Restaurant Revisited: Soup to Nuts Diner

by in Shows, March 17th, 2013

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleSoup to Nuts Diner in Tavares, Fla., was in such poor condition when Robert Irvine arrived that he promptly deemed the restaurant “dangerously dirty” and refused to let anyone eat the food coming out of the kitchen. Littered with bugs and coated in dust, this 1950s-style eatery featured a cluttered dining room with tattered seating, but unfortunately for owner Sharon Whitmore, even more serious problems were in the kitchen. There, Robert found tools and equipment caked with grease, raw meat being kept at unsafe temperatures and a complete lack of management among the cooks.

For the last four years, Soup to Nuts has struggled with decreasing business, and Sharon admits that prior to Robert’s visit she was losing nearly $1,000 per month, which resulted in the foreclosure of her home. With a $10,000 budget and only two days to work, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team reworked all aspects of her restaurant, deep cleaning every surface in the front and back of the house, demonstrating the how-tos of making a fresh menu and restructuring Sharon’s schedule so that she’d be able to abandon her 100-hour workweeks. At the end of what Robert called “one of the most-ambitious projects we’ve ever tackled,” Soup to Nuts reopened to hundreds of customers with in-control management at the helm. We checked in with Sharon a few months after the renovation to find out how her business is doing.

She tells us that in the weeks immediately following filming, Soup to Nuts was “overwhelmed with” a 40 percent increase in business, and now the restaurant is “up consistently about 20 percent over last year.”

While they’ve made a few tweaks to the decor like additional paint, new blinds and adding “a door from the front counter area and a wall so the kitchen is no longer seen by the dining room,” Sharon, the staff and much of the customer base have been wowed by the other changes at the eatery.

Employees are now washing the restaurant each night, Sharon tells us. “I have had to get on the cooks for poor closes a few times, but Alan is closing five nights a week to reinforce a proper, clean closing.”

In terms of management, Sharon has interviewed several applicants, but she’s yet to hire a full-time lead cook. Jeanie is still working at Soup to Nuts, as Sharon believes that she “grew from the experience,” explaining that “she is not as hotheaded.” Sharon adds that “several of the people who gave [her] the most grief are not [t]here anymore.”

Soup to Nuts is still serving its original offerings but with additional dishes from Robert’s menu, including fried green tomatoes, disco fries, salmon burgers and roasted chicken.

For the most part, Sharon is sticking to the schedule she developed with Robert. “With Alan staying and riding his bike home, the restaurant has guidance and supervision,” she explains. “I am very thankful for the privilege to have been picked for this experience,” she adds, looking back on the renovation. “I am happy personally and with my restaurant’s makeover and volume.” She is no longer living with her parents and is looking forward to what the rest of the year brings to her business.

More From Restaurant Revisited:

Caseyville Cafe (March 13)
Maniaci’s Italian Restaurant (March 10)
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 (300)

  1. Roger says:

    . I have excellent ideas of what needs to be done to turn things around. HOWEVER, after speaking for awhile Sharon told me with the snowbirds heading home she wasn't sure what was going to happen with sales. My thought was, well if your mindset is to worry about what happens when snowbirds go home, then you're not doing enough to promote your business with the full time residents of the surrounding area. Hence where my ideas come in. I left my phone number with Sharon hoping she will call and allow me to help her get Soup to Nuts back where it belongs and that's building new business and repairing lost business as well as getting back the guests you've lost in the past. Will that be easy? HELL NO. But is it possible? YOU BET IT IS. Hard work + dedication = SUCCESS

  2. Teve says:

    It's a shame to see that nothing really changed, based on the comments. The deco change for this episode was one of my favorites :|

  3. M & J says:

    we have eaten at Soup to Nuts many years and always enjoyed the meals and the service. we never encountered nasty servers (they are always happy to please) or bugs on the tables. we also loved the nostalgic atmosphere. it always felt comfortable, now it is plain and looking unfinished in the decor, the designer didn't do a good job, it looks unfinished around the booths and the walls, the only area that we like is the kitchen wall. Robert should have done a much better job in managing the design to keep the comfortable feel it had. There was always a lot of people in there so they all must have liked the menu selection. we will continue to eat there.

