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 (390)

  1. Kim Smith says:

    One thing that bothers me is the number of posts from the guy who is pointing out the inspection report. My guess would be that he owns a competing restaurant… Could that be the case?

    I believe in giving someone a chance to succeed. If people go to the restaurant and it fails, so be it. But to spread rumors and generally bash the restaurant and the people who run it is underhanded and childish.

    Good luck to Smitty's and the family.

    • falisamarie says:

      Yeah Kim I noticed the same thing. I have a feeling he is just a competitor playing a bit dirty. Give the people a chance!

    • guest says:

      You are absolutely right Kim! All the bashing posts by everyone! My Goodness! There are evil people out there! How can they do that? They haven't even given them a chance to succeed! It has been a few months only and if they weren't so passionate about what they do it would be a different story. It takes a lot of guts to go on national T.V. and ask for help! Something that these negative people don't have. Good Luck Evi and Gus! If I ever come to Florida I will definitely come to see you!

  2. hlbullis says:

    Funny, I don't see where the Capt'n and the Cowboy in Port Charlotte, FL was revisited. Hard to visit a place now out of business after his wonderful make over. Survived decades before him.

    • Jules says:

      There's a follow-up video on YouTube. If you look up Cap'n and the Cowboy on Twitter, there is a link to a post on FB: Their landlord jacked their rent to $6K/month, Tamar discovered serious allergies that kept her from working at the restaurant, and Nick moved on to a new job.

      • hayduke says:

        That's a big problem down here with the economy being seasonal and totally sucking. Lots of places are going under because the mortgage crisis that hit the residential market a few years ago is now hitting the commercial market and leases are going through the roof.

  3. Amber Mac says:

    I just got thru watching the "Creepy in Clearwater" episode and I was truely touched. Robert came in w/ a "Win Win" attitude and din't let any crisis or obstacle stand in his way of doing what he does best and that is helping people that have nowhere left tp turn and are in ruin. The family in this show, well…., I gotta say I'm a very hard person when it comes to "feelings" and acts of remorse and sympathy. I guess life has hardened me to that extent, but I have never been more moved by a family on tv then by Gus and Evi. They are remarkably nice and deserving people. Yes, I know that their restaurant was very nasty and beyond anything that I would ever come to expect from people owning a place that serves the public. They had been beaten down so bad by misfortune that they had just given up and I've gone thru that myself. Hopefully now that they have got a new lease on life they can prosper, and I wish them all the best.. Good luck to them and many thanks to Chef Robert and his team for all they did and all they do…

  4. anonymous says:

    Why is everyone freaking out? Last I heard, they USED to have an infestation problem. They don't have it anymore, do they?

  5. Mary says:

    Robert Irvine (and Gordon Ramsay on Kitchen Nightmares, for that matter) can only give owners the tools. It's on the owners to use them. It doesn't seem like Gus learned much if he's still carrying the same huge menu that drained his profits before.

  6. Sunnie Rae says:

    I used to go there at least once a week. But I stopped after an issue was unresolved. Gus at the time didn't seem to care if he lost my business along with the rest of the people in the office I worked at. That was then and this is now. I will go back, verify with the servers the cleanliness of the place. And if satisfied with their reply, I will happily eat an open face turkey plate. Back when they were good and clean, that was my favorite. Good luck Gus and Evi, I hope you guys succeed.
    p.s. Gus, Please cover your hard working sweaty and hairy underarms!

  7. obsamaobambi says:

    This couple is just downright disgusting. If the place they serve food out of to total strangers is that nasty, crawling with roaches and vermin, imagine what their home looks like. They are nothing but pigs, and choose to live their pathetic lives that way. Then there's the attire problem. The owner dude wears a wife beater, exposing his filthy, hairy, sweaty armpits. GROSS! What a bunch of slobs! I would not eat at this place if you paid me. I'm sure there are finer eateries just down the street from this scummy pig pen!

    • bluefincrab says:

      I agree. It will not be long before this place returns to worse than pig stye status with these disgusting owners. That amount of filth and critter infestation didn't occur over a short period of time. How were they allowed to be serving food. What about the inspectors? Do they have them in Florida? In every area that I have lived they show up unannounced and check everything. Anyway, they should have thanked the network for throwing $10,000 dollars their way and Robert and his team for their time and effort helping them and put the place up for sale as soon as they left . I can't understand why they did not walk away from this "job". No 2nd chance for them. They didn't deserve it.

  8. Fara says:

    I wish that people who actually deserve help receive it. It is unclear how this couple is so deserving & nice…either the show needs to establish this by focusing on the human interest aspect or this couple is just lazy and irresponsible.

  9. John C says:

    Personally I will not eat where the cook {def, not a chef] wears cut off t shirt and shorts,,,so gross .
    There was no reason they couldnt clean before,,his kitchen attire shows he doesnt care gross gross

    • Michelle says:

      His attire reflected how he ran the kitchen. Sloppy, unhygienic, & unprofessional. This episode made me dry-heave! I'm still scratching!

  10. DiAna says:

    I do not understand why people getting ths kind of help do not listen. Why in the world would you continue to serve over 200 stale menu items, when you can make simple,fresh items created for your business by someone who knows so much about the business? Dumb. I guess he was wrong when he stated these people were deserving of his help. What a slap in the face for the people who put in their time and sweat to make it all happen.

    • sdh says:

      She was more interested in being a mother but her kids were 18 and 6. She sounded more lazy to me just standing around the restaurant and it was filthy.

      • michelle says:

        I felt she was lazy also. Why not stop in for a few hours a day & clean the fixtures, grab a mop, or pick-up a paint brush etc…She said she didn't wanna be there because she could see the customers were unhappy. Duh….wait until you have no customers left to do something about it? No ambition whatsoever!

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