Restaurant Revisited: Creepy in Clearwater at Smitty’s Restaurant

by in Shows, April 28th, 2013

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleWhile there were indeed substantial problems with the food as well as the interior design at Smitty’s Restaurant in Clearwater, Fla., the gravest issue came in the form of bugs — an entire infestation of cockroaches, in fact. Overrun with these crawly creatures, husband-and-wife owners Gus and Evi Gialelis’ business faced certain closure if Robert Irvine and his Restaurant: Impossible team couldn’t locate the source of the swarm. But to do so they’d have to rely on a professional exterminator, something that would significantly drain the overall renovation budget.

“I have never come across a restaurant this bad in my whole career,” Robert told Gus and Evi, who felt personally defeated in the wake of their struggling business. He initially questioned whether “this may be the one restaurant that’s too far gone,” but Robert’s not one to walk away from a mission, of course. And in just two days, he reopened the doors at Smitty’s to a welcoming, clean restaurant that was dishing out quality food. FN Dish checked in with Evi a few weeks after the reopening to find out how the restaurant is doing today.

Smitty’s has seen an increase in business since the show taped, and Evi says she’s noticing many first-time customers at the restaurant.

Along with the wait staff, Nick, Evi’s father and a cook, remains at Smitty’s, and he “helps Gus on the line more these days,” according to Evi. They’re now getting along much better than they were before the show.

While the restaurant is still offering the same large menu, Evi explains, “We have incorporated some daily specials on our boards, not at overly discounted prices like before.” One of the most-popular dishes has proved to be the souvlaki salad, topped with pork, beef, chicken or gyro. Nick has also been preparing daily specials, and Evi tells FN Dish that they’re “very good.”

Perhaps most importantly, the eatery is being kept clean, the staff committed to “daily, weekly and monthly duties that are done to keep it immaculate,” Evi says. “We have a professional commercial exterminator come out every two weeks, and the kitchen is the cleanest it has ever been.”

She adds that “The equipment, the food that was ordered and the items that were bought for the show are still being paid off,” so Gus’ pay is still no more than $300. He now “spends more time with all of us,” Evi says, noting that she’s no longer crying at night. “After all that is said and done, Gus is a very hard worker who strives for perfection at work.”

Reflecting on her family since the renovation, Evi tells FN Dish: “Our relationship as a family has always been strong. We are a lot happier nowadays because once again we are putting God first, family second and Smitty’s third. For a long time, we had our priorities all messed up, because Smitty’s always came first.”

More From Restaurant Revisited:

Old World Italian Restaurant (April 21)
Joe Willy’s Seafood House (April 14)
Sweet Tea’s Restaurant & Catering (March 24)
Soup to Nuts Diner (March 17)
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 (395)

  1. Mary Stotu says:

    Where in the heck is the Health Department inspectors. This place made my skin crawl. I am not sure that if I had been in the first "test group" and they yelled at me to stop eating because of the cockroaches that I would EVER have come back.

  2. Toddy B. says:

    Hey Gus get a hair net for your pits!

  3. Heya i’m for the primary time here. I found this board and I find It truly useful & it helped me out much. I hope to offer one thing back and aid others such as you aided me.

  4. llm says:

    "While the restaurant is still offering the same large menu, Evi explains, “We have incorporated some daily specials on our boards, not at overly discounted prices like before.”

    So, I guess Robert's demonstration that showed how ridiculously large the menu was did not sink in. They had I believe 207 items. Why don't people listen.

    Too large a menu means higher inventory costs and more food wasted that doesn't get used.

    • DaBears! says:

      Or old food being served. Personally, I find it hard to believe that people who didn't understand they were roach infected, didn't understand the importance of a clean kitchen, didn't understand that filth and roaches were the cause of lost business; find it hard to believe that they will be able to keep this place clean. JMO, but I would never eat here. I hope I'm wrong, and these people do keep it clean.

      • Guest says:

        That was one thing that bothered me about Evi. Kept making excuses about having tried so many different chemicals and cleaners.

        You have to actually SCRUB the dirt and grime- it doesnt magically come off because you bought supplies.

