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. biminitwst says:

    Good luck with the .99 cent breakfast.
    Buy some bleach and 409.

  2. Hawk says:

    Every time this owner kept saying that "good people deserve a second chance" I wanted to shake him. Good people do not allow their restaurants to become vermin infested crap holes while still selling food to customers. I usually have some sympathy for the owners on this show but not for these folks. It is so easy to keep your place clean if you do it every day like you are supposed to. No excuse will suffice here.

    • Michelle says:

      Agreed! No sympathy! Anyone who lets a kitchen get that bad has no right running a restaurant! Breeding roaches in broken-down equipment, & all that grease..wow! What kind of floor-staff allow overhead fixtures to get that dirty as ppl dine right underneath them? Only a psychopath could work there & not be ashamed! I feel itchy now, Yarghhh!

    • Gloria says:

      Me too. Thought he played victim and didn't own up that it was HIS fault and HIS responsibility that the placed was so dirty.

      • bingopokerslots says:

        Evi is on here, telling anyone that will listen, that is was dirty when they moved in. Gee, what's wrong with that picture????

  3. gloria says:

    What I didn't like about the show was Gus played victim and didn't take ownership for the problems of the restaurant. It wasn't the staff's fault that the place was so dirty, it was his fault. And it was dirty/filthy for a long long time.

    • bingopokerslots says:

      But Evi is on here telling everyone that it was dirty when they moved in.

      I guess cleaning it never crossed their minds.

      • Guest says:

        Bingodumbnuts! You are either the partner that was terminated from Smitty's and or perhaps his stupid son? Or are you one of his ugly daughters? Either way, we have figured this out…….Keep it up-no one is listening to you. You are just pissed off that you got terminated!!!! LOL

  4. Evi says:

    HEALTH INSPECTOR CAME OUT TODAY-JULY 11TH 2013.NO BUGS, NO VIOLATIONS, NOT ONE NEGATIVE COMMENT! A+ RATING!!!!! CHECK IT OUT FOR YOURSELVES!!!! SMITTY'S SHALL NO LONGER BE BAD-MOUTHED!

    • Scott Hall says:

      Congratulations Evi – hope you all have success. One thing concerned me reading the follow up from Foodnetwork: is it true you and Gus ignored Robert's excellent advise to simplify the menu and offer less than 30 items? That was fantastic advise. Most people are turned off but huge menus in Greek Diners that have hundreds of items and specials. Simple is better. Furthermore, Robert was absolutely correct that a smaller menu will make your operation more efficient and reduce waste. I was just curious about the rationale for ignoring that good advice.

      • Evi says:

        Hi Scott-thank you for responding with an actual message-one that doesn't involve us being called lazy scum pigs who live in a trailer park! As, people have posted here before! How ridiculous! You know we had really given up on the restaurant as we weren't making any money. And, no matter how hard we tried to make the place look decent with using every cleaning product you could think of it just wasn't working!!!! Things were going really bad. The place is 30 years old, and it is connected to 5 other empty units. I used to go in and clean and tried to scrub the oil and embedded dirt that was there from 30 years, and I would tell my husband whatever I do I can't make it look good! Bring the bulldozer! We never had a roach problem till about a year ago. Believe it or not-Look at the inspection reports. Let me tell you if it was that dirty and roach infested we would have been shut down years ago! Come on you guys, really? The place is just too damn old! The health inspectors are really tough. As far as the menu is concerned I condensed it myself and it has been out now for almost two months. Things are going very well. We started delivery service as well as we had it in the past. And, the phone is constantly ringing! The restaurant has never looked better, and/or has it ever been cleaner! No need for anyone's nasty comments, and no I wasn't about to pawn my jewelry to save a failing business,o.k.? Some other person-Antoinette mentioned that! I contacted Restaurant:Impossible and requested help. I said we either go that route or just walk away. I am so glad I contacted them! They saved our lives. We have people coming from every state you can think of praising us. Thank you to all who have supported us, and who continue to support us! As for the rest of you-Oh well-what can I say? You will never understand unless you walk a mile in my shoes! I will write back to those of you who have questions for me and/or who have something nice to say. I don't associate with the negatives. If I did I wouldn't be the person I am today nor would I have gotten this far! Do not judge others! Remember, there is only one God and HE judges!
        P.S. DON'T FORGET ABOUT OUR 100% CLEAN INSPECTION REPORT. YIPEE!

        • Scott Hall says:

          Great job to all of you- thanks for writing back! And congratulations on turning things around. Running a restaurant is a challenge beyond what most people face. Best wishes

          • Evi says:

            Thank you, Scott. And, yes it is true: running a restaurant is a major challenge! And, the only way someone will ever understand is if they try to run a restaurant themselves…..

          • bingopokerslots says:

            But you admitted that you had ZERO experience going in.

            Brilliant.

        • Marc says:

          Thank you for speaking up, Evi. You're the only owner I can recall who has actively participated in the comments on this site, and I think it's a good idea. People easily jump to conclusions, and if the owners don't actively defend their reputation, the naysayers win the day. Kudos to you for speaking up! It leads me to believe that you take your business seriously.

          • Evi says:

            Hello Marc- Thank you for your positive comments. I have been meaning to speak up for a very, very long time, and you are right I think it is a good idea if the owners actively defend their reputation. However, the negative comments can really bring you down. And, I told myself I wouldn't respond to the negative ones and/or read them. So, I stopped coming to this site after I noticed how horribly we were being bashed! And then I woke up one morning and said to myself "I will start responding to people if they have questions for me and/or have something positive to say." We have always taken our business seriously but we were getting slammed every single day with such negative issues at Smitty's that we had literally given up! But, with Restaurant: Impossible coming in we did everything Robert told us to do, and business has picked up! We thank God every single day for all they have done for us!

