Restaurant Revisited: NY State of Mind at Mama Della’s N.Y. City Pizzeria

by in Shows, March 26th, 2014

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleChange — or a lack thereof — was at the foundation of Robert Irvine‘s mission at Mama Della’s N.Y. City Pizzeria in Baton Rouge, La., a Big Apple-style parlor specializing in family recipes. While Robert indeed identified several issues with the menu at Mama Della’s and noted that its interior decor was “very nondescript,” perhaps the most-critical problem plaguing the business was owner Barry Kalt, who Robert deemed “one of the most-cantankerous owners I have ever come across.” Given his long-standing beliefs in how true dishes and ingredients should be prepared and served, Barry was hesitant to make any meaningful updates to his business practices, which ultimately resulted in his son Andrew, a former cook at Mama Della’s, leaving the restaurant. It took a serious lesson from Robert for Barry to fully realize the error of his ways, and he soon committed to improvements in the future. After two days of renovations on a $10,000 budget, the Restaurant: Impossible team reopened Mama Della’s, and FN Dish has the exclusive update from Barry on how his business is faring today.

“Mama Della’s saw a significant increase in customer traffic for the one-month period after the shoot,” Barry said. “Sales have increased by 30 percent over the same period in 2013.”

The menu at Mama Della’s is a mix of the restaurant’s original offerings, plus those that Robert instituted, according to Barry. “The menu changes set in place by Chef Irvine remain exactly as they were when he was in the restaurant,” he explained. “Nothing new has actually been added to the menu. We have been preparing certain specialty pizzas and sandwiches that were on the previous menu. These are being requested by customers who have been with us for a long time.” Barry noted that since the transformation, “certain menu items are reaching the guests in a more punctilious manner than was the case previously.”

Barry said that the new interior “is spectacular,” although he admitted, “[It] does not represent the look of a New York City pizzeria. My decor did represent it very well.” He added that diners have been pleased with the design updates and that “the decor has almost eliminated comments about price points that are too high.”

As for Andrew, he is not working at Mama Della’s today.

More from Restaurant Revisited:

Pasión Latin Fusion (March 19)
Tootie’s Texas BBQ (March 12)
Mill Creek BBQ Restaurant (March 5)
Estrada’s Restaurant (February 5)
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)

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Comments (140)

  1. FNGossip says:

    But the main thing.. has Barry's attitude changed? It doesn't seem so based on the reviews.

  2. This place is still trash. Less trash, but still trash. Dumpster.

  3. Why is Andrew not working at the restaurant after the amazing transformation? I wonder. Design choices were great. I wonder if Barry will stick with Robert's teachings.

    • kay says:

      that makes me so sad–that old man Barry thinks it's better to be right—rather then succeed and have a son he can call his friend—he's not right and he's going to die a lonely old man. Maybe that makes him happy????

  4. guest says:

    His son does not work there anymore. So, you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

    • EMPLOYEE says:

      Okay… First and foremost ANDREW DOES NOT LIVE IN BATON ROUGE!!!! HE LIVES 4 1/2 HOURS AWAY IN THE CITY OF MONROE! He has a family! He has 3 SMALL children that depend on him as well as his wife. You CAN NOT expect a man to commute 4 1/2 hours BOTH directions DAILY for work. If it was an hour or less then I could understand BUT IT IS NOT!!! That is the reason Andrew does not work there!!!! Please people get a grip and GROW A SKIN!!!! There is nothing wrong with MY BOSS otherwise I WOULD NOT WORK THERE!!!!!

      • Karen says:

        Apparently you have the same temper. Birds of a feather.

      • Josiah says:

        im glad to hear that it was not due to personal drama. Kinda irritating that people just assume the worst. Change is not easy and that goes double for people that have been set in their ways for as long as Barry was. A lot of respect for the man for doing it and it sounded like he did make a lot of progress in the short time this episode was filming. I have family in baton rouge that will be taking me to this restaurant next time i visit and i cant wait.

  5. Marcy says:

    I think the poor man is depressed and needs possible medication and therapy. It is a shame his son Andrew is not working at the restaurant.

    • Tim says:

      I thought the same thing

    • Charli says:

      I don't blame the son for not working there. When the restaurant opened, the father was grouchy, stubborn, and unwilling to listen to anything his son had to offer. That hasn't changed. He may be depressed, but the attitude and communication problem has existed from day one.

    • soke says:

      I agree on this. My 83 old mom is in the same condition and gets no joy out of life. BUT. She won't listen to anyone. Barry should just get out of the business and let someone else do it.

    • Robert says:

      Marcy – I agree that this is real shameful, especially because I thought after watching the show that Barry and Andrew were reconciled and finally were able to work together. Guess I must've not seen the "fine print" at the end. I will simply add his restaurant to my list of "do not patronize at any cost" places, knowing that it may be motherly in name but in reality a soap opera worthy of an R rating!

  6. DeathBySushi says:

    I would like to believe that Barry has changed, but you don't change your personality overnight. For the sake of his future business, I hope he works hard at being nicer to customers.

  7. Rick Smith says:

    I went into the restaurant today. Barry acted like he did not know that his episode was going to show. If he was a good business man, he would have had the restaurant packed to enjoy the episode and the changes at the restaurant . a little advise Barry. Watch Gran Torino. You are the Clint Eastwood in this show. God bless you and good luck.

  8. TaxFish says:

    Barry really needs to turn the reigns over to Andrew completely. Let Andrew be head cook and run the show. Barry don't need the stress…he can sit back and take it easy…maybe help his son with a few sauces and prep work and cleaning while his son makes it happen. Andrew looks like a great chef and I am sure Barry is too…but he's put in his time and I think he needs to start slowing down and hand the business to Andrew.

  9. Dano says:

    Great show like always. From the reviews sounds like son is gone, sometime there is deeper problems than we can see in these family's . Nice job all around.Next year when wife retires we will check a lot of these places out. We have to eat as we travel anyways……

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