Restaurant Revisited: Unlucky Number Seven at Seven

by in Shows, November 27th, 2013

Restaurant: ImpossibleWhen Robert Irvine arrived at Seven restaurant in La Porte, Ind., he found that the restaurant was suffering from the trifecta of issues: poor food, drab decor and weak management. Owners Tonya and Chad, who are engaged, named the business after their blended family of seven children, including Tonya’s son Jake, who’s a cook at the eatery. It was up to Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team to use their $10,000 budget and two-day timeline to overhaul both the menu and interior design at Seven, and work with the family to give the business the second chance at success it deserves. FN Dish checked in with Tonya a few weeks after the restaurant reopened to find out how it’s faring since Robert left.

“The first week we tripled our sales and have nearly doubled our sales every week since the show,” Tonya explains. “While everything is amazing, our favorite part of the renovation is the sevens in the foyer and the lights above the hostess station that all seven kids got to paint.”

Since filming has ended, Seven has continued to serve Robert’s menu, although Tonya notes, “We have added a few things for lunch.” They add that going forward, “We will keep a lot of what Robert implemented but will try to switch it up to keep things fresh.”

Diners have taken to the new menu prices, Tonya tells FN Dish: “It is more affordable and there is a diverse choice of menu options. Customers think the pricing is very reasonable.”

Although Tonya has hired a new chef, Jake is still cooking in the kitchen, and is more comfortable there now, according to Tonya. “He has the new menu down pretty well. His confidence is there now that he knows the menu.” She adds that Jake is committed to pursuing a career as a chef and continuing to work at Seven.

In terms of the front-of-the-house staff, Jo is still in charge and she “is continuing to prove what an important asset she is to Seven,” Tonya says. “Chad has stepped up a little more in a leadership role and we are now having weekly meetings.” She adds of their new ways of keeping staff accountable, “We have put in place a new disciplinary plan for those who break policy rules. This is going into effect with both front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house employees.”

Check out Restaurant: Impossible’s top-five video mash-ups and see the dirtiest restaurants, the best sledgehammer moments and the most-unforgettable meltdowns.

More from Restaurant Revisited:

Georgia Boy Cafe (November 20)
Coach Lamp Restaurant & Pub (November 13)
The Windsor 75 (November 6)
Ducky’s Family Restaurant (October 30)
Mama Campisi’s Restaurant (October 23)
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 (91)

  1. Paperbackwriterl says:

    As usual, Lynn did a spectacular job with reenvisioning a dreary space, and Tom is the man. Robert, of course, knew what limitations there were to the kitchen and worked with it in his usual professional manner. At the end, it was a bit embarassing to see the youngest girls of the families tarted out in what looked like some sort of "evening wear", with shoulders bared. Weird. It doesn't surprise me to read they are trying to sell the business. Makes sense for them. Jake, however, I think will migrate to San Francisco or Denver and find himself as a real chef.

    • Cara says:

      Why would you be surprised about the clothing of girls whose mother is shacking up with guy and yet is willing to parade herself on national TV?

  2. Greek2me says:

    I could run a restaurant better than these people and I have absolutely no experience.

  3. Tina Evans says:

    My family went to eat there before a football game about a month ago. I was so excited because I knew that it was redone. I'm sad to say it was absolutely awful. We had raw chicken. Super salty seafood we couldn't eat it. Everything was disappointing. No manager came over and the server knew the chicken was raw. Won't be back.

  4. ginncjb says:

    Have noticed that many of the failing restaurants are owned by couples/families in which the restaurant is the dream of only one of them. Then everyone else in the family is expected to 'make it work' no matter what, so that the dreamer will get what they always wanted….spouses/partners contribute capital, family members are expected to work as cooks or servers, etc. This is an unreasonable expectation in any business. The only way that could work is if the one with the dream has years of experience in that line of business & is able to pay non-family members to do the work, if necessary.

  5. @coach215 says:

    I had a burger and their fresh made baked chips the other day and it was great. Saw the kid and sent my compliments to him after Robert had been tough on him, because everything was pretty tasty. Nice place, nice people, puzzling in light of these comments.

    • DeAnn says:

      You have got that right…….They are becoming an amazing team…Made it a point to visit 7 on a recent trip. Keep goin guys

  6. disappointed says:

    Went there this past week and was not impressed. Like previous poster mentioned had raw chicken and not one person came to address this. It is sad because I think they are floating on the amazing following of Reed's and the food here is just not up to par. And to the poster about Spire, I do not know why you have not heard about their menu. It changes every month or when produce goes out of season. Their young chef is amazing!

    • Barker62 says:

      RE my comment about Spire – Note I said I hadn't heard anyone "rave" about their menu. I also haven't heard anyone "diss" their menu either. At the moment I'm neutral on them.

  7. tim c says:

    Went there tonight to check it out.. Live in Northern IL, but have to go to LaPorte on business occasionally. Never heard of the place till I saw it on RI. Was somewhat disappointed. Calamari was mostly tentacles. Server asked if I was enjoying calamari, and I told her that there were few rings and lots of tentacles, her response was uncaring. Not what I'm used to when I order calamari. Breading was tasty, but way too thick. Prime rib was ok, could have been better seasoned and a little less tough. Mashed potatoes good, menu said PR came with asparagus, showed up with broccoli. Would not go back.
    I thought the stained glass windows should have stayed as well. The place was probably half full at dinner time a bitter cold winter evening, so they may be getting enough customers to last.

  8. Bruce Todd says:

    On Dec 26th My Wife, our oldest daughter and I tried SEVEN for the 1st time and it was a wonderful experience for all three of us. Our daughter is a vegetarian and she had no trouble creatively selecting her choice of appetizer and entree. My wife had her choice which was prime rib and I chose from the specialties menu for the "Chicago ? ?" sandwich. We were impressed with the service, the food and the restaurant design. Will we go back there ? You can bet it up, yes we will go there again and again. Our greeter was the best of all greeters anywhere. Our server was the best as she was very helpful in making us feel comfortable there, kept our soft drink glasses full, checked on us to make sure everything was good. The food quality was 1st class as there was no problems what so ever. The decor was wonderful. The SEVEN design on the wall as viewed as you walk in is really awesome. The design of the whole place is a credit to the Restaurant Impossible staff and our La Porte Volunteers. Together they made a big positive difference in "SEVEN".

  9. Beck. says:

    The stain glass was lovely, Irvine showed his ignorance if he thinks stain glass is only about churches. The sevens and wooden crosses where nice but the paneling cheapened the look

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