Restaurant Revisited: Mumbo Jumbo at Estrada’s Restaurant

by in Shows, February 5th, 2014

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleWhen Robert Irvine arrived at Estrada’s Restaurant in Daly City, Calif., it wasn’t enough for his Restaurant: Impossible team that the owners, Bernadette Aggen and Julio Mercedes, were facing more than $400,000 of debt; they seemed downright disinterested in their 96-year-old restaurant, which they purchased nearly six years ago. After surveying the interior of Estrada’s, however, and tasting its food, Robert learned that the Mexican eatery’s problems went beyond its management. With just two days and $10,000 to work, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team successfully overhauled the menu and updated the design at Estrada’s, all while reinvigorating Bernadette and Julio. Read on below to hear from the owners in their first exclusive interview since the transformation, and find out how their restaurant is doing today.

Sales at Estrada’s have increased nearly 30 percent, according to Bernadette and Julio, who add that their business is now profitable and that they’ve begun to decrease their debt.

In terms of customer reaction to the updated restaurant, Bernadette and Julio say they’ve received “great feedback” about the design, and diners note that the food is “more bright, clean, new [and] modern,” according to the owners. They add that “coconut shrimp posole [and] mole enchiladas” are among the top items on the menu at Estrada’s, which has improved its efficiency in sending food out of the kitchen.

Bernadette and Julio say they’re improving in their partnered appearance to their employees and note that their staff is a “work in progress,” though responding “great” to the updates at Estrada’s. Bernadette admits that she’s spending “more time on [the] floor … [to] ensure great service” and “leading by example” to her employees, while Julio has a greater hand in the food costs of the restaurant.

Both owners say they’re “excited about the future” and that their relationship is “more united” than it was before Robert arrived.

More from Restaurant Revisited:

Hillbillies Restaurant (January 29)
Spunky Monkey Bar and Grill (January 15)
Heather’s Country Kitchen (January 1)
Goombazz Big City Eatzz (December 18)
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)


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Comments (50)

  1. Susan K says:

    Stumbled on this episode.. and I cried watching it! The couple are so genuine and sweet !! Great Show! Wonderfully Surprised by the design and Robert Irvine.

  2. russ says:

    After the show airs then show the recipes for that show- I want the corn recipe

  3. Peter Griffen says:

    The couple are unrealistic, its all for tv… i went to visit them and got a chance to talk to them. Bernadette is a drunk owner and Julio is laid back. The staff is completely new… and i kind of miss that jolly looking guy who look like Peter Griffen. it was not his fault that the food took 1 hr and 19 minutes. blame it on the kitchen because.. they are always empty…but now they have customers, they cant even keep up with service. Every time i drive by, i don't stop cause there a better Mexican restaurant on top of the hill on your right side. Do not hate on this comment, i am just speaking the truth!!

    • jay says:

      Speaking the truth or work for the restaurant on top of the hill? Just wondering

    • Robert says:

      Karma, you get what you give. You are a miserable jerk Peter!
      You would not know the truth if it slapped you in the face and it should!
      I have been going there for 20 years and you could not be more wrong!
      They are an amazing couple and if you were a decent man you would wish them well like the rest of us.
      Shame on you!
      By the way how long have you been working down the street?

  4. Twilynn says:

    Wishing Bernie and Julio the best :) It takes a lot of courage to go on TV and expose yourself like this. I hope their business continues to flourish. I hope to visit the restaurant in the near future… I want to taste the corn and flank steak :)

  5. MattfromWA says:

    A better update than the one for Hillbilly's. Thirty percent increase is pretty high. Good for everyone involved.

  6. Richard says:

    We had to visit the Estrada's after viewing the show. Back in the 60's and 70's we ate their many times
    and really liked the food. So we looked forward to the revisit. What a disaster. Arrived about 7pm on a Wednesday the place was about 1/4 full. Stood waiting to be seated for several minutes as no hostess or even waiters on the floor. Finally I had to walk toward the kitchen where the help were congregated and were told to sit any where. Long time wait for service then a longer time wait for our bar drink. Then loud hispanic music from the bar plus loud music from the TV. What a mixture. I hope they make it but they have a lot of work to do

  7. Fargo Williams says:

    I'm done tith food channel. Tonights episode which is advertised as new, Coach Lamp Restaurant and Pub is an old show. DISH Network.

    You idiots at food channel keep giving me old shit and I ain't buying. At least if you're gonna give me re runs, give me some I haven't seen.

    Ya lost me, I'd rather see DIY channel.

  8. mistykiefer says:

    No more restaurant impossible, the constant red notes are just irritating.

  9. lynda says:

    Been going to Estradas for over 40 years and must comment. Went a few months prior to the show and was terribly disappointed. 4:30 and we ordered the sizzling salad as we always do, only to be told that they had no lettuce. After several minutes of begging, someone did go and buy it at the grocery a few blocks away. Crazy, considering it is one of their specialties. Went back after the show filmed, before it aired, and was surprised that Martin was the only one working. 5:00 and he was alone on the floor, making and serving drinks, taking orders, serving, clearing tables-a one man team. He is excellent, but how much can one person do and still be effective delivering with a smile. He is an asset, for sure. Give him some help.

  10. Peter Morgan says:

    Why is Robert Irvine actually on the show? He lied about running restaurants, about his education, about a Knighthood, and about his experience. Is this a good example of how someone should get ahead in life? Lie about your background to gain opportunity…that's the lesson Marc Summers is teaching people.

    • Christine Arsenis says:

      Your comments are untrue!! I have personally worked with Robert in Atlantic City, New Jersey. To make your accusations you need facts!! So Peter, back up your facts the next time you have the urge to post about someone's career or resume!

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