maniaci’s opened its doors again, this time to a packed dining room and with a menu focused on quality food. We checked in with Geoff, John and Tim a few months after Maniaci’s transformation to find out how the eatery is doing today.

Since Robert left, business at Maniaci’s has indeed increased, and, according to Geoff, the restaurant saw “almost $15,000 in dining room sales for the month of December.” Bar sales are up, as well, nearly $6,000 for the same month.

In terms of management, Geoff is now wholly in charge of the restaurant, and he says that “employees like that we are more structured.”

The brothers agree that customer reaction to both Maniaci’s food and updated decor has been incredible. Staff members are now expected to clean every day to maintain the hygiene of the made-over space, and management is holding them accountable. “We have the waitresses and bartenders making sure that their area is cleaned at the end of the night,” John explains. “We have made checklists for them to follow.” Geoff adds: “We want to keep everything clean and not let it go back to the way it was. We care more now than before.”

Along with a cleaner space, Maniaci’s is now offering a menu made only with fresh food. With the exception of his branzino, all of Robert’s dishes are still being featured, but the restaurant has also incorporated other plates, including those on a kids’ menu. “I have given my head cook, Lisa, more responsibility in taking over the dinners,” Tim tells us.

In regard to the family dynamic at Maniaci’s, John explains that the relationship among the brothers has been acceptable so far. “Since this is a family-owned business, there will always be tension at some point in time, but for the most part, we have been working well together.” He adds that because of his full-time job, he’s able to devote only three days per week to bartending, but it’s enough because other bartenders are there to relieve him. “My full-time job provides health insurance for my family and me, and I have to make sure that I am performing at the top of my game.”

Tim’s wife, Dre, notes that, because of her husband’s schedule, “he still doesn’t see his kids much during the week.” Both Geoff and John agree that Tim is largely more accepting of criticism than he was before the renovation. “I would have to say it all depends upon the topic,” John explains.

To Robert and the entire Restaurant: Impossible team, Tim says simply: “Thank you again for all you have done. We are truly grateful.”

More From Restaurant Revisited:

Dinner Bell Restaurant (February 27)
Nanny Goat’s Cafe & Feed Bin (February 20)
Sapori D’Italia (January 23)
Windseeker Restaurant (January 16)
Whiskey Creek Steakhouse (January 2)
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)

 

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Comments (144)

  1. mgsteve5 says:

    We went there 2 weeks after it was completed. Decor was nice, but I wasn't impressed. My wife got veal parmasan and it was so tough, she actually choked on it. The young waitress we had no idea how to respond to my comment about not paying for a meal we couldn't eat. Never saw an owner. I don't think Irvine taught them how to pick/cook veal. Tim can't learn to cook in 2 days. My meal was OK Bottom line… we won't be back. We LOVE the restaurant that they called the "competition" It's called MANGIA

  2. Guest says:

    I am very disappointed with the Sysco product placement. How blatant can it be! RI, please stop this–it lessens the program. There is nothing local and sustainable about Sysco.

    • ritgar says:

      Between that & then every d@mn commercial being for Sysco, too, it is enough to make me change the channel. But, even more absurd are the commercials with the tie in to Transitions lens in his glasses. Now that is a stretch!

    • steviecat says:

      I think they do that because the companies donate their products so they acknowledge them in return. it's bartering. That's my guess.

      • solitaryphoenix says:

        My guess is that you would be entirely correct, steviecat. No other reason to include them; it's why the company names are always spoken out loud or put on the screen somehow, because there's either a donation or significant cut in the price for the placement.

        • HawHaw says:

          Are you people stupid? It's called advertising. These companies use a technique called product placement and they pay for it. Transitions pays someone somewhere for either product placement or RI's endorsement.

    • Dawn says:

      Sysco is a FOOD DISTRIBUTOR … they distribute food to restaurants … it is so much better than buying frozen breaded chicken, fries, etc. Who do you thing pays for these episodes???
      And … any restaurant that uses Sysco has the BEST coffee!! No … i don't work for them, but I do work for a food distributor

  3. Robert says:

    Ok, I'm a HUGE fan of Robert and the show. When I found out he was filming a mile from our house, we camped out at Maniaci's just to see Robert. I was SO excited to eat at Maniacias with Roberts menu. But unfortunately we were very disappointed. When my fiancées chicken parm came out I commented that it seemed very thick. I have seen Robert make chicken parm often and it looks thin, crispy and juicy. My fiances chicken parm was RAW. When we showed the waitress the raw chicken she offered us half off. HALF. Really. I would love to support these guys but jeez. Raw chicken. Having a hard time getting my fiancé to go back. And honestly the restaurant they "compared themselves to" next door is very good. I am pretty sure they wouldn't serve us raw anything!

  4. Betsie says:

    This place still serves horrible food and it's filthy as ever.

  5. cindy d. says:

    hahahahaha

  6. cindy d. says:

    hahaha ok boys settle down. =p

  7. kitty boo 4705173285 says:

    Hi people, I'm new at posting things like this but so far I have liked this show and the new restaurant but I have been there before and there food was OK but they didn't care about the menus so I had to figure out what they had for lunch that I could have and I was so confused why they didn't have a menu for me to have and after like 20mins I just left and never went back in the last 10 years so I now to never go there again. But all I got was a drink no food.

  8. kath says:

    I don't know what all the hype about Sysco is. Of course they supply high end restaurants with fresh local products. I know because I use them everyday at my work. I just wonder why we middle school lunch ladies can't make our food look as fancy as the restaurants on tv. ha ha

  9. dave says:

    I always liked their pizza, and they always have a nice Stoudt's IPA on tap. Haven't been there since the show.

  10. Shawn Culver says:

    I'm glad this group of people followed Rogers plan and are now profitable. Their doing a lot better than the family at Caseyville cafe, who for some reason decided that Rogers plan was ridiculous and went back to gossiping and serving food from a can.

    Would you like Best Choice Green Beans with that today?

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