Restaurant Revisited: Goombazz Gone Wild at Goombazz Big City Eatzz

by in Shows, December 18th, 2013

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleFacing nearly $300,000 of debt, Sally Fatzz and Brenda Brewer turned to Robert Irvine for a restaurant rescue at their eclectic one-year-old restaurant, Goombazz Big City Eatzz, specializing in regional cuisines from around the country. While Sally had enjoyed prior ventures in the restaurant industry, Brenda was new to the restaurant scene, but both recognized their need for a Restaurant: Impossible

transformation if their business was to have any chance at future success. It didn’t take Robert long to realize that this Rock Island, Ill., restaurant was failing largely on account of Sally’s out-of-control temper, which ultimately led to unhappy customers and a dissatisfied staff. With a budget of just $10,000 and only two days to work, Robert and his team overhauled the interior of Goombazz, updated the eatery’s menu, and began mending Sally and Brenda’s relationship. Read on below to hear from both owners and find out how their restaurant is doing today.

Since the transformation, “business is up,” Sally says. “We went from $800 to about $1,200 on weekdays, and [on] Friday and Saturday, $3,000.” He adds that “everyone loves the new decor.” Brenda explains: “The floor is amazing, the bridge mural is beautiful, we love the back bar, but [we] had to add our own lighting, and the kitchen pass-through window being closed up is my favorite change! I also love the fresh flowers on the tables.”

Some customers miss dishes from Goombazz’s old menu, but Sally admits that, “with the addition of the new entree items, the menu now suits the restaurant better.” Nevertheless, he and Brenda have added a few of their original items back to their list of offerings. “Based on sales, we have removed two items that were not selling and replaced them with two old favorites, one of which is our top seller,” Sally notes. “Best-selling of Roberts’s addition is the fish and chips — and the crab cakes.” Brenda adds, “We have perfected the fish, created our own original tartar sauce and people are loving it.” Brenda explains that in terms of food prep, “The kitchen staff has perfected the menu and ticket times down to 10 minutes even on our busiest of nights.”

Darren is once again working at Goombazz, and Sally notes, “Brenda, myself and [the] staff are very happy to have him back.” He adds, “[Darren's] first day back was a big adjustment to new cooking techniques, but after the first week, he and the rest of the staff had Goombazz running like a clock.”

Sally explains that he’s getting better at handling his anger: “I am thinking before I speak. It has greatly improved my relations with the staff and is helping the restaurant run more smoothly.” He adds, “To become a better leader, I have taken a lesson from Robert; I am trying to become a teacher rather than a criticizer.”

Looking ahead, Sally tells FN Dish: “I believe that given the proper time, we will get out of debt. We still are barely at a breakeven point, but I believe in the long run it will work.”

Check out the top-five video mash-ups of Restaurant: Impossible to see the best design updates, the most-emotional reveals and the dirtiest restaurants

More from Restaurant Revisited:

LBI Pancake House (December 8)
Ship Bottom Volunteer Fire Company (December 8)
Mike La Susa’s Italian Restaurant (December 4)
Seven (November 27)
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 (92)

  1. FNGossip says:

    Were they driving a Cadillac?

    More reviews and updates on Goombazz if you click my name.

    • Colorado Chef says:

      I saw that Caddy also.

      Why do these places get so many negative reviews after the RI make over? That seems to be a trend lately from what I see on your website, whereas in the first couple seasons the post RI reviews were great. Do you think some of the bloom is off the RI rose?

      • Julie B says:

        I think it's because people have no intention of keeping the business going, they just want the free remodel so they can sell the place.

        • GiveARat's says:

          Surely you're not serious, Julie B. $10,000 worth of paint, cheap residential grade vinyl flooring, knick knacks, and slap-dash carpentry, which has become the redesign formula for this program, is never going to increase the value of a failing restaurant or its real estate. You people who think $10,000 pays for any kind of a commercial business remodel are living in a dream world. Most residential kitchen remodels cost twice that amount, for crying out loud. At best, the R:I redecorating will help to temporarily improve the image of an existing restaurant which also has a new service and business philosophy.

          No sane business person would buy a failing business with a bad reputation and try to make it profitable without a total gut job and a new name and image.

  2. Nonya says:

    No matter that they aren't married. This woman has battered wife syndrome. He still calls it HIS restaurant. He still acts like he's the owner. She needs to dump him and grow a pair.

    • Guest says:

      Agreed. He's a total douche!

    • asteve says:

      Yeah, it grabbed me when he said they were equal partners then said she put up all the money. Pretty slick.

      • guest says:

        she put up the cash he put up the knowledge isnt that worth anything? if i were a betting man he cant show owning it or he would lose a portion of his social security

    • Mobitz ! says:

      I noticed that too. He hasn't put any of his own money in the place yet calls it "his". His bad behavior will return in time. Then she needs to show him the restaurant door. Wonder….did he not have any money to put into it?

    • Julie B says:

      its like the only reason she is with him is he can't support himself.

      • Kittmilr says:

        Sal actually runs a culinary kitchen for troubled kids and puts in 60-70 hours there per week so yeah he can and does support himself. This is Brenda's dream, and Sal was trying to help her make it come true. Please don't try to make him the bad guy without knowing the whole story. They are both very wonderful fun loving people who happened to be under alot of stress, and everyone knows stress makes you do and say things that you don't really mean.

        • guest says:

          Thank you. You are right. The whole story isn't told on the show.

