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. FNGossip says:

    Buzz and Skip actually appeared on the Food Network before on 24 Hour Restaurant Battle where they pitched their caveman restaurant.

    In other sad Restaurant Impossible news, Eileen from Tootie's BBQ passed away this week.

    More info if you click my name.

    • Lanz says:

      I was somewhat entertained last evening watching the episode on Cave Inn BBQ. Having been intimately involved with this restaurant (I designed the kitchen / bar and provided the equipment) earlier on and up until they opened), I was obviously very interested to hear what Robert had to say. I realize "reality" shows are goosed up to make them supposedly more appealing to the watching public, but I was not surprised to see the defensiveness on the part of Skip. Buzz is a nice guy and I truly wish him success but Skip was/is a mess. It was quite obvious early on that Skip was driving the boat and at the same time, it was quite apparent he had a very limited understanding of how a restaurant actually operates. Sad for Buzz because he relied totally on Skip to make decisions regarding the restaurant, most of which were inaccurate or incomplete. Best thing to come out of the episode was Robert forcing the issue on Skip to "get in or get out" and thankfully, he "got out". Good luck to Buzz – he is a decent guy and a nice man. I was particularly touched by his comments regarding he putting it all in. I hope he makes it!

      • gjsk says:

        There were several ways I wanted to reply regarding the incompetence of the "Kitchen designer”. The best would be; You just need to come visit the “Bar”. I wouldn’t be proud of that design. If you ever worked behind a bar, step behind The Cave Inn’s bar you’ll see what I mean. It will speak volumes. It’s easy to say I’m the bad guy, since I am vocal and not very “political” when dealing with that kind of ineptness. If our “Kitchen Designer” ever listens to any thing I say, he should listen to this. He should NOT put the Cave Inn BBQ on his resume and he REALLY should NOT ask for a reference. If you call the “Nice guy” and ask him about the person who designed our kitchen and bar, you may be surprised at the answer you’ll get. And if you think it will be kind… You seriously need to put down the bottle and sober up. He IS a decent guy, more important, he's honest and trust me when I say, his honesty will not work in the "Kitchen Designers" favor. As I said, if you don't believe me, please feel free to call and ask for a reference.

    • steve says:

      Tried to visit your site but wasn't allowed to read it unless I fill out a survey that has nothing to do with your site. I used to enjoy your site but I guess that's history.

  2. Zegota says:

    Not my cup of tea, the place does not look inviting but like I said it is not my style. Even if the food was the best and so was the price, but anyway I will be watching to see how they make out. Good luck and God Bless.

    • Coolerlady says:

      We ate lunch there Thursday, the brisket I ordered was some of the best I have eaten.
      Our server was very attentive and helpful. Kept our beverages filled. She ask us several times if we needed anything. One of the managers came by and talked to us suggested the peanut butter pie and it was wonderful. We are going back tonight with my brother and we will suggest this place to our friends.

  3. Judd says:

    The food was ok but the service was poor.

  4. Roy says:

    Whats the name of the (dinosaur) egg dish he featured on the show? And is the recipe on

  5. BiggNutt says:

    I ate here Monday for Lunch and this was after the restaurant was reinvented , the bald guy with hair on the sides finally took our order after waiting 10 minutes and only 3 customers were in there at 12:00 pm, Buzz was a great guy but you really have to watch whats going on every minute. I ordered the 1/4 rack of St.Louis ribs for lunch and was served what looked like rib-lets, St. Louis Ribs are the larger type ribs, and a 1/4 Rack should consist of 3-4 nice ribs, my order was pitiful, One rib was literally 3 inches long, the second was 1 1/2 in scrap and the third rib was maybe a 2 inch scrap, it was a Joke, so i complained to the bald guy and he brought me 2 more ribs out the size i should have had to start with and they were ice cold inside from the fridge and probably cooked a couple of days ago, it was sad, Buzz I really hope you make it your a great guy but you need to look at what baldy is bringing out of the kitchen and serving your customers. Also we never got a drink refill, our drink cups sat there until the end empty on the edge of the table without even a ice cube in them and the bald guy with the bozo cut never bothered to refill us even once. And finally after waiting 15 minutes for our check we walked up to the bar to get our checks and pay and the bald guy mixed up our credit cards and charged the wrong checks on each others card, really? Buzz I think you are a great person but I hate to say it, No matter what kind of remodeling you do, you will never make it with this kind of poor service and disappointing food, i'm sorry, wish you the best but I will not be back and nor would i ever recommend your restaurant to anyone. Can I suggest you go to one of your neighboring restaurants in Winter Garden ( 4 Rivers BBQ ) and just watch how you are treated and how the food is the same every day, perfection, take some notes from them.

