Restaurant Revisited: In the Pits at Bryan’s Smokehouse

by in Shows, May 26th, 2013

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleAlthough Bryan’s Smokehouse in Lufkin, Texas, was a once-thriving eatery, it had fallen on hard times. Longtime owner Lynn Bryan struggled to keep up with new nearby barbecue spots, ultimately falling into debt. She looked to Robert Irvine and his Restaurant: Impossible team not just to improve her meat-focused menu, but to help her manage her employees more professionally and efficiently. Not one to shy away from any challenge, Robert rose to the occasion, and with only a $10,000 budget and two days to work, he revitalized both the interior of Bryan’s and the core of its management, all in an effort to give the eatery the second chance it deserves. FN Dish checked in with Lynn a few months after the transformation to find out how the restaurant is doing today.

Immediately after filming, Lynn says business “was booming,” and while it’s since slowed down, she’s hopeful that it will pick up now that the show has aired. She adds that she’s pleased with the new design of the space, as well as with the changes to the menu. “We have kept everything the same and just added a couple of the old things back. Just a couple, let me stress,” she explains.

She’s once again in charge of the restaurant, adding that Bobby no longer works at Bryan’s. “I have taken back over and [am] ready to run,” she tells FN Dish. “I have all new crew.” Taking Robert’s team’s advice to heart, Lynn confirms that her employees are “all trained.”

To the Restaurant: Impossible team that made the renovation possible, she says, “Y’all gave me enough for a lifetime, so a big thanks to all of you.”

Bryan's Smokehouse

Bryan’s Smokehouse before the renovation

Bryan's Smokehouse

Bryan’s Smokehouse after the renovation

Bryan's Smokehouse

Bryan’s Smokehouse after the renovation

More From Restaurant Revisited:

Wagon Wheel Family Restaurant (May 19)
Mom & Dad’s Italian Restaurant (May 12)
Smitty’s Restaurant (April 28)
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)

Similar Posts

The Curse of the Deconstructed Dish — Alton’s After-Show

Watch the latest installment of Alton's After-Show to see the host dish with tonight's judge, Antonia Lofaso....

Comments (87)

  1. BBQfan says:

    What is turning America upside down is poor education. Fowl is a bird, foul is bad in the context you mean. Grat should be great. Over use of capitalized letters, poor grammer, poor punctuation marks, and all around hateful attitude.

    God can take your dream away and you will be left calling Robert? Does that mean God is evil and Robert is good and more powerful?

    • Joe says:

      Poor grammer?????????????????????? America needs you to go back to "grammar" school
      BBQfan, but "pronto", if you criticize do it right.

  2. Grand Moff Tarkin says:

    Was grossed out by the cockroach that was clearly visible climbing down the oven hood during the pulled pork sandwich segment of the show about 45 minutes in (hi-def is unforgiving). Robert is usually such a stickler for immaculate kitchens. Clearly, there were so many problems with this place he couldn't address it. Sounds like despite his best efforts, this place is still poorly run and destined to ultimately fail. You can't save them all, Robert! Some of these owners, as nice and well-intentioned as they may be, should fail.

    • Don says:

      I cant really see if its a cockroach, but I do see something moving down the wall. Its not on the oven hood, but on a shelf, and you see it crawling down by the bags.

      I am not saying it is or isnt, but they do have alot of work going on in the place, doors open with construction going on, etc….it is possible some bugs got in the kitchen. Just saying.

  3. R.J. says:

    Being from Lufkin and have lived there my entire life until two years ago— the business is failing because of poor quality service. When it takes 20 minutes or more to get food from the drive thru, no one is going to go there. Also, Bryan's years ago was Wagon Wheel BBQ which closed down. At that time there was one other BBQ joint in town. Now there are three others and Bryan's opened up as the fourth. So to say that the three came after Bryan's is completely incorrect. I'd also like to point out that on opening night, the staff had to refund money because again they could not handle the orders. Again, not showing promise.
    I think Robert truly wants to help these people, but frankly it will not work. The type of food he changed does not do well in Texas because most of the people in the area this restaurant is, do not care for it. It is a matter of geography. What does well in one place, not so much in others.

