Restaurant Revisited: No Laughing Matter at Uncle Andy’s Diner

by in Shows, August 27th, 2014

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleWhile Robert Irvine is no stranger to unusual and unfortunate scenes after years of Restaurant: Impossible missions, nothing could have prepared him for what he saw when he pulled up to Portland, Maine’s Uncle Andy’s Diner: owner Dennis Fogg dressed in an ape costume with a poster advertising his business. “He’s just trying to get people’s attention,” Tina Fogg, Dennis’ wife and the co-owner, explained to Robert. When Dennis isn’t turning heads at the restaurant, he’s performing as a standup comedian, but as Robert explains of Uncle Andy’s, “I can see that Dennis likes to joke around, but what I see in front of me is no laughing matter.” He had only two days to work and a $10,000 budget to overhaul the interior at the family-run restaurant, rework the eatery’s menu and improve Dennis’ professional demeanor while working. Read on below to hear from Dennis and find out how his business was faring a few months after Robert’s intervention.

“They are, right off the hook, four to five times better than before Restaurant: Impossible,” Dennis says of the financials at Uncle Andy’s. He adds that in order to accommodate larger parties, “We installed booths to increase seating by 15.”

As for his children, Dennis explains, “Andrea is almost finished with her school and will be taking a more active role later,” and Jason “has become a leader in the kitchen.”

Thinking back on what he’s learned throughout this experience, Dennis admits, “My family is stronger than I thought.”

More from Restaurant Revisited:

Country Cow Restaurant and Bar (August 20)
Pomona Golf and Country Club (August 13)
Paul’s Bar & Bowling (August 6)
Marie’s at Ummat Cafe (July 30)
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)

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Comments (57)

  1. FNGossip says:

    I wonder if the lobster is on the menu and how it is selling. I couldn't find a menu anywhere

  2. David says:

    Andrea should consider SMCC which is about 3 miles from UNCLE ANDY'S and take the culinary arts course.

    • dornoch says:

      You're so right about SMCC ( Southern Maine Community College).They have a well-respected Culinary School, and their graduates do well in many different settings. Rock on, Andrea.

  3. AlistZ says:

    If only there was a show….Comedian Impossible….

  4. guest says:

    I thought Dennis daughter was supposed to run the place right away what happened to that? She was willing to go to school later and start running the place immediately….? Curious

  5. Marilyn says:

    I do hope that Andrea does manage to run the restaurant, because she seems to really want to be there, unlike her parents.

    And if I never see that putrid color of green on any wall again, it will be too soon.

  6. TLC says:

    The eye sore box fan is back on the half door, and the sign Custmers Wanted apply within was in the window. My Rueben sandwich was 90% cabbage. Eggs tasted like they came from a carton.

  7. Epic Fail says:

    Deserved or not, another example of Irvine's snobbish diner bashing. The owner may have been completely clueless, but what he said about Irvine needing to educate himself on a breakfast place instead of high scale place was spot on. Right or wrong, I enjoyed seeing someone finally stand up to him, not that any of what he said sunk in.

    There's a local breakfast/lunch diner here that has everything Irvine detests, paneling, old booths and seats and decor right out of the 60's, everything done out in the open (Waffle House, if he's ever been in one, must make him apoplectic) and good 'ol diner food, no uppity snob food. It's packed full the entire 9 hours a day, 6 days a week it's open and I'd rather eat there than any restaurant Irvine still has open.

    Suggesting lobster in a diner. SMH. I can't watch anymore.

    • twin1 says:

      Any restaurant or diner I've visited in Maine has lobster rolls, you nitwit. It is one of the most popular items, if it's done well. Robert's version looks wonderful!

    • Foodman says:

      Epic Fail, You're a idiot. It's really easy, DON't WATCH the show. Go back to watching something more to your intelligence like Honey Boo-Boo

    • bosfaninva says:

      You seem like a jerk but you are correct that not every diner needs to serve lobster. BUT, they do need to serve decent burgers, cheesesteaks, etc. What this place was putting out was utter slop.

      In other words, in this case Robert did not have to change the menu at all, just get them to use better ingredients.

      A good lobster roll won't hurt, of course. It can get you into those "17 best lobster rolls in Portland" sort of articles that might attract foodie tourists.

    • Bla Bla Bla Epic says:

      Epic Fail needs a colon cleansing

    • partiallycooperativeandslightlyirritable says:

      Anybody who serves eggs out of a bag has no business telling Robert Irvine – or anyone – to educate himself about the breakfast menu.

      • Former Waiter says:

        Yes, the way Dennis did his comedy/magic routine — while Rome was burning with his kitchen swamped with orders and his customers waiting an hour for food — really showed how he has no basis to tell anyone they need to educate themselves about serving breakfast.

    • shy_fly says:

      I can't believe you're saying Robert needs to educate himself…the man has only been cooking his entire life and cooked all over the world! Robert knows what he's talking about…maybe the owner it's the only one that's clueless!

  8. Epic Fail says:

    Subway tiles? I did my bathroom in subway tiles. Sheese.

    • barbara blackburn says:

      I didn't know they were restricted for " bathroom use only" because I have see the subway tiles used in different ways throughout many homes in my 53 years of living. Personally, I thought it a good idea, easy to clean and better then what was there before the makeover. I men years ago spittoons were used just for spitting in, today they are used more for a decoration { some stuffed full of flowers} to each there own..

      • Julie Butler says:

        Barbara, I like the subway tiles too, I just thought they were going to tile more surfaces with them and not use them as artwork in a frame

    • You must be a california failure, troll.

  9. BlueDesert says:

    I read an article recently that said there is a glut on lobster. There is so much available that it's cheaper than ground beef,at the wholesale level. Yet restaurants are still charging top dollar for it. Because they can. Basically Chef Irvine has the same menu in every one of his remodels. The restaurants quickly revert to what the customers wanted BEFORE Robert visits. The new season has changed the angle this year. Now's it's into a "should I stay or should I go?" story-line every week. Guess they think we,the viewers, aren't too smart and will only go for the same old stuff..

  10. South Portlander says:

    This diner is in SOUTH Portland, not Portland, ME as this intro write up describes. They are separate towns/cities. And the name is UNCLE Andy's –So my thought on the subway tile sign inside the restaurant is that it should have been the whole name. Leaving off "uncle"kind of discounts it's long standing and loved name.

    • foodcritic101 says:

      Perhaps because Robert THOUGHT Andrea would be taking over? A hint to her father?

    • SOUTH Portlander says:

      Thank you, I was just coming here to type that. People thin every city/town in southern Maine is Portland. Hello, there are other cities/towns other than our "big" city of Portland. South Portland has a MUCH different feel than Portland, too. Such a pet peeve of mine.

      I don't know why they didn't fix that ugly broken sign behind the restaurant. Haven't gone in years because the food was gross and cold. Sounds like not much has changed.

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