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)

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Comments (83)

  1. Annie says:

    Yeah, I was fully expecting him to bawl out the owner and dig a little deeper regarding both her "leaving" the restaurant for 3 years since she was kind of vague on that, and on her not telling her husband. Just a gentle "on the condition that you go home tonight and talk to your husband about the restaurant, okay?" He should have lit in to her over it.

    Well, then there's the fact that I'm genuinely leave your own restaurant for 3 years and still pay taxes, pay employees, etc. Also wondering how you do that and not come in to a gutted restaurant with an equally gutted safe. A really good and trustworthy general manager? That's all I can figure.
    I'm also wondering about the vague "I haven't told my husband" statement. Well, what hadn't you told him? Have you been out and out lying and saying business is booming when it's actually tanking? You'd think he'd notice a disparity in that case when she's not bringing home a paycheck. Did she simply omit the truth and he's not the sort to ask anything more than "how was your day?"
    I'm genuinely confused. It doesn't seem entirely feasible for her to have hidden *everything* from him, I mean, for one, they're married and second, he'd know she was going to be on tv for a show about failing restaurants, right? So, it's pretty unlikely she was hiding "everything" from him and if that's the case then what was she hiding and what wasn't she?
    And as much as I love Chef Irvine, why didn't he get to the bottom of these questions?

  2. I ate once at Bryan's Smokehouse about a year and a half ago,, and decided I wouldn't go back. Then I saw it was on Restaurant: Impossible and decided to give it another try, and boy am I glad I did. The Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich is AMAZING!!! My husband even agreed that it was very good and he's a picky bbq eater. I also have to say that the Peach Cobbler is very addicting. The service is also fantastic. You're served with a smile, the employees come out to see if you need anything and they keep the place very clean. I would recommend this (and have recommended this) to all my friends.

  3. Bootsdaddy says:

    Not doing too good with the locals
    https://www.facebook.com/KTREnews?fref=ts

    Scroll down to the comments on the Bryan's story….seems they will have to make it on out-of-towners and curious Food network fans…Good luck with that

  4. Elyse says:

    What in the world is going on with restaurant owners that have appeared on Kitchen Nightmares and Restaurant Impossible as of recent? Amy's Baking Company the owners fight back when it comes to criticism and now (after doing some catching up with RI) this owner from Bryan's Smokehouse in Texas is pulling the same thing. What the heck is going on? Is there something in the water in both AZ and TX that is making restaurant owners go bonkers? I'm so confused on what is going on and why do owners bother going on these shows if they can't deal with criticism from the chefs that are trying to help? Also why do they even bother going on these shows if they think they aren't failing? I'm so confused.

  5. Nancy says:

    For Robert Irvine. In the show, you showed wrapping the ribs in plastic wrap and cooking them at 250 degrees in the oven. What was the cooking time? This information is not included on the receipe. I also understood this to be a method for precooking and then cooking them in the smoker. Could you please clarify?

  6. Mark says:

    Went here a few weeks back.. after seeing the show..will NEVER make that mistake again.. Dont know what happened to all the advicr, but the food was bland and dry and cold.. The view of the kitchen area left me with not a good feeling to begin with.. It did not seem overly sanitary. The service was about as bad.

  7. Brian says:

    I pretty much Think the Bryans just used RI for free publicity and a free makeover because they absolutely did not adhere to any advice on the cooking. The menu has reverted back to what it was before, and frankly the food is awful. Dry, cold, nasty.. My father ate about 2 bites and pushed his plate away.. needless to say that ended up as a doggy bag.. which I actually just threw away because I have too much love for my dog to subject them to that. Wish I could say better.. but I cant.. Dont even bother wasting your time on Bryans Smokehouse.

    • Charlotte Sanchez says:

      I think the friendly owner of Bryan's Smokehouse could use a personal makeover. No one wants to have hair in the food, not saying that there has been, but her hair was a mess on the show, fix that and stick with Roberts ideas and could be successful. Or hire someone else to run the Restaurant.

  8. Vincent says:

    I enjoyed pulled pork, coleslaw and baked beans at Bryan's Smokehouse recently in Lufkin, Texas. The service was very friendly. The cook was kind and hospitable. The owner, Lynn, and her father were generous and very friendly. When I asked for an autograph, she was quick to oblige and autographed a t-shirt for me, too! Overall, I enjoyed the visit; however, I did need to ask for more barbeque sauce which they were happy to provide. I enjoyed my visit to Bryan's Smokehouse, and I plan on going back to try the loaded baked potato and barbecue beef.

  9. Patrick says:

    Yes, Restaurant REVISITED .. extremely different experience.. Same as the customers get bored.. it is important for a restauranteur to re invent the restaurant. In past 1 year in Dublin more than 7-0 restaurants have re-Invented their ambiance and even recipe. The best one which I like is PANJAB BALTI, which is now PUNJABI BY NATURE. It has completely changed from old invaded restaurant to NEW energizing restaurant and even the recipe is awesome. Its amazing that changes are good and our stomach keeps liking this forever

    Cheers !

    Patrick

  10. Patrick says:

    Yes, Restaurant REVISITED .. extremely different experience.. Same as the customers get bored.. it is important for a restauranteur to re invent the restaurant. In past 1 year in Dublin more than 7-0 restaurants have re-Invented their ambiance and even recipe. The best one which I like is PANJAB BALTI, which is now PUNJABI BY NATURE. It has completely changed from old invaded restaurant to NEW energizing restaurant and even the recipe is awesome. Its amazing that changes are good and our stomach keeps liking this forever

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