    • Sum_geye says:

      Seriously BigNutt? I understand your disappointment, but to recommend 4 Rivers? Please, I’ve been there a few times, the food is over smoked, it’s cafeteria style dining, on dirty picnic tables, in a fly infested – out door patio and the sauces are terrible. I was actually so amazed at how bad it was and how well they are praised, I had to go back a second time and sure enough you are absolutely right. They are consistent. The food was OVER smoked the picnic tables were dirty and the flies were prevalent. If you had issues with “Bald Guy” then that’s valid, If you didn’t like the food, well (pun intended) Keep in mind it’s an evolutionary process. Kudos to you for wishing Buzz well, shame on you for doing so with such a two faced review. It’s hard enough to get started (As we saw on the show) If you truly wished him well, you would give it a second chance, have one of the cute waitress’ serve you. Tell the manager or the waitress what happened the last time you were there. I am sure that they would step up and try to make your visit a more pleasant one. I was there twice, Once before and once after, both of my visits were good. Personally I liked the old sauce better than the new, the hen was delicious and I had a cute waitress. I will return and I will recommend it to others. I think it’s nice that you think Buzz is a great person. I never met him, but I will support him. I’m sure he would rather you revisit the Cave Inn for a second chance and walk away happy, than have you tell people he’s a great person.

    • BuzzCaveinnbbq says:

      BiggNutt…Thank you for your feedback, I recall you being a nice person as well. – I will address the rib issue with the kitchen. Our food should ALWAYS be excellent quality – I would like to address a few things with you – if you don't mind…1) we are closed on Monday, your day was mistaken. 2) we spoke – you should have mentioned the rib incident to me, but for some reason, you did not – 3) how my brother looks…has nothing to do with service – if you feel the need to criticize, keep it to the food and service

  6. Jeff says:

    Location, location, location…

  7. Kirby Metoxen says:

    Help! My Brother Kelly & sister in law Maryann have a resturant in my tribes Bingo hall called (Fry Berad Heaven) & they need help but will nerver ask for it. You can reach them by calling 1.800.238.4263.
    The Bingo hall is owned by the Tribe but they lease out the kitchen as an independent consession stand.

  8. MattfromWA says:

    Did anyone notice that Skip without the goatee looks like a smaller version of Robert? This episode had everything: someone trying to verbally joust with Robert, a first for Restaurant: Impossible with expanding on a theme decor instead of redoing it, plenty of emotion and one big laugh to end the show (" We turned this from a yabba dabba don't into one big yabba dabba do!").

  9. Showstoppa99 says:

    This place won't be open much longer.

    • CuriousGeorge says:

      Really? Why?

      • Showstoppa99 says:

        Because this guy is clueless and way in the hole. Revenues being up "10 to 18 percent" won't save him.

        • Coolerlady says:

          Why don't you support him along with some of your friends. I will admit the location
          is not the best in the world but it is not hard to find.

          • Showstoppa99 says:

            Why would I support a restaurant that I have no interest in going to, much less a restaurant that is 1000 miles away from me?

          • CuriousGeorge says:

            So what you're saying, Showstoppa99, is that your opinion is as useful as barbed wire toilet paper. You've never been there, you base it on the merits of a "Reality" TV show and therefore have zero facts.

          • Showstoppa99 says:

            No, moron, my opinion is based on the FACT that this guy has no idea how to run a restaurant, the FACT that this guy is hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt (stated by himself in the episode), and the FACT (stated by him in the follow up) that revenues are up a whopping 10-18%. I guess your math skills are not very solid, because at that slow of a growth, he will not be able to sustain his business. He will never pay off that debt with this failed concept. He is obviously a poor business man since his sales were so bad, yet he was grossly overstaffed and allowed his brother to run his business.

          • CuriousGeorge says:

            Okay dip shit. I know it's cliche to say Rome wasn't built in a day, But I don't think you're pea brain is capable of grasping concepts that haven't been explained to four year olds. The FACT that you base your FACTS on "Reality" TV, shows us that you have no concept of the REAL world. Secondly, you don't know what his bills are or what his debts are and what kind of arrangement he has with his debtors. Unless you've seen his books and are following the restaurants trends, you don't know squat. All you have is your opinion based on a reality TV show. And still basing your facts on reality TV? Really? How much of that show or any reality TV show do you think actually tells the whole truth? You might as well be searching for 7 castaways on a deserted island. You are clearly indicative of the downsizing of education in America.

          • CuriousGeorge says:

            After some thought. I'm sorry I even offer you the time Showstoppa99. You obviously are not fully informed. I, unlike you, have been to this restaurant before the show and after the show. I enjoyed my visits. I have enjoyed the food before and after, and the staff was friendly. Anyone reading this ridiculous thread should VISIT the restaurant BEFORE making judgements. SUPPORT the restaurant because it obviously deserves your support (In spite of what Showstoppa99 has to say) If you choose to put your faith in Restaurant Impossible, than obviously people with more experience in the restaurant business than some guy watching the show from 1000 miles away believe that this restaurant has a shot, no matter what someone like Showstoppa99 has to say. After all they invested $10,000 Plus the cost of production. They wouldn't do that if they didn't believe in the restaurant . So Please, Ignore Showstoppa99 He apparently needs to put others down so he can feel better about himself. The only risk he probably ever took in life was hiding behind the anonymity of the internet and is quite possibly driven mostly by fear and envy because he himself has never done anything in his life. Seriously what is his opinion worth. He's never been there, he's never tasted the food, he doesn't know where it is he doesn't know the area, he doesn't know the people. He knows what he saw on TV… Which essentially amounts to nothing. A 1 hour glimpse. If you're in the Orlando area, try the Cave Inn BBQ. Support family owned business'. The food is good. The service is good. I have no stake in the game except that I side with Robert Irvine and would like to see them succeed. These people obviously deserve it.

