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 (293)

  1. TT li says:

    Thank Goodness! The owner appeared to be taking in charity cases instead of spending time saving her business.. It's a wonder it even survived 9 years!

  2. Sandy says:

    Some of these failing restaurant owners really need therapy. What Robert Irvine does in two days is great, cleaning the kitchen and remodeling the front of the restaurant and updating the menu. However, the problem happened because the owners have bad habits which hurts them and the business they run. This is why I believe they should seek a life coach or professional therapy to resolve the fog that blocks their chance of success!!!

  3. obsamaobambi says:

    The owner Sharon is a disgusting filthy pig. That whooo hoooo happy dance in front of dozens of patrons on re-launch night was immature, weird, and downright creepy. Glad to hear she's been put out of her misery with the restaurant now closed.

  4. Mike says:

    I had been to Soup to Nuts Diner only a couple of times since moving to the area over a year ago and was appalled at the filth on the window blinds and how any owner or employee could and would overlook that??!!
    I revisited once in April of this year only because I had read that Robert Irvine had been there and will admit the place was cleaner at least in the front, they had also nstalled a hostess stand that was not being manned and a menu that had new higher prices.
    Sometimes it takes more than paint and a degreaser and believe this particular owner is much better off being out of the food industry business.
    Her claim that she went out of business due to the online comments is totally absurd to say the least. If you want to blame anyone, look in the mirror and you will find the answer as to how one could run a business with that kitchen and employees for all those years.

  5. Kevin says:

    According to the local Tavares paper, the owner officially closed the doors and has moved to Maryland.
    She was quoted as saying there was a short lived increase after Roberts visit and then began to decline after some negative online reviews.
    Sad that the time and money used did not pay off in the end

  6. Krice says:

    I just watched this episode. I heard the comment from the customer about the bugs at her table. Blind Mosquitos are a regular problem here in central Florida, especially right after a rain. ANYONE who says someone set her her up and brought that in is ridiculous! Bugs of 10,000 sorts are common in Florida! We have a serious problem with bugs with all kids here! Its awful !!! So to say a restaurant who has such hideous cleaning habits as this one did didn't have a bug problem, would be to be to shoot yourself in the foot!! I'm surprised everyone who ordered something didn't get a bug al-a-carte!!

  7. Mel says:

    Aw that's sad it didn't last, even with a spotless kitchen

  8. VIRINIA says:

    DOORS CLOSED

  9. soup and nuts diner. marvellous facts and numbers in one web log sent letters, I simply am fond of it. I ought to appreciate and mention that you simply completely perceive the way to contain connected reader to web log mail albeit it's very little long. excellent job.

  10. TVC says:

    I have eaten at S2N before the maleover and Sharon has always been rude. I used to play Texas Hold-em there on Saturdays and we gave her a lot of business. Sometimes we would have 20 people play cards and they all ordered food and drinks. Yes the place was dirty but I did not know about the kitchen. If an owner MUST be involved in the day to day operation she should have seen to it that it was CLEAN. I doubt if anyone would move into there now. Even after the makeover. I was appalled when I saw the show the other day.If I would have known the kitchen was that dirty I would NEVER have eaten there. Allthough I can say one thing her cinnamon buns were great and priced right. Goodbye Sharon

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