Restaurant Revisited: Culture Clash at Marie’s at Ummat Cafe

by in Shows, July 30th, 2014

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: Impossible“This is tasteless,” Robert Irvine said of the tableful of dishes he sampled at Marie’s at Ummat Cafe in Atlanta. It turns out that the restaurant’s bland food was just one in a series of problems he and his Restaurant: Impossible team discovered on their latest mission. The uninspired decor was appalling to Robert and guests alike, and the staff struggled to work well with owner Jaliwa Owuo. With only two days to work and a budget of just $10,000, Robert overhauled the menu at Marie’s and reopened the eatery with a design that would be welcoming for all. Read on below to hear from Jaliwa and find out how her restaurant is doing today.

“We have seen a 30 to 40 percent increase in revenue” since filming ended, Jaliwa explains, noting that “the tipping has increased by 90 percent.”

Jaliwa says that she “learned an awful lot from Chef Robert” and has taken the time since the transformation to start “adding new dishes, releasing old ones and pricing according to his formula.” She notes that she’s no longer micromanaging her back-of-the-house employees, and she explains, “I have allowed my kitchen staff to do what they can do.”

There have been some changes in staff at Marie’s, and several of Jaliwa’s children are no longer working at the restaurant. “Takuma did not stay. He is doing his own thing. … Majidah is back in Ohio. Ndola and Asha only come for lunch from time to time, and I am fine with that,” says Jaliwa. She adds, “My relationship with my children is great.”

The greater Atlanta community is “trickling in” to Marie’s, but Jaliwa adds, “We are working on a guerilla campaign to introduce the restaurant to the community.”

In terms of Jaliwa’s newfound outlook, she explains, “My spirit is up; I am appreciating my quality of life again.” She adds that she now “love[s] entering the restaurant” and explains, “I am thankful to Chef Robert and his support team for all they did.”

More from Restaurant Revisited:

The Fork Diner (July 23)
Portu-Greek Cafe (June 11)
Grace’s Place Bagels and Deli (June 4)
Bama Q (May 28)
Cave Inn BBQ (May 21)
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)

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Comments (60)

  1. Melissa says:

    I'm just a little old country girl from Arkansas but I would be happy to come to their restaurant. It's all about love, respect, and having an open mind. If they want me to come try their vittles, I would be honored to drive there and check it out.
    Thank you for being a positive image to America. We need it!!! Ignore the haters. It's not always about the money.

  2. WillieBobbieSharper says:

    It was so refreshing to witness a mother's love and children's tough love for their Mom….Let's not forget about Hubby, trying to show support….this broadcast also shows the dynamic it takes for relatives to work together… This altitude, "you are in this thing together," makes all the difference in the world…. I love when the Wife reflected Family keep the Godly Spirit and that each and every one of you grow into your calling …. God Continue to Bless Your family because its the only one you have…

    Willie "Computerman" Sharper

  3. Willie Computerman says:

    Thanks Robert for showing respect to their culture and to the people you work with

  4. Keith in CA says:

    One of my least favorite shows. Also, location, location, location…. the shopping/business center alone would drive people away, and then have it located right next to a religious institution will just push even more people away or as they said in the show, "People think we are the cafeteria to the mosque."

  5. Hannah Smith says:

    Nice to see tolerance is alive and well in our country…not! What's the big deal about this episode? They're Muslim, so what?

  6. woow i love it Great information and best article

  7. Just Jack says:

    Working in a family business I know how hard it is. Started as a child at age 10 continued on as an adult with a full time job. At the age of 45 I knew in my heart that it was best for me and my relationship with my parents it was best just to help when needed, but now can say I no to a job. When I see episodes like this it really makes me feel better. My parents are awesome adopted six of my brothers and sister and with some and their disabilities wanted to teach them a trade. They have great visions and love them. Venders Rock!

  8. Nick says:

    Had a hard time trying to capture their words by the amount of mustache and beard issue those females seem to suffer, really disgusting.

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