          • bingopokerslots says:

            Just think, if you were not on here reading and responding, you could be shaving someone's arm pits.

            I wonder how much hair falls in the food.

        • NYMarian says:

          I'm so glad to hear to good news, Evi. Just wondering about that horrible comment about Robert grabbing your boob. Is there any truth to that? I find him such a pleasant caring person and I'd hate to have my impression of him moved.

        • bingopokerslots says:

          You come on here an complain about the dirt that was there when you moved in????

          One question, Einstein: Why did you sign a lease if it was so bad?

          The AGE of a place has ZERO to do with cleanliness and maintenance. What about establishments that are in buildings that are over 100 years old? Are they all bug infested pig stys too?

          How lame.

      • bingopokerslots says:

        Rationale? They have none. That is why they needed Robert's help — and promptly ignored it.

    • rene says:

      Hi I hope things are going better for you guys . Keep it clean and fumigated

    • Stephen L says:

      Not many people get a second chance, and the people who do get a second chance don't always make the most of it.

      Congratulations on your success! I hope there is much more for you and yours.

    • durkART says:

      Congrats on your restaurant. I truly don't comment on Resturant impossible shows, but Robert looks like he changed the place around. When I'm in Clearwater I want to stop on by and try your lunch – looked great. again much success with your establishment.

      • Evi says:

        Hi! Please come visit us. If you call ahead of time and let us know you will be coming I will make sure to be at the restaurant as well.

    • NYMarian says:

      I'm happy to hear things are better for you. Maybe Gus should consider covering his armpits??? There have been quite a number of comments about them. Also, did Robert really grab your boob? I really like his caring manner and would hate to change my opinion about him.

      • Evi says:

        Hi Marian! We were finally able to buy new shirts (they are not cheap). They look nice, and cover his armpits well.

        • bingopokerslots says:

          The fact that you had to be TOLD — repeatedly — to cover up the hairy arm pits is a frigging joke! You HAD TO BE TOLD??????

          What is wrong with this picture?

          Idiots.

        • curls says:

          New shirts were not cheap? Even Michaels crafts sells cheap tee shirts in colors that would look nice for $5. A thrift shop or yard sale will have decent newish clothes for cheap if that's the issue. I'd love for you have success, but your excuses are showing through.

    • bingopokerslots says:

      Your place is still a health risk. I know people that have gone there, well after the "renovation" and it is as bad as it was. Nice try.

      By the way, they LEFT. They were too creeped out to actually eat there.

  5. applestycx says:

    The main problem seems to be the owners attitude. They have the attitude that they should just rake in the money to spend as they wish and leave the workers to clean and take care of the restaurant. Obviously when the owner thinks they have no responsibility the business suffers. The owner has ALL the responsibility to see that the restaurant is clean and the food is of good quality. Either supervise your staff or do it yourself. These people appear to have no regard for their potential customers and no self respect for themselves!

    • bingopokerslots says:

      Amen. When you own a business, especially a restaurant, you are there 24/7. It is more commitment than a marriage!!!

      Lazy people need not apply.

  6. Guest says:

    We were excited to see the changes made by Robert and went once, 3 months after the show. It was disgusting…….canned vegetables, old lettuce and 2 tiny pieces of tomato made up the "salad". Mashed potatoes didn't even show through all the canned, salty gravy. Pork chop was extremely salty, as was the steak hoagie. Service was horrible, the older son was the "waiter" and obviously didn't want to be there. Didn't even know the menu. I was embarrassed for Robert who would be appalled to see how Smitty's is after only THREE MONTHS after his improvement. He definitely needs to revisit this place.

  7. sgt says:

    There is no reason or excuse for any place of business and especially a restaurant to become filthy.
    Why should I believe that they will keep the kitchen scrubbed and clean as it should be if they worked for years in an obviously dirty environment.

    • guess says:

      because they were working all day and losing money! with your support and kindness they will do better and will have learned their lesson

      • Evi says:

        Thank you for responding! We had given up all hope! Things are going well! Place is always clean and NO BUGS at all! Yipee!!!

      • bingopokerslots says:

        You are joking, right? I hope you can grasp the fact that CLEANING is PART of the DAILY work that needs to be done.

        There is no excuse.

  8. Teresa says:

    I just finished watching the show on my DVR. I just hope the owners appreciate what Robert and his team did or them. I read that they have added some things from their old menu back in. Why, I have no clue. You asked for help and they came down and helped you all in a huge way. This is only my opinion, I'm not trying to embarrass you at all okay. You received incredible advice from an outstanding and very successful chef who set you up to save your restaurant, yet after he leaves, you add some of the "old" items back on your menu? That is something I really don't understand because the menu wasn't working before. Please reconsider your viewpoint on this matter. We all want you to succeed. And now I really must point this out. I have been through food safety training with my local Health Dept., so please understand that you're probably not going to like what I have to say…but someone should do the right thing and ell you. Please Evi, could you have your husband wear a different shirt that covers his arm pits? With his arm pit hair being exposed like that, every time he reaches over food, he runs the risk of not only hair falling into the food, but pieces of deodorant as well. I understand how sleeves can be restraining while cooking, but it must also be safe to eat. I wish you all the best.

  9. Guest says:

    If you watch the episode again at 35:10 while Robert is opening the door for the reveal he grabs her boob.

  10. Mary says:

    Couldn't believe how filthy this place was before Robert transformed it. Had to LAUGH when Evi was asked what her role in the restaurant was. Evi used the excuse of taking care of the children. REALLY?! If it's during the school, both are gone most of the day. That leaves Evi more than enough time to get off her DUFF & do some cleaning around the restaurant. If school is out, the 18 yr. old could pitch in also.

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