Restaurant Revisited: Unfixable Family at Mike La Susa’s Italian Restaurant

by in Shows, December 4th, 2013

Restaurant: ImpossibleIt didn’t take long for Robert Irvine to realize he was facing two missions at Mike La Susa’s Italian Restaurant in Oak Creek, Wis. Not only was he to overhaul the decor and reinvent the menu, but he also had to contend with the family, owners Patrick and Mary, plus their son, Mike. This trio was barely able to communicate with each other when Robert arrived, and it was up to him to attempt to see to the root of their problems while working with his Restaurant: Impossible team to transform the failing eatery into a welcoming, comfortable space. With a budget of only $10,000 and just two days to institute changes, Robert ultimately reopened Mike La Susa’s to a crowd of customers. Read on below for an exclusive update on how the restaurant is doing today.

Mike is enjoying the updated menu, although business has struggled a bit since the transformation, as the changes in the list of offerings have been difficult for longtime customers to accept. He’s still the main cook, and he is planning to eventually add some of the original dishes back to the menu.

Mike’s working with an accountant in the hopes of eventually taking over the financials of the restaurant from Mary and Patrick, who’s decreased the amount of time he works at Mike La Susa’s. Mike is grateful that this experience allowed him to talk openly with his family.

Check out top-five video mash-ups from Restaurant: Impossible to see the most-unforgettable meltdowns, worst staff moments and dirtiest restaurants.

More from Restaurant Revisited:

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 (802)

  1. stacey cavallo says:

    Mary needs to step back, she is NOT personable, likable or friendly. I do not care about family dynamics when I go to eat! Shut up & get out of the business!! You are unappreciative & disrespectful!!!! Plain ugly in this show & I would not go to this place just hoping to avoid your ugliness! God give you the grace you need to be around people on a daily basis!!,

  2. azalea22 says:

    I don't know this family or anything about them aside from what I've seen on this episode (which I've watched twice now). That said, just based on what I've seen, Mike seems to me to be a person who has been so beaten down and so demoralized by his parents, especially his mother, that he'd just about given up. If you watch Mary (the mother), in several scenes, she just stands there and stares, or rather glares at Mike, in such a confrontational and intimidating way. She comes across as a total bully, and I'm guessing this is how she treats all those (including, and maybe especially her family) who cross her or don't give in to her, or who don't measure up to whatever she wants or what her expectations are, whether they're realistic or not. She wouldn't listen to anything that Robert said or suggested…She knew better, and everyone else was wrong, no matter what. I've rarely seen such a thoroughly unlikable person. I don't know how Robert managed to deal with her for two days. The father, Pat, got his nose bent out of shape after Robert told them what they were doing wrong, and he bailed on the first day, and never showed up again, not even for the reopening of the restaurant…What a guy. Heaven help this restaurant, the employees, and this family. What a mess.

  3. Such Love says:

    That is VERY SMART to get a financial manager. MOM and DAD, have you considered opening a 2nd business of something that will fill in your time each day? Something that you can call your own baby? What about taking a class at a local college, going on vacation, joining a club, volunteer at hospital, food bank, just anything else you have ever wanted to do now that your in retirement? I know that your concerned your son might fail, but please take a leap of faith. I think you are doing an amazing job as a parents to love and support your son financially. It is obvious that your son LOVES YOU BOTH SO SO MUCH! You did that so clearly you are both doing something right. But the control really does have to stop. Look at what it is doing to your family. =( What is going to happen if your son takes up the threat to shut down? What will happen if he goes on strike or just walks away unexpectedly to officially let you 2 run it for good? Please give him just a small rope. Manage the books from afar. If this doesn't change, the restaurant will likely shut down. What will happen then? File bankruptcy, open his own restaurant without you, really play the blame game? Whatever happens, it is these things that truly will hinder your family bond. =(

  4. KSJ says:

    I have been to the restaurant before it appeared on the show. The food was fine. I would go back again given the new menu. I think that Mary might be mistaken; I don't believe people ask for her when she is not there.
    My personal opinion is that she seemed very unhappy and overbearing; she was quite frankly the reason my experience was only ok.

  5. Justin says:

    I have never posted but had to say something. This resturaunt will never survive with the family dynamic in place. The family should have been rescued before the resturaunt was. Start with some therapy first and that will translate into the business. If it doesnt, and it may not, Mike needs to fly away from the toxic nest and do his own thing. Edditing aside, this family has issues that cannot be fixed with 2 days and 10k. Sounds like the sister who wasnt on the show needs to be involved in the therapy as well. Just get the family fixed with therapy and all can move forward with or without the resturaunt. I wish them all the best but they need to take action or they are all doomed.

