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 (301)

  1. SnowBirdMoney says:

    I'm glad that we had not seen the show before we ate there today!! I had noticed last year that it didn't look very clean, but decided to give it another chance. We thought the redecorating was so much better and the place looked clean. Food was good,, even though my patty melt was burned on one side (rather that then not done). Waitress attentive and friendly. Only thing I would change is the servers attire…tight, faded and worn jeans just don't look good on every body!

  2. Lin says:

    I have thought about my experience at S2N many times since I was last there, which was about 3 years ago. My young granddaughter and I stopped there for a hamburger and milkshake. A woman came in and asked if they were hiring and asked to see the manager. The waitress who she was talking to copped an attitude and said there was no manager there and she could just talk to her. The woman said she would return, and the waitress started yelling at her and told her to get out of the #x—g place. Then she turned to me and my granddaughter and screamed," and what are you looking at?" We left, to never return, no matter what improvements have been made. Would not have gone there if I knew what kitchenn looked like!!

  3. Colorado chef says:

    I don't see a viable path to success for this place. The kitchen has no talent, the wait staff is unmotivated, the owner seems unserious……… where do you start? Probably a good plan would be to pull the plug, minimize the losses.

    • One Fat Frog Restaurant Equipment says:

      Staffing can be taken care of, but in any successful restaurant it comes fromt he top down. If you have inept management … well

  4. Chris says:

    I wondered why I always got the runs when I left!

  5. Cathy says:

    Decided to eat here on Tuesday, 3/19. S2N was dirty and smelled like it use to. Way too much staff. Tables were left dirty and people were waiting to be seated. One couple was there before us and they were ignored. We pointed out that they were there first. While waiting a couple of men walked in and were seated immediately because they informed the waitress that they were always there and therefore did not have to wait. This caused the first couple and us to walk out. Foodnetwork and Chef Irvin wasted there time and money on this place. I hope the employees are looking for new jobs because this restaurant is going to fail.

  6. ARIZONAS says:

    I was there yesterday the hostess with a name tab on her boob and wearing house slippers. Two waitress were having a tiff on who was going to have my table. Light bulbs out, dirty napkin dispenser, and dirty floors. I got my order and it was COLD!!!! Sent my food back paid for my coffee and left. Went down the road and ate some where else I will NEVER go back there again. She got a gift and she is just throwing it away!!!!!!!

    • Suz says:

      Hard to believe you even ordered. Ugh.
      Some people…most people…are just not cut out for this business, which is a big reason why the majority of new restaurants fail and fail quickly.
      We used to joke that it was "just food and booze, not brain surgery", but you can still make someone sick or even kill 'em, so either learn the ropes, work your tail off, listen to people who know more than you do, or be prepared to go down in flames.

    • jennifer says:

      i totally i agree, have eaten there before and the only reason after was because of the "make over menu". althought its not a 5 star resturant we took it for what it is a diner. My family and i wanted to order breakfast on sunday morning, we went in a little late for breakfast but it was our day off and wanted to sleep in. at 1030am they told us we were only allowed to order from a select few items, which included eggs smoked sausage, we werent allowed to sub for bacon or get biscuts and gravy, even though on their menu they offered both. we were even willing pay to extra to sub items and they refused. it took forever to get our food when we finally caved to lunch. my "steak"burger was worse than steak and shakes and 2 times the grease.

  7. Grossed Out says:

    People who are saying "I ate here and it wasn't that dirty," are gross. Why would you eat anywhere that was even slightly dirty?

  8. Surely Ugest says:

    It was all I could do to make it through this episode. I grew up in restaurants, and I've never, ever, ever seen anything this gruesome. Absolutely gag-worthy. What was the score on their health inspection prior to Irvin and crew's visit?

    Is anyone at this place in charge? If so, does anyone have a CLUE about how to run a restaurant? Tell me why the only person fired was the smart-ass dishwasher. Ole Debbie in the kitchen should have been dragged out of there by the hair of her damn back! She's a serial food poisioner is what I know. Miss Priss the "Manager" needs to put Sensitive Susie back in the goddamn box and either do her job or step off.

    Watching the steam cleaners scraping buckets of grease off of all the kitchen equipment was as appetizing as a luncheon at the slaughterhouse. I wonder what those people's houses look like. I, for one, will not be sad when this place is shuttered in the near future.

    • Suz says:

      Probably never had one. You have no idea how overwhelmed the inspectors are. One in Florida years ago told me that he could maybe expect to get to every place on his personal list maybe every 7 years. Scary? You betcha.

    • Pepper says:

      Wait until you see the Mama Lee's episode, if you think this was GROSS!

  9. Carole Filipak says:

    I am not a fussy housekeeper to say the least but my kitchen and bathrooms have to be kept in tip top shape. As a young homemaker with three children under the age of 3 (before the pill became available) my youngest was retarded. When my eldest son was grown and in his 30's I said to him, "I have never been known as a housekeeper. (with a hyperactive retarded child that is impossible even if you wanted to be one) Didn't that mortify you?" He said, "I tell people that you knew what was important". You could have blown me over with a feather. My point is that no matter what the circumstance is, there is no reason for a filthy kitchen or bathroom. The rest of the house can be unimportant but those rooms being truly clean are a must. There is never an excuse for a filthy restaurant kitchen. NEVER !!

    • rob says:

      I find it unbelievable that you refer to your child as retarded. I am so happy you kept your bathroom and kitchen clean, your children are lucky that your were such an amazing mother.

      • Colorado chef says:

        I suspect this good woman is close to my age. Back in the day, the word retarded simply meant underdeveloped or slow to develop. The word retarded did not have the negative stigma it has today, it was an assessment of the situation. Now we use "differently abled" or some such descriptor; it is just semantics, words go in and out of favor with the times

  10. Gregory M. Maddox says:

    The Office of Communications for the Department of Business and Professional Regulation affirmed that Hotels and Restaurants Inspectors PERFORMED a follow-up inspection before the program was broadcast. Here is the link:….

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