All Posts By Sara Levine

Sara Levine is a