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. pretendernx01 says:

    I just wanted to say the bartender-guy who waited on Robert was cute. That is all.

  2. The Colonel says:

    RI (show and host) is a one trick pony and its a trick that is getting old and redundant. I've worked for Sal and he is the best. Nowhere is it ever mentioned about his work at Family Resources and his Culinary Kids program. If you do your job and have a good work ethic then there are NO problems. If you have to be coddled and can't handle stress you don't belong in any phase of the bar/restaurant business….and RI knows nothing about Chicago style food.

    • steve says:

      The issue wasn't stress, it was the way he talked to people.

      • Kittmilr says:

        I agree with the Colonel. I've known Sal for 26 years. He is an awesome guy. A lot of the problem has to do with the work ethic of the younger generation. I too worked for Sal in one of his restaurants many years ago, and he was a great boss who liked to have fun. They don't go into detail about their personal lives on the show so people make snap judgements on what little they see and hear. Not cool in my opinion.

        • Michael says:

          First off, people change… second, if the staff is the problem why are they still working their? Clearly the management wasn't leading well otherwise they wouldn't be losing $8-10 thousand a month.

        • Lauren says:

          Agreeing with Michael — Sal may be an awesome guy with charities and all but if he's not training his staff and managing them his eye is clearly off the ball. "Fun" shouldn't be at the expense of discipline, cleanliness, professionalism and quality. As a customer I wouldn't know — or care — about Sal's background. I'd care about the food and the service.

    • Jack Davis says:

      Sal admitted to a bad temper and speaking rudely to staff.His girlfriend said it. Almost the entire staff didn't want to work for him. It wasn't editing, it was him

    • Guest says:

      This show is about BREND'S restaurant – not Sal's outside interests.

  3. PuppyMommy says:

    I thought it was funny that Robert freaked out about the neon green pickle relish. It's SUPPOSED to be that color. LOL I've never had a Chicago dog without the neon green relish and hot peppers. Without them it's just a hot dog! SMDH

  4. chickie says:

    Do these people also not realize that goomba is a derogatory term? It's basically a large, dumb Italian thug and bully. It's usually reserved for wanna-be mobsters. It's not a friend like they claim. That's honestly quite stupid. Maybe that's why no one goes, who wants to eat somewhere with that type of name.

    • Kittmilr says:

      Sal is originally from New Jersey, and that is what Goomba means there.

    • Stefanie says:

      Your wrong, goombah does mean friend. Obviously your not Italian.

      • Anon says:

        And you obviously need to go back to grade school. Your = you own it. You're (which is what you should've used) = you are.

        • Dr Mp- italian says:

          Wow "anon" couldn't wait to jump on that typo; never makes simple mistakes I guess. Anyway, to all the oversensitive commenters on "goombah": that's a dialect if you will for the word for close companion/friend similar to the Spanish word "compadre". Anyone who uses it differently is simply ignorant.No lawsuits needed (Chickie).

    • pisiano de napoli says:

      goombah is friend to Italian-Americans

  5. Mr. Chairman says:

    Put on your white-collar corporate boardroom hat and ask yourself: In today's competitive marketplace where everyone must be positive, pro-active, have a can-do attitude and be a winner, does a weird name like Goombazz sounds like a place that has it together? Umm, no.

    • Julie B says:

      They are trying to pay homage to the old=school italian word Goombazz, thinking it still represents Brooklyn or the Italian part of the Bronx or any other large city. Thinking that it's cool, but maybe people are getting away from that vibe.

    • GiveARat's says:

      I don't have a white collar or a boardroom hat, but my initial knee-jerk reaction to the restaurant's name was that it was extremely lame. I'm sure Sal and Brenda thought it was cute and clever, but to me it was like letting your six-year-old daughter name your new puppy. Might be cute for a while, until you have to go walking around the neighborhood yelling for "Twinkle Toes" to come home…

    • JMB says:

      i thought it was a fun quirky name

    • AlistZ says:

      So, you'd go with 'Pizza Bell'?

  6. keith says:

    It wont last. Ate there a few weeks after they opened. menu was worse. We decided on deep dish. it was terrible. too salty and not really a deep dish. It will get business for a while but wont have a lot of returning people. They will be closed by Summer or maybe before. I have talked to several people who have gone there and they will not go back. Decor is terrible.. Booths arent private now. People next to us complained. He was a regular before but he said he was not coming back. Sal needs to push up glasses and get rid of stupid hat. google restuarant impossible to see how many are still in business after this guy came in and changed things. One guy said he will lock the door if he sees Robert come back. I like to eat and this is not the place. Its too bad, but they tried.

  7. Guest says:

    Robert's unfamiliarity with the Chicago hot dog destroyed his credibility with me as far as the food is concerned. I like the remodel and I fully agree that the main problem in the restaurant was Sal's temper tantrums. By the way, Sal, it ain't your restaurant if you haven't put any money into it. I had to laugh at the restaurant's name. I'm from New York and Goomban is a slur there. If you call a New Yorker with an Italian background a Goombah prepare to get a knuckle sandwich.

    • Julie B says:

      Exactly! If I remember what my grandmother told me, Goombah is the bastardized version of "Compare (male) and Commare (female)", which means the person you're cheating on your spouse with. So it really does have a negative meaning. But doesn't it also mean a Godfather or a Godmother to your children?

    • Jason says:

      His Credibility was destroyed long ago when he lied on his Resume for Dinner Impossible.

    • Stefanie says:

      Goombah is not an Italian slur. It means friend in Italian. Wrong wrong wrong

  8. Mrs. Fishie says:

    Like this show but am getting a bit worn out with the yell at the owners, two days deal. How about you spend a week , really teach them and not do the decor at a frantic pace. Also could do without the owners fighting back. They've seen the damn show. PS Chicago relish is that color Mr. Know-it-All.

  9. There it is says:

    Sorry folks…but the big black ceiling looks like a dungeon to me. I think this would have been the time to work with the original ceiling rather.

  10. AceofTaste says:

    Those PVC light shades looked good on TV, wonder if they look that good in person, or do they look like painted PVC pipes covering lights.

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