    That said, I have been back and I am still not impressed. This restaurant will eventually fall unless the owner realizes that her staff is the problem.

  4. Alma says:

    Robert and his crew made Bryan's look much better.They need to hire some good cook's for sure I order the Robert Irvin pulled pork sandwhich .the potato skin was so tuff had to pull it out the sandwhich . meat is not smoked enough not much flavor the cafe doesn't smell like a Bar BQ place should .I pray that thing's will turn around for the family but unless she smokes the meat more and season it good with the rub I am afraid she will fail. Best wish for the family

  5. M.C. says:

    I just left Bryan's Smokehouse, I was going in to try the food since I seen it on tv last night. First, I have the upmost respect for the family trying to save that place on national tv. When I walked in there were four people in front of me. Twelve minutes later I finally got to the ordering window, thats when I was blown away. The very nice cook told me they were out of ribs and brisket. How can you be out of ribs and brisket at a bbq restauraunt the next day for lunch after airing on tv. The brisket I was told that someone bought 150 lbs that day, which I am good with, but the ribs part I am not good with with. If you know your business is about to be on national t.v. there are some things you probably should do for the next day:

  6. Brittany says:

    Haha! I had to replay that to hear it for myself!

  7. Melinda says:

    My mother and I ate here the day after the relaunch and I was so disappointed! The owner was acting like a pseudo-celebrity, which was totally off putting. I heard her say before we ordered, "Chef was really nice, but it was definitely a TV show. I have to keep by his menu for a week and then we will go back!" I went to get my drink and the floor was wet and sticky from sweet tea with trash all over the floor. Not a great first impression. My mom got the sliced beef and I the pulled pork. So gross!!! The pork was greasy and flavorless. The brisket was fatty and full of gristle. The beans and potato salad were appallingly sweet. I was so hoping for a change since I have been there once pre-RI and it was terrible then, too. I will never go there again and that's a shame since I do like to support the local community instead of giving my money to overpriced chains. So sad! Good luck, Bryan's.

  8. Barb says:

    Seems Cheryl Torrenueva was more perturbed at Robert than I've ever seen her in the past. I think he was close to getting an earful. Anyway, I think they were given the right tools to have a successful business. Now just to get it singing. Good Luck!

  9. MattfromWA says:

    "Thanks, that's great…NOW LET'S CHOW!"

    She is certainly a character and a bubblehead for taking peoples sob stories at face value, but I like Lynn. I also liked owners Patty and Carolyn from previous shows. I have to give credit to the scouting team for matching Chef Robert up to the people who seem to desperately need his help the most. To me, it seems like women owners who lack the traits necessary to effectively police their employees are the ones who benefit from his lighting a fire the most.
    Out of the seventy-five or so episodes of R.I., this one ranks as one of my all time favorites. When Lynn blurted that line (…NOW LETS CHOW!), it became an instant classic. It was also informative to me because I didn't know all the differences between regional BBQ that the judge talked about. I thought Roberts take on the deficiencies of the serving staff was right on and his decision to transform the restaurant away from full service sit -down was completely correct. It shows that after many episodes he still has 'it' and the man really does know what he is doing. In season one or two he did a similar move with a still developing kitchen staff (can't remember the restaurants name) by switching them to buffet style 'cause they couldn't handle being slammed with individual tickets.
    It's too bad Robert couldn't spare Tom, Cheryl and the build team some grief by coming up with his correct decision earlier. The only thing I wish they would have done differently with the renovation was restored the white and brown color of the cow and not replaced it with that garish brown.

  10. Bootsdaddy says:

    Lynn Bryan reviewing her own restaurant, making excuses, and denigrating other Lufkin barbecue restaurants. Looney tunes!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>