    • Jim says:

      Exactly. The show and Robert go to the trouble and expense and you see them go right back to their old habits. Evi stated that they have the same menu and that Gus still only makes $300 a week. How can they not see they are doing something wrong?

  5. bingopokerslots says:

    I just contacted the State of Florida and put in a formal complaint. Go to the state website and do a search for their "license" #SEA6208896 and READ the latest inspection results!!!

    They were just inspected on May 1 and guess what??????


    Please, go out of business. You are not capable of operating a restaurant. And to think of the WORK that was done FOR YOU two.

    Very sad and very LAZY.

    • guest says:

      The inspection states there was an old beer cooler removed from the area of the rodent dropping. The inspector didn't mention them being anywhere else. Read the report again. Filing a formal complaint won't help any if they walk in next time and find nothing. Good Luck!

    • Steven says:

      There are actually two inspections on this date. I believe that the State of Florida got two inspections messed up on the date. I think the first inspection was entered in late from before the renovation. The other inspection from that date shows no violations which makes me concur that it was an "after the renovation" inspection.

    • An Alpha says:

      You filed a complaint? Based on what?

      You are really a dick-for aren't you?

    • Guest says:

      you are a just a horrible mean person for filing a complain – you are messing with peoples lives! How dare you? Like you are so righteous and perfect! Please! You need to get a life asshole! Leave these poor hardworking people alone ! Stop being a man-less bully! You actually need to have your life exposed on TV — dont you think these poor people had enough with all that nasty stuff aired on TV?
      I hope Evi & Gus are able to overcome it all — I know what it takes to operate a losing business – BUT stay straight and clean and serve the best and freshest food possible and you guys will do great!

      • Evi says:

        Oh my! You hit it right on the nose! Whoever you are please come visit us! I'd love to talk to you!

        • bingopokerslots says:

          Gosh, you are stupid. The complaint was filed with the state. I guess you cannot READ. As for me being mean? You must be joking. These people are violating the LAW, you idiot.

          As for me screwing with someone's livelihood? THEY are messing with your HEALTH. Good grief.

          No way in hell would I set foot in the trash can you call a restaurant. I know people that have gone there just to see what you have done (or not!) and it is as bad as it was.

          Nice try.

  6. bingopokerslots says:

    And guess what else? These idiots are still using the old and overloaded menu they were told to pare down.

  7. Lance says:

    In my country love to eat rat and roach I love the Smittys

  8. Hannahbare says:

    I am soooooooooo disgusted by the fact this guy is cooking and his armpits are exposed – all I can imagine is his body hair falling into all the food!!! and I can't believe Robert didn't tell him to dress more appropriately!

  9. ted says:

    Gus, cover up your arms with longer sleeves, please. Nothing personal but you don't have young arms anymore and it isn't very comforting to see them especially with arm pit hair.
    Again, nothing personal, I just want to see you guys succeed and this is just one easy thing you can do that won't cost any money.

    • ted says:

      It will look more sanitary with longer sleeves, more professional…
      As a Greek myself, Theodore, I wish you guys the Best.
      P.S. Take Roberts advice and watch that large menu, keep the place clean and the food fresh and the word will get around.

    • Tom Hartmann says:

      I totally agree. I would not think of eating anything prepared by someone with exposed armpits. Surprised that this drew no comment from Robert. I also find it incredulous that after stopping food service due to unsanitary conditions Robert would allow the place to serve food the day after being bombed with poisonous insecticide. Seems like Robert will do anything to say he is successful maintaining schedule. He has lost all credibility with me.

      • guest says:

        He wears a shirt with sleeves underneath his Smitty's shirt. Looks Good! Good thinking, Gus.

      • Kim says:

        Agreed Tom. I thought it seemed too soon for them to be serving food after being bombed with pesticides.

      • chefb says:

        Restaurants get sprayed overnight and then sanitized the next day all the time. It is how you are able to maintain a bug free location in an urban environment where they exist naturally, Many restaurants do an overnight complete bomb once a month for preventative purposes. If you live in an urban area or a southern area where bugs are plentiful, you better hope your favorite restaurant is doing this. The building is then thoroughly cleaned and sanitized and ready for service.

  10. hot says:

    i droved by about two weeks ago and call me crazy but it looked CLOSED FOR BUSINESS!!…just sayin

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