Restaurant Revisited: Bring Mama Back at Mama Campisi’s Restaurant

by in Shows, October 23rd, 2013

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: Impossible“My job here is intense, to say the least,” Robert Irvine said not long after arriving at Mama Campisi’s Restaurant in St. Louis. This nine-year-old Italian eatery was once profitable, making nearly $1 million in revenue, but after employee theft resulted in more than $70,000 in losses, the business faded, and now husband-and-wife owners Lance and Andrea Ervin face nearly $600,000 worth of debt. But beyond their financial struggles, Andrea was overwhelmed by her situation, so Robert’s mission was twofold: Give Mama Campisi’s the tools it needs to succeed again, and help Andrea and her family regain their trust in their restaurant. After just two days and with only $10,000, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team reopened Mama Campisi’s with an inspired menu, a transformed interior and the skills needed to ensure future profits. FN Dish checked in with Andrea and Lance to find how the business is doing today.

“Business seems to have picked up,” Andrea said. “We were able get a couple [people] paid in full, however, due to the repairs that had to be done, we have been at a standstill right now.”

The menu at Mama Campisi’s now incorporates several of Robert’s recommendations for improvement, including altered prices. We “added the rabbit, modified some of our dishes with ingredient suggestions [and] have made some dishes smaller,” Andrea told FN Dish. “We are getting new menus made with some nice wine pairings on them to possibly increase sales.” She also noted that the rabbit is “a huge hit” among customers. And as for the ravioli, Andrea explained, “We are still making the ravioli fresh daily but did tweak the recipe to a more-traditional style that suits our clientele.”

Since the show filmed, Lauren has continued to work at Mama Campisi’s, and Andrea noted that her daughter isn’t receiving any special treatment. “I treat her as an employee at work … I just try not to show any favoritism so the employees don’t dislike her.”

Despite her best intentions, Andrea hasn’t been able to spend more time at home. “The restaurant is needing more of our time,” Lance explained, “which is fine. We would rather take this time and make it right.” And Andrea readily agreed, explaining: “We are much, much, much happier than we have been in a long time. Early mornings and late nights are worth the sacrifice right now to make this place a success for my family.” Speaking of Lance and Lauren, Andrea said: “I am so thankful for the both of them more than you imagine. If it were not for their love and support, I would not be able to do this.”

More from Restaurant Revisited:

Aponte’s Pizzeria (August 25)
Benner Street (July 28)
Hurley’s American Grille (July 21)
Kalico Kitchen (July 14)
Angelo’s (June 23)
Pier West Restaurant (June 16)
Pinehurst Country Lodge (June 9)
Bryan’s Smokehouse (May 26)
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)

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Comments (56)

  1. FNGossip says:

    This was a Dr. Irvine episode with all the counseling and crying. Hopefully Andrea can spend more time at home soon. More restaurant reviews if you click my name, and the restaurant seems to be doing well since the makeover.

  2. Lorraine says:

    heartwarming story. i do hope for a success of the restaurant.

  3. Julia says:

    Quite sad to hear she isn't spending anymore time with her children. Nurturing the business but not her kids :-(

  4. guest says:

    Hopefully Andrea can find time to give her older daughter a hug!

  5. Suzanne says:

    Great job

  6. Yaegerj says:

    I think the concept of what Robert is trying to do, which is helping failing restaurants stay in business comes with a hell of a cost, and that is having someone who has a very large ego, which comes across on tv as a form of bullying some people, and on the borderline of (narcissisticism) with others. I would love to see this guy punked really badly.

    • therealraiderduck says:

      His yelling is completely deserved. Take last night. Their "World-Famous Toasted Ravioli" consisted of dumping out a bag of frozen ravioli they probably bought from Costco onto a pan and throwing it in the oven. You could do the same thing at home for 1/10 what they charge. And it's not like making fresh ravioli is rocket science.

  7. yaegerj919 says:

    I find it hard to believe Robert, that all the food you have eaten at all these restaurants that you have helped with are all bad, nor does everyone have the taste buds you have. Consequently, is he married, and what crazy woman would marry a guy, who is so full of himself?

    • Betty says:

      That is what I think too. All the food can't be that bad. He acts like a child when he eats something he does not like and spits and makes faces.

  8. EJ42 says:

    He is married, his wife is wrestler Gail Kim they met at a dinner impossible he did.

  9. STL Girl says:

    We ate there last Saturday and I have to say the experience was less than impressive. Their toasted ravs were really good but as for the rest of the food, it was overpriced and less interesting than what I can get at Macaroni Grill. For good Italian food on The Hill, there are 25 better choices than Mamas.

  10. Beth says:

    Five kids at home + running 2 restaurant businesses?
    The kids are suffering… if it doesn't show now, it will years later in their adult life as scars are being made now. Cut your losses by putting the restaurant up for sale now, payoff the debt, and focus on the family you've been given. The kids will be grown in just a few short years… start a restaurant then. Enjoy your family now.

    • Melissa says:

      The kids did not asked to be born. It was her choice to have that many. They seem to be very loving and sweet kids, despite being neglected. I hope she doesn't have anymore children.

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