        • guest says:

          He'd help her much more by getting lost! Someone posted that she put up the $$ and HE gave her his knowledge?? Some knowledge! That why they were about to close? Brenda needs to grow a pair and get rid of this bully. "HIS"" restaurent? – my @zz…

  3. big says:

    I think boyfriend is alright. Relationships and business is good when all is well same on the flip side. Money is like oxygen, it don't make you happy but you need it to survive

  4. Guest says:

    Chef Irvine has obviously never had a Chicago-style hot dog before, otherwise he wouldn't be so surprised at the neon green relish.

    • He probably hasn't had a Chicago deep-dish pizza either–merely thicker crust does not a deep-dish make (and it sure ain't Chicago–nobody here would fall for it). America's Test Kitchen nailed the recipe. Crust has to have cornmeal on the bottom, have butter in the dough for a crunch to contrast with the thickness, be pressed up against the sides of the pan, and the amount of cheese and toppings (including crushed plum tomatoes, NOT sauce) doubled. And I'm surprised he didn't call them out on that stupid brioche bun for an alleged NOLA muffalatta–all he said was that it was "dry." If it's not on a large round sesame Italian loaf (and cut into wedges), it ain't a muffalstta. Brioche bun? Sheesh. If you can't find authentic ingredients (or make them correctly from scratch) then don't attempt the dish, period. The KC burger was inventive, but what "big city" did that pulled pork sandwich represent? For the record, I've lived in Chi, 35 yrs. and hate Chicago hot dogs–boiled and covered with everything in the vegetable crisper. And that green piccallilli is indeed disgusting–but authentic. Give this Brooklyn-born-&-raised kid a grilled kosher beef dog with brown mustard & sauerkraut any day (knish on the side).

      • Guest says:

        You're totally right about the "deep dish" pizza, that thing was an abomination completely unlike anything you'd find at Malnati's, Uno's, or wherever. Incredibly risky for Rockford, too, considering it's in Chicago's back yard. The only reason I didn't comment on it is because I commented on the hot dog before I saw the part about the new pizza recipe.

        • tim says:

          Its Rock Island, not Rockford but I hear ya, the pizza Robert made wasn't any Chicago-Style I have had in or out of the city.

        • Jason says:

          They actually have Deep Dish in Rock Island….at Alfanos. Traditional Deep dish,not this think crust crap.

        • Barker62 says:

          Don't forget Connies! LOL! As for the dog – grilled with ketchup(or catsup), yellow mustard, maybe a some finely diced onion. Once in a while skip the mustard and hit it with some melted cheese. The neon green picalilli sucks!

  5. Ha N. says:

    What I don't understand is that they said they had a revenue of $400,00 the first year and were losing $10,000/month after that yet the claim that they've only been open a year. So, how long does that mean they've been losing $10,000/month and how does that calculate to them being in debt so much???

    • Guest says:

      Probably because she invested $170,000 originally from her 401K + $120,000 (loss of revenue; $10K a month x 12) = $290,000 or almost $300,000. "Revenue" is not necessarily profit. They could have earned a "gross revenue" of $400K, but might have had expenses of $400K.

  6. Anna says:

    This place was originally open at the Mall and has only been at the new location a year. Maybe they made more at the food court and that would explain the 400k and then the losses.

  7. I want to congratulate Brenda and Sal, and Chef Robert for the great make-over! Brenda and Sal are a great couple, and I wish them all the success they deserve. I have friends that I will recommend their restaurant to, as my husband and I live in Georgia, and cannot travel due to health problems. I will try to spread the word about this transformation, and I hope they continue to succeed.

  8. Anthony says:

    Wish them all the best!!!! GREAT JOB ON THE REMODEL!!

  9. Gary says:

    The remodel looked O.K. I can't get over some of the dreadful artsy-craftsy junk they come up with in the re-do.Those lamps made out of random lengths of PVC pipe were horrendous as was the yellow rope "art" above the bar. This stuff looks like it was made in a 4th grade arts and crafts class. Imagine what a dirty mess they would become in less than a week. The old fixtures were fine.
    If it ain't broke,don't fix it. The owners are losing boatloads of money yet the drive a very expensive Cadillac wagon ? I don't get it. Who's zoomin' who ?

    • steve says:

      Yeah, I keep noticing that too- a lot of dust-collection often incorporated into the designs. They really should pay more attention to the amount of cleaning needed

      • Mobitz 1 says:

        Yea….the re-habs don't look like they will stand up to time or cleaning. I liked the old lights. Those yellow monstrosities were tacky at best.

    • Julie B says:

      I do find the remodels the most interesting part of the show. You're right, it's decorating on a dime. Remember the white wire hangers hooked together to make a square? Everything is "industrial" now,–sleek and contemporary. No more cushiony fluff.

    • steve says:

      I happen to know Sal and that Cadillac wagon you mention is a 2004 so its 10 years old and was purchased way before the restaurant was first opened

  10. Unknown says:

    Controlling his anger? I got to say when you watch the preview you would think this guy would explode but he didn't in fact Sal is one of the very very few on the show who didn't get angry, or emotional at Robert or staff criticisms he took it like a champ.

    His partner deserve more bashing than she got which isn't nearly enough. I for one am pretty impressed that Sal wasn't the whole angry person the show shows especially the recent ones. It gets predictable when the producers pretty much adds fake drama to the show this is one of the recently better episodes I do prefer the older episodes where Robert wasn't a therapist and didn't focus much on the family drama.

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