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. Sue says:

    I ate there when it was in the mall, then one time at restaurant, I am from Chicago and was not too impressed with the italian beef, not big enough for price. My kids ate there and did not like the pizza either. Also, what was with the BYOB? Did they loose their license to serve, cause my son was in there one day before his 21st birthday and they did NOT card! That is unprofessional.
    I wish them good luck, try to improve the food.

  2. prejzki says:

    Ate there after the remodel but before the show aired. Decor was nice, service was excellent, and food was pretty good. I agree that the pizza was too salty, and ours was a bit underdone. I'd give it another chance, though. Italian beef was tasty and the loaded fries were awesome. When I watched the episode, I was struck by how nice Brenda and Sal seemed, and unlike many other owners, very receptive to Robert's criticisms and suggestions. I can't wait to go back to try the rest of the menu, and I really hope they succeed!

  3. Mimi says:

    I used to love watching Robert Irving however, watching this video, and its happened with other shows he's done, I turned the channel to something else. Whatever happened to the nice guy? He's turned into this nasty, smart ass, know it all, jackass. Granted he goes to these places to make it better, but geezz do you really have to knock EVERY SINGLE WORD the guy says? Reall Bob? Are you serious? You're good, but so are other Chefs, and they're much nicer. This man was nervous with every word he said because Bob was going to criticize it. Get real Bob, be nicer, you weren't born a Chef, and I'm sure you burned a few yourself. be a human being and stop being such a jackass.

    • ahughes798 says:

      You loved him so much you never bothered to learn his last name, LOL

    • Shawn S. says:

      Its one letter difference, don't be so nitpicky.

      And actually I feel the same way. Robert Irvine's show used to be interesting and I enjoyed watching it. Now whenever I see him come on I flip the channel. He is negative, rude, and just outright nasty and way overly dramatic. Most of the show is so over-the-top that it seems fake, its hard to believe anyone has such a terrible attitude and lack of respect and empathy towards others.

      One of my old jobs had a sign that read as follows "Tact: The art of making a point without making an enemy." Tact is something you could learn, Robert. I'm very disappointed in both you and this show.

      • JMB says:

        it is TV people- they have to act that way to keep ratings up- if he or Gordon Ramsay were all peaches and cream the shows wouldnt have been on this long- most of the time he is dead on correct… what a waste of time and money though to help people who go back to old ways and old chefs…

    • amadeus111 says:

      well, it is a TV show, you shouldn't take his attitude so seriously. I think it is the part of the show

  4. Gio1948 says:

    Chef Irvine, could you not bring yourself to change the name? The name perpetuates ignorance about the Italian language and Italian Americans. It makes you less credible as an intelligent human being. BIG CITY EATS would have been fine. No more for this ridiculous show which continues to go down hill.

  5. Dave says:

    Sal is NOT THE OWNER. He kept saying OUR restaurant – NO SAL, its HER restaurant. This guy is a leach – he's got no skin in the game and he's taking credit for improvements when in reality he is nothing more than a GREETER – maybe he is better suited for WALMART!!! By the way, they are WRONG WRONG WRONG about the meaning of the name – being from an Italian and Sicilian background myself, goombah is a slam against somebody. It is actually an insult, in fact, to ALL people from Italian and Sicilian backgrounds. This is what perpetuates the thought that all Italians and Sicilians are in organized crime. They need to educate themselves about the name and its usage and sal needs to lose those STUPID STUPID hats and quite trying to act like a 1950's gangster hood. That's just my 2 cents.

  6. Amanda says:

    We've eaten at this restaurant both before and after the remodel, and was less than impressed. The service is poor, they are continually out of menu items, food is served cold and the lighting is horrific. When we had to deal with the manager (Brenda, apparently), we were shocked at the lack of professionalism. This is definately a restaurant we won't be bothering to visit again.

  7. Kenn says:

    with the sales you posted, better than $10,000 a week, for a Ma and Pa restaurant, you should be very profitable unless your rent is way too high or someone or more are stealing

  8. guest says:

    Robert, people who watch RI aren't interested in seeing you become a therapist! You are a world-class chef, who hopefully helps people turn their restaurants around. I think I speak for many who say we aren't interested in your two cents on how to turn around your relationships. If anyone wants to see/hear "therapy", they can watch the bald quack and his fame-wh0re wife.

  9. Irvine Roberts says:

    There's only one reason her "dad" wears those hats. He's bald on top. I bet he sleeps and showers in them.

    Why does Robert act so confused about the food? The items he put on the menu did not fit the "theme" any better than Sallie's. The customers who were "confused" about the décor before the makeover must have so much trouble eating out that I recommend they stay at home from now on.

    I can just imagine how the conversation between Sal and the GM went. "Robert Irvine's here and we need you back." Great Plan B by the way — more Sal. He can sit on the bench out front.

    Did the owner have any more clue about what to do when schmoozing the tables before versus after the reveal? I think not. What these owners need to do is to get some education about running a restaurant, join at industry group, and hire a consultant to teach the staff what they need to be doing and leave the instruction manual, in case the first 2 suggestions don't work.

  10. Guest says:

    Here's an article from the paper from the Rock Island/Quad City area where they talked to the owners about the show/Robert. Apparently things aren't going so hot. This came out just after Christmas, but i don't have anything more current so I'm not 100% if they're open or not.

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