Restaurant Revisited: Living in the Dark Ages at Cave Inn BBQ

by in Shows, May 21st, 2014

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleJust when fans likely thought that Robert Irvine had seen it all after nearly eight seasons of Restaurant: Impossible, this week he opened the doors to a themed restaurant for the first time. Cave Inn BBQ, located in Winter Garden, Fla., offered a prehistoric ambiance, complete with pictures of dinosaurs and fake rocks in the dining room and a menu of hearty, meaty plates. While Robert was taken aback by Cave Inn’s display, he couldn’t convince owner Buzz Klavans to abandon his business’ theme, and ultimately Robert and the Restaurant: Impossible crew continued the theme during the transformation. After just two days and with a $10,000 budget, the Stone Age-inspired restaurant reopened, reinvigorated with a second chance at success. Read on below to hear from Buzz to find out how this business is doing today.

“Revenue has risen about 10 to 18 percent,” Buzz says. “I’m doing my best to follow all of Robert’s advice — some things are easier said than done, especially regarding [the] back of house — but we’re trying.”

While nearly all of Robert’s menu remains in place, Buzz has added several of Cave Inn’s original items to its list of offerings. “We do get quite a few requests for a few of the original items, one being our two-pound beef rib; we did put that back on the menu, plus a couple of the original sauces.”

Buzz admits that Rich, who’s part of the kitchen staff, now has “a lot more freedom,” and he notes that Skip, now living in Los Angeles, “has very little, if [any], input in the restaurant.”

Looking back on his Restaurant: Impossible experience, Buzz explains, “One thing I’ve learned: Butchering our own meat instead of getting it pre-packed leaves us with trimmings, which I now turn into ‘Specials of the Week’ — appetizers — which is like making my own money.”

More from Restaurant Revisited:

Bumbinos Italian Ristorante (April 30)
Bryant’s Seafood World (April 23)
Urban Roots (April 9)
gratifi kitchen + bar (April 2)
Mama Della’s N.Y. City Pizzeria (March 26)
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)

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Comments (111)

  1. Barb says:

    It's too bad that even after help from RI this place could not survive. I went once after the episode aired. I thought they were super smart to host Trivia nights once a week and it really did bring a lot of people in. The bar was even full when we left. I feel like they had a few amazing dishes, but most of the food was average. Location didn't help them at all.. If you want to check them out, they are advertising lots of food and drink specials for their closing weekend!

  2. Honest_Abe says:

    Buzz, Skip and the crew of CAVE INN BBQ, I am truly sorry to see you closed. I read all the post and you obviously inspired a lot of people. It takes a lot of courage to do what you did. There are people here who posted negative comments who apparently never visited your restaurant. Those people, I believe, Just want to see their name on the internet. Their comments should hold no worth to what you did. Your passion was heartfelt and I hope you continue and succeed

  3. kingjames says:

    I'm looking forward to coming to your restaurant buzz, I live in Alabama ,I saw the show, I believe you can make it happen. Began to pay your tithes on your increase, therefore you will live on the overflow that come in. God bless you.

  4. ROD MUNCH says:

    bad idea….. piggybacking on TWO franchises with a generic theme sounds good in theory, but when you compete against the REAL thing, recipe for disaster.

    competing with Disney in locatiion and ripping off The Flintstones without actually showing any of their source material? just sets you up for failure.

    as it did, apparently…..

  5. Just saw this episode tonight. MY and my daughter's kind of restaurant Buzz! I do hands on science events with kids and teens. My biggest events are on the Apollo 11 program and Dinosaur Bones Beds! I make bones beds the size of soda/beer trays that kids can dig thru to kind all sorts of dino bones, figures, rocks, crystals and such. Would be great to do that with a meal after at a place like yours! Too bad I'm not down there, I could hold events there and we'd both benefit! If you ever want to put a 'caveman kiosk' up to entertain the kids, feel free to use my webpage (-:
    It has an amazing number of dinosaur and space videos to keep them entertained!

    I know about failing businesses. Mine has been tailspinning too. (my main business is fixing and setting up computers and home theater systems, the kids events are a sidelight) I wish Robert fixed OTHER types of businesses. I'm going down hard since my dad died.

    But hang in there! I always told my daughter, make lemonade out of lemons! Good luck! I want one of those Dino Eggs!

  6. joemichaels says:

    Just watched this episode again. I feel bad for Buzz. Am truly sorry the restaurant didn't succeed. But after seeing MANY RI episodes, it should be apparent to anyone thinking of entering the food industry: Inexperience is a recipe for disaster. No matter how great an idea one thinks he/she has. Truly wish it turned out different for him.

  7. Barb says:

    Yeah. I know the show is re-airing this week, but the restaurant closed at the beginning of October. FYI

  8. Bob C. says:

    Restaurant Impossible ruined the "Cave Inn". We live nearby and ate there several times before the redo by Restaurant Impossible. It was great! We loved the BBQ especially the ribs and BBQ sauces. After the redo all the things we loved were gone. The new ribs were puny and tiny. The best BBQ sauces were gone. The onion rings were gone. The imaginative desserts were gone. I'm not sure even the original version of "Cave Inn" would have survived but we liked it way more before Restaurant Impossible performed their "magic".

  9. burnieevans says:

    Today we, table for 4, visited the Padre Rita in South Padri Island. All 3 times we have frequented there, no one has greeted us at the door. Today at least 3 couples walked out after waiting 15 min. for a waiter to come to their table. We didn't have to wait long for a waiter, but we waited 1 whole hour for our food. The server apologized and said the chef didn't show up today.Do they not have a back up plan if they are short of help? Once I took 16 people there for my birthday lunch. I really want this place to make it because the food is quite good. Also, do they not care about the outside? The flower boxes had dead flowers in them and they still had their Christmas decorations up. Burnie Evan South Padri Island, Texas

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