Restaurant Revisited: Fork in the Road at The Fork Diner

by in Shows, July 23rd, 2014

Restaurant: ImpossibleEven from Robert Irvine‘s first steps inside The Fork Diner in Calhoun, Ga., it was clear that this mission was going to be like none other. Although Robert usually meets with owners before trying an eatery’s food, this time he sat down and immediately ordered from the menu, only talking to partners Gray Bridges and Michael and Diana Forster afterward. Michael revealed that The Fork Diner was losing nearly $12,000 every month, and soon Robert posed an important question to Gray, who’s been the lead funder of the restaurant: Would she continue working at the restaurant or walk away and turn over the business to the husband-and-wife team of Michael and Diana? Gray ultimately revealed that she’d be leaving once filming ended, explaining, “There’s things more important than money and more important than my passion for that restaurant.” Nevertheless, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team continued with their overhaul of The Fork’s disappointing menu and lackluster decor, and they reopened the restaurant to a packed house. Read on below to hear from Diana a few weeks after her business relaunched to learn about Gray’s involvement since taping and how the restaurant is faring today.

“Gray has finally decided to leave and turn things over to us after months of seesawing,” Diana notes. There have been a few other changes in staff, she notes, including a few servers who are no longer working at The Fork. “I did not know how bad they were till they were gone and I got customer feedback. When I was around they were pretty good.”

In terms of the menu at the restaurant, Diana explains that it’s now a mix of Robert’s list of offerings plus some of their original dishes. “People are happier with the additions,” she says, adding, “Shrimp and grits [are the] absolute favorite. Burger and pot roast come next.”

More from Restaurant Revisited:

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 (66)

  1. So Done says:

    Diana was not management material, period. Waitresses were never given a schedule until Sunday,with week starting the next day. Once they began closing on Sunday (a big mistake since that attracted the most business), staff had to call, trying to reach her before the next day to find out if they worked.When a request was made, it was as often as not forgotten.Various excuses were given for paychecks , including "new bank" and "they came, but were wrong".The staff was paid back wages about a week after the show aired, to those who remained.However, a new" 3 month without pay" started and the one waitress who did not quit or get fired waited until July 8th for the next check.She was required by new owner to reapply (which she did) and was rewarded for her patience by being kept off the schedule without explanation other than "I do what I am told" for almost the entire month of July. When this server persisted in requesting an explanation ,she was called on a Saturday morning for a shift starting in slightly over an hour! Big surprise that she was unable to come in with such little notice. Perhaps the new GM feels that she ought to have made no plans other than to sit in the parking lot, hoping to be asked to work!
    Prior to the show airing we were frequent customers of this restaurant,desiring to help out this local business.We have been in once since the show aired and the food was decent but over priced. The waitress was overly solicitous to the point that holding an conversation with my spouse was difficult ,due to frequent interruptions. The decor was okay but I liked the collection of local art that was displayed previously.
    One of the draws of The Fork had been the fact that the owners were local people and that this was a local business rather than another of the many chains littering Calhoun's main roads.The new GM seems to expect Robert Irvine to return again and I hope he does! I think he will be surprised to see that The Fork has now become the We Love Robert Irvine and He Loves Us Fork. The local art is dwarfed by tee shirts and a shrine to Mr. Irvine taking up a whole wall. Tacky, expensive and to be avoided at all cost, in my opinion.

  2. Richard says:

    Put a fork in The Fork. We ate there this past weekend – a few days after the show aired. We ate there last year and had an enjoyable experience and good food…but not this time around!!

    The service was SLOW and unorganized. The food portions were small and overpriced. I had the pot roast…which was OK at best….it was basically a huge pile of mash potatoes with a few oz of pot roast on top….not a lot of value for the money. Another guy at my table ordered pot roast and was served 45 minutes before I was!!! The new decor is nice, but this was never an issue. I won't go back.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Well, it sounds like they are about done. I have never eaten in the restaurant and don't plan to. They catered the CHS debate banquet shortly after the show was filmed, and the food was horrible.

  4. Emma kossman says:

    Just hire a cook that knows how to cook that's it…

  5. jack davis says:

    OK, I'm confused – who owns it now? It seems that Gray still owns part but Michael and Diana are out of the picture and a new owner Chef Rena is in? Does anyone know?

  6. So Done says:

    Diana was not management material, period. Waitresses were never given a schedule until Sunday,with week starting the next day. Once they began closing on Sunday (a big mistake since that attracted the most business), staff had to call, trying to reach her before the next day to find out if they worked.When a request was made, it was as often as not forgotten.Various excuses were given for paychecks , including "new bank" and "they came, but were wrong".The staff was paid back wages about a week after the show aired, to those who remained.However, a new" 3 month without pay" started and the one waitress who did not quit or get fired waited until July 8th for the next check.She was required by new owner to reapply (which she did) and was rewarded for her patience by being kept off the schedule without explanation other than "I do what I am told" for almost the entire month of July. When this server persisted in requesting an explanation ,she was called on a Saturday morning for a shift starting in slightly over an hour! Big surprise that she was unable to come in with such little notice. Perhaps the new GM feels that she ought to have made no plans other than to sit in the parking lot, hoping to be asked to work!

  7. Maddog 20/20 says:

    I have never seen any positive comments on the food being better on any of the after the fix of the RI episodes. What the the hay?

  8. Gary says:

    Michael & Diana should be the ones walking away. Gray should be given the new opportunity to get her $$$ back.

  9. foodcritic101 says:

    Really? They kept using the same craptastic recipes that they were using? That doesn't make sense.

    So what is really happening? Did they move? Sell? And while I feel badly for Gray, what was she thinking?? Going into business with these people who knew nothing about the restaurant business was a fool's errand.

    One last thing! If you want good employees who are loyal to you, the first important thing to do is PAY THEM!

  10. Fattorso says:

    I don't feel sorry for any of them they got there 15 minutes Gray is always the victim Diana looks like a drunk Valerie Bertinelli who's gained 100 lbs and that Stupid looking husband of her's .Don't leave your wallet on the table when you go to the restroom at THE FORK DINER.

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