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 (77)

  1. RICHARD RICE says:

    I ENJOYED THE CAVE INN BBQ SEGMENT AND HOPE THEY SUCCEED, IT LOOKS LIKE A FUN PLACE TO DINE

  2. Nancy says:

    This restaurant sounds interesting. I'd love to go there but I live near Los Angeles. Florida gets all the good stuff. . . Busch Brewery in Van Nuys, California (in the San Fernando Valley) opened a fabulous brewery tour including beer gardens, bird shows and all many years ago. It was lovely.. Then, one day all the entertainment, tours,et cetera was shipped to Florida. Oh well, hope you enjoy it all.

  3. Erica Sickles Barbee says:

    I have watched every episode and also read every blog update and I have to say this is the first time I have seen the owner actively reading the posts and positively responding (not just being defensive). This is a sure sign that Buzz is dedicated, passionate and in the end will be successful. I wish you luck!

  4. Florida vacation says:

    Went to the cave inn and we waited forever for our food. The owner is just riding the wave from this show. The food was just average and it was nothing to write home about. Next year at this time he will be out of business. It is a real shame as I hoped he would do well.

    • Buzz says:

      I'm always astounded that people complain when waiting for food. We cook the food to order so it takes time. Most of the tickets are delivered within 15 – 30 minutes. If that's too long, then go to McDonalds – we are a sit down restauarant that cooks food when you order it. You should come to a restaurant to sit and relax – not rush the experience. Enjoy your self for gosh sake!!! Just curious, have you EVER actually written home about a restaurant? Just kidding – lighten up. and If I do go out of business, well, that will be one less place for you to complain about. thanks for your encouraging words of support.

      • Joe Michaels says:

        I don't mind waiting for food. But, everyone has a limit. As to waiting at HOME for a meal, that's not even a fair comparison. (Perhaps that's why we go *out* for dinner!) But this is the thinking that got your restaurant into trouble — and onto Restaurant Impossible. Lastly, if you want encouraging words of support, look up a therapist.

        • Honest_Abe says:

          Really Joe? Are you just here because you like to see your name on the internet? Wouldn't we all be better off if you just sent yourself email?. I don't mind waiting a little longer for my food, I know it's been prepared fresh for me and not the day before. Don't listen to this guy, Buzz. He probably wasn't loved as a child and never did anything for himself so he has to put other people down just to feel better about himself. I think it's brave to admit you needed help and then asked for it. I hope you do well and are open for a long time.

  5. Kentucky Wildcats says:

    I did not know there was so much crying in the restaurant business. :P

  6. naomi says:

    My brother and I ate there it was good! It was different then the average BBQ place. I like different and they had the duelling piano guys,(it was fun!) Our waitress was very attentive and friendly! Appetizers the string fries and asian chicken lettuce wraps – Ihad the 2 lobsters tails w broccili rabe and he had pull pork sandwich w cole slaw or broccli rabe.
    Choices of BBQ sauces was good& tasty- made there (homemade) I give it a low B with room for improvement! Keep your vision guys dn't give up and always look for improvement ! We'll be bck! Good Luck! Yabba dabba DO!

  7. jen says:

    My family went to the cave in.. I liked my ckn sandwich, my boyfriend got the Turkey leg it was dry they made him another one which was a little better. . Our boy had Mac and cheese which was the only thing he would eat they have on the menu for kids they need to add a few more items on there for kids like2 ckn stripsand Mac and cheese… or grill cheese and french fries and fruits as a side for all kids meals… then then the question is will we be back probley not… menu is to small but I liked the sweet potatoes fries…

  8. J.J. says:

    I agree with Jeff. The location is not ideal. I live a few blocks away and drive by this location a couple of times a day and never knew it was there until the show aired. It is off the main road behind a Walgreens and difficult to see.

    I have eaten there twice in the past couple of weeks, once had good, attentive service and once was so slow. The food is average and we didn't have any issues with it.
    I have not been there while the live entertainment is performing. It is a small place and I fear the music might be overwhelming making it impossible to talk with your table mates but that is pretty standard for such places.
    In an area with an almost unlimited selection of places to eat, the Cave Inn doesn't stand out. They might be doing fine but finding a way to stand out and finding a way to let the thousands of drivers passing daily know it is there might improve things greatly.

  9. Lee Price says:

    I saw the show where you redecorate the cave inn. I would really like to know where you got the rock wall covering. I saw them installing it and it looked easy. This stuff would make a great man cave so I've spent a few hours on the internet and can't find it. I would really appreciate a lead on where I can get more info on the stuff…………… thanks a lot Lee Price

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