  6. jm2970 says:

    I actually came on here and created an account, just so I could make a comment about this episode. I could not get past the disgusted feeling I was left with after watching this show. I have never seen someone treat another human being, never mind their own son, with such disregard and disrespect. It is so transparent that this abuse has been going on for years within this family. I have never seen a mother contain such a lack of motherly love or tenderness, as I did in this woman. Mike needs therapy to get over the years of abuse from this woman, so he can build some confidence in himself and do for himself. Mary needs therapy to get over her narcissistic ways and to learn how to truly love another human being. I wish you well Mike. If I was your friend, I would suggest move away. Far, far away! You can do it on your own. You owe them nothing. They chose to open their checkbook. You did not sign the checks.. I am sure the rest of the property was just as important to them within the investment. Mike, do for you. They are no longer in charge of your life. Take control buddy! Good luck!

    • Becky Johnson says:

      I agree with every word you said, but want to point out that professional therapists refer to Narcissism as "the uncurable disorder" — so although Mary needs therapy she would never go to therapy because "nothing is wrong with her" in her persistent, skewed view of the world. And if she ever did go to therapy, it wouldn't be long (probably right away in her case) before she showed contempt and disgust for the therapist, walking out the minute she felt he was doing anything but adoring her. (I have never seen anyone treat Robert with such haughty contempt.) You can't fix what people refuse to see. So I wouldn't want Mike to hold out hope that his mom would, or could, ever change. In life there are some necessary losses, and he may have to grieve the loss of the normal, loving mom he always wished he had. The longer Mike marinates in dysfunction, the more he puts his mental and physical health at risk for post-traumatic stress or depression and hopelessness. My advice to people held captive in a narcissistic relationship is to "Run, Forest, RUN!" — toward freedom and sanity. In this case — and I never felt this way with any other RI show — I wish the $10,000 could have been spent on intensive therapy , to affirm and strengthen a hurting soul, rather than on beautifying a building.

    • LindaWB says:

      Dear Mike: Whose idea was it to contact Restaurant Impossible seeking help from Robert Irvine? Was it your mother’s idea… AKA- Attorney Mary H. Payne? Not a good idea. The word is out about Mary in greater Milwaukee. I’m a mom to a son about your age. I have other adult children as well. I’m so sorry that you missed out being raised by a loving mother as most children are. Your mother Attorney Mary H Payne trashed my precious son in court almost in the same ways as she does you. It’s easy to see that your mother Mary needs help. I’m not sure at her age it’ll help much, but maybe she’ll she see some light. I have a hunch Mary is using you and the restaurant as her old age insurance policy… for her to cause more emotional damage to others when she’s no longer able to destroy good people in family court (opposing side), via her mean and vicious comments. Mike… please run away from this dysfunction just as soon as you can, Mary is setting you up to be her caretaker in her old age as her lawyering years are nearing an end. Run Mike… you’ll be a better man… just like my son.

  7. Kevy says:


  8. Food4Us says:

    I couldn't help but to create an account just like jm2970, just for this particular episode.
    After watching the show, read through the comments along with thumbs up on most, and thumb down on "Taco".
    I have to thank Mary for teaching me a very big lesson as what not to do being a parent.
    I have two school aged kids, and I want to do everything I can by loving, supporting my kids as they grow.
    I understand the unwillingness that Mary won't let go of her son, I think we all experienced that with each of our child. But, to me, she's a little too extreme. Even she has no faith in her son making it unless she's there, she should at least give him a chance to try it. I was speechless with her constant talked down to her son, with that low moral, no wonder he is so down. Maybe she has too much of superiority complex.
    Anyway, A Big Thank You to Mary for teaching me for being a better parent by not doing what you did with your son.

  9. Ben Bottino says:

    Dear Robert I'm big fan of your tv show
    Opening up a winery and restaurant can you
    give me any advice thank you much for your time
    Ben Bottino

  10. JAK says:

    Folks, Mary is a bully. Period. Just a nasty, foul mouthed bully. I can't believe how appalled I was watching her behavior toward her son and pretty much everyone. What a miserable woman. Must be hard being that bitter all the time. Wonder if that's why she isn't still a practicing attorney. Who the heck would want to deal with that? She needs to get the hell out of that restaurant. Pronto!

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