Seafood vs. Italian: Which Restaurant Divided Concept Did You Like Better?

by in Shows, December 5th, 2013

Restaurant DividedIt was father versus son at Michael’s Porthole in Oceanside, N.Y., when Rocco DiSpirito entered the restaurant for the first time. Specializing in seafood, this waterfront eatery was on the brink of closure after a series of devastating accidents and natural tragedies, and while owner Mike Rodonis Sr. was committed to making its fish-focused menu work long-term, his son, Mike Rodonis Jr., who is also the chef at the restaurant, believed that a brand-new Italian concept was needed to jump-start the restaurant’s profitability. Rocco had no choice but to divided the space and pursue both ideas before ultimately determining which offered the greatest opportunity for lasting success.

Working with his Restaurant Divided team, Rocco transformed one half of the interior of Michael’s Porthole into Mike Jr.’s Il Portello, serving Italian-inspired appetizers, and converted the other half into Mike Sr.’s Canal House Grill, a made-over version of the existing restaurant. Rocco helped both guys tweak their menus to be both business-smart and appealing to customers, then the father and son served separate meals to customers and critics alike. After considering both business’ viability and hearing from diners, Rocco announced that the concept of Il Portello is stronger.

Do you think Rocco made the correct decision in choosing Italian over a fish concept, or do you think he should have focused on the fish? Cast your vote below to tell FN Dish which Restaurant Divided concept you liked better.

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Comments (8)

  1. .kizijogos says:

    rather it is a combination of bold and interesting, I found some, okay I will visit stores in the nearest time

  2. Concept goes to Mike Jr.'s Il Portello. Design goes completely to Mike Sr.'s Canal House Grill. The Italian design was clich

  3. remy says:

    again an owner who refuses any change (who is losing money) but has no clue about his 50% food costs ??

  4. entree says:

    Like better? Neither. The blue & white screams fish & chips to me but has a cold look. The red on the left with the brown floor and dark wood chairs is a much better choice of colors but needs a serious upgrade and get rid of the hanging lights.

  5. Epic Fail says:

    FN hit the jackpot this week on jackarse parent(s) hoping for their kids to fail. First R:I, then R:D. Wonderful.

  6. Sir says:

    Yet another Baby Boomber trying with all his strength to maintain his ego and shoot down his kid because he thinks his age means he knows it all. This is EXACTLY why age or generational arguments should never be used and not fixing something only applies if it's not broke.

  7. Julie B says:

    I see a pattern with this show. Even if the new concept wins, they keep the old name. Check Yelp and you'll see none of the new names that won have stuck. I think they are doing the show just to get a free remodel.
    A case in point is Mia Famiglia in Long Island City, NYC. The steakhouse concept called Larry's Communal Table won over the existing name, but Mia Famiglia remains and they got a new wood panelled look.

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