          • Showstoppa99 says:

            So you're "sorry you offered me the time" yet you write an essay longer than the Declaration of Independence? Funny you try to draw conclusions about my "risk taking" based on comments on a goddamn internet message board. So this is just a "Reality Show" and I shouldn't believe what they say, yet you go on to say that RI must have "believed" in this place? I thought they were just making a TV show? I guess you don't realize that several restaurants featured on this show have indeed closed down. Please try and come up with some FACTS before you make yourself look stupid. I make a simple comment about my opinion of this guy's business, and you choose to go on multiple rants about me. Shows how pathetic you really are. And moron the plural of business is businesses, not business'. But please keep trying to insult me, you just keep proving my points.

          • Joe Michaels says:

            I believe Curious George is one of the Cave Inn brothers. Too bad his passion in blog writing outmatches his passion for running restaurants.

          • Gwen says:

            Love this comment! Negative people go nowhere. It's the risk takers that are trail blazers. They will succeed and will never fail. There is no failure, just learnings. And to Buzz, a lot of people are rooting for you. Keep aiming for development and pushing yourself to be a better business owner! (y)

          • Showstoppa99 says:

            The place is now closed. Still think I don't know what I'm talking about?

          • Honest_Abe says:


          • Melissa says:

            This is obviously Buzz or Skip. But speaking of age, how old are you guys anyway. Because you act like you're still 10 year old boys caught up playing dinosaurs.
            I'm still shocked at how immature these guys are who want to grow up and play restaurant.

          • gjsk says:

            Nope. This is Skip (ME) LOL I'm just watching this play out like everyone else..

    • Showstoppa99 says:

      -9 for telling the truth. Sorry you people can't deal with it.

  10. geo says:

    being very particular but this theme for the restaurant is grossly inaccurate. Cavemen did not coexist with dinosaurs and the décor may look nice but its not scientifically correct.

    • Bo G says:

      Really? Who knew – You're a genius!

    • VVV says:

      I can get past the cavemen & dinosaur thing, but W T F was up with the Egyptian hieroglyphics?

    • joemichaels says:

      It's a horrible concept. It has a horrible name. The management has no restaurant experience — and virtually no culinary experience. This place violates every tenet of marketing. Seems to me like these brothers were given so much positive reinforcement by their parents, that they grew up thinking they could do anything. Unfortunately, the "investment" will probably ruin a few lives.

      • ALK says:

        Id hate to be you – miserable person you seem to be – your parents must have done the opposite, telling you your such a loser – woof!

        • Joe Michaels says:

          Seems like I hit a nerve. Yep. My parents withheld any positive reinforcement. And they beat us daily. Perhaps that's why I'm successful. And why I wouldn't be stupid enough to launch a business of which I know nothing — and then irrationally fund the hell out of it. (I was right on your parents telling you that you could do *anything*, aren't I?)

          • NOT Joe Michaels says:

            Successful at what Joe? Living in your parents basement and flaming? Truly successful people wouldn't have the time to make irrational judgements on line. They are actually too busy working. I would guess more lives are being ruined by having the misfortunate of being associated with you. I know that my life suffered a little just by reading your ridiculous post. Your comments are useless, empty rhetoric with no constructive criticism. You boast your "Success", I saw your page what a bunch of BS. Someone fed you a bag of hot air and you've been spewing it forth. The only truth you speak is that you "rant and ramble…", two qualities that equal a lot of empty, worthless nothing.

          • Joe Michaels says:

            Well…one of us teaches marketing and international business at a major university to in its MBA program. Guessing that wouldn't be you. Sorry to be so brutally honest with you. But perhaps you could've saved Food Network, Robert Irvine and yourselves lots of time and money if you'd been brutally honest with yourselves about your lack of talent, smarts, passion…

          • Fart City says:

            The sad thing is Joe's original point is correct. His problem is that he comes off as arrogant and wholly unlikeable. And Joe, I don't have to tell you that perception is reality in the marketplace. The good news for you J-Mic is that this is the Internet and none of this matters.

        • ROD MUNCH says:

          hatin' online is the new American sport!!! kuos to Joe for telling it like it is!!!

    • R Barr says:

      Who cares? Nit picking at it's worst.

    • GerryA says:

      I know what you mean……I won't eat anywhere that isn't scientifically or historically correct Yes, that was sarcasm. Jesus Christ it's meant to be fun

    • Guest says:

      Really? Your issue is whether or not there were really cavemen living with dinosaurs! Get a life.

    • Stacy Cruz says:

      What an IDIOT! Its about creating an overall expericence how many movies co-exist have cave man that co-exist with dinosaurs, its make believe you dummy

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