    • bingopokerslots says:

      Maybe the décor would be up to your exacting standards if Robert did not have to take part of the $10,000 to CLEAN THE FILTH.

      You would eat toe nails.

    • Nancy Anderson says:

      You must be 90 years old because those are the only people I ever saw going in there. The reason the decor was cut short was because they had to spend so much on the cleaning of the kitchen. I am not surprised they closed. The only surprise is that it took 9 years. How could you consider eating in a place so filthy?

  4. Bonnie says:

    Action 9 pored over 30,000 state inspections since 2010 to identify top offenders. New on our list, PJ's Sea Shack in New Smryna Beach and Soup to Nuts Diner in Tavares.
    Soup to Nuts Diner was featured on Food Network, where the host declared it one of the dirtiest kitchens he ever saw.

  5. JLM says:

    Sunday May 12th at 3pm they are closing the doors for good.

  6. sue says:

    S2N closed there door on May 12, 2013. Not sure why but rumor has it that she is selling it and moving away.

  7. CentralFLLady says:

    Yes Soup to Nuts closed on 5-12-13. The Orlando Sentinel had an article. Sharon blamed the closing on the bad comments posted on the Internet. I blame the failure to the fact that Sharon seemed to not have a clue how to run a restaurant. If you allow your business to be known as DIRTY then folks will not eat there regardless of what you do. I will miss my breaded tenderloin. But the last time I had it there it was way too salty even without the gravy! Hopefully someone else will open up a restaurant that will have a breaded tenderloin! Sorry to see Soup to Nuts go. But it is not a surprise because of the lack of management!

    • Roger says:

      It's unfortunate that Sharon had to close her restaurant. I spoke with her not long after the show aired and offered my experience and knowledge in the business. I have run and owned my own restaurants and thought I could help her. By the looks of things, Sharon must have thought closing the doors was a better option then bringing in some fresh blood to resurect her failing dream. I wish I had the capitol to open the place back up using MY ideas and marketing strategies to promote sales and generate new customers. There are too many Mom and Pop places closing because of bad ecomony and ignorance in knowing what it takes to be successful. Anyone want to put up some money and make this place scream? Leave a post here with contact information and lets talk.

    • @wofman says:

      I guess in business it is survival of the fittest. I just wish Robert Irvine would not continually work with these restaurants that are far beyond repair. Seems to defraud the viewers.

    • bobusch1 says:

      then open one, and then take the criticism that comes along with it, it seems you have no problem sitting on your ass and judging

  8. /tavares florida says:

    SOUP TO NUTS DINER HAS CLOSED DOWN,I WANTED TO EAT AT SOUP TO NUTS DINE YESTERDAY JUNE 11 AND THERE IS A FOR LEASE SIGN IN THE WINDOW AND THE RESTURAUNT SOUP TO NUTS DINER IS NO LONGER IN TAVARES FLORIDA IT IS CLOSED

    • John says:

      Yes, it is closed down. The health dept. found the same issues and instead of fixing the problem, the owner closed up and left town.

  9. Kristen says:

    I went there a few weeks before it closed and we got seated right away but sat there for 10 minutes before anyone came to get our drink order and then we waited 25 minutes for our drinks and who knows how long for our food but there were more waiters than people…to many waiters there at one time and yet we got really crappy service they didnt even smile they seemed unhappy like they didnt want to be there.. Honestly she should started fresh and hired all new staff! I want to say i feel sorry for but she didnt seem to know what she was doing we sat really close to the register and she just stood there and looked around while we waited for our order to be taken and she didnt say a word!

  10. Diana says:

    I watched this episode for the first time tonight. Not surprised to read that the diner has closed. Robert and the crew were called in too late on this one, from my perception. Very young staff, inexperienced (even with 9 years!) kitchen crew — and no changes where it really counted: with the STAFF.

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