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 (70)

  1. FNGossip says:

    Tipping increased 90%? What were customers tipping before?

    The interior was much improved on this one.

  2. VCO says:

    I just watched this program. I like the softer Robert Irvine that was shown here. I also appreciate seeing the gentler, spiritual side of the Muslim religion after so much misconception of what the reality of being a Muslim is. No, I'm not Muslim.

  3. HGTV Lover says:

    What happened to Takuma?? He was the one who didn't let his balloon go and seemed the most dedicated to the business, especially with the speech he gave about his commitment. I really want to know what happened!!! o.O

  4. Jepchamp says:

    I'm not a big fan of haters and religious hypocrites. You wouldn't know what "most" Muslims want. These people are Americans and aren't hurting anyone. Stop watching Fox "News" and learn what the world is really like.

  5. Jepchamp says:

    Um…yes. What is your question? Much of Africa is Muslim, you know. Or maybe you don't.

  6. Trevor says:

    How cool is it that Robert is a fan of The Stranglers. I caught the "Texture like sun" comment. :) I loved how this place turned out. Settle down you two.

  7. kristen says:

    I think Robert was touched by the purity and gratefulness of the owners and their family.
    I wish Takuma all the best in his new endeavors.

  8. twinkletart says:

    You do understand that you are basing your opinion off extreme or fundamentalist elements of a religion, and that these elements exist in EVERY religion? Christianity's hands are far from clean in this respect. You'd know that if you bothered to read a history book. You know, those big papery things you read in school?

    It's so funny because you hear all the time about people wanting to use the word in the Bible as law but OH NO SHARIA LAW IS TAKING OVER AMERICA OH NO!

    If you're not a 'big fan' of one faith, how exactly are you a fan of another faith, of the same family (Abrahamic Religions, also a thing you learn in school), with striking similarities? You really are the worst type of person. You should go educate yourself on the history of the religions, instead of basking in your ignorance.

  9. Rudy says:

    I'm not a Muslim, but even I know that the Muslim faith is about love and faith in god. The negative comments here are from people who get their "mis" information from other narrow minds similar to their own. ANY religion /faith/belief can and certainly IS twisted to conform to fit a particular viewpoint (E.I. the crusades, the inquisition, etc.)

  10. moonmark says:

    wow. really? really??? did I just read that? these are good, loving people….. I want everything to do with people who belong to their way of thinking. but I want nothing to do with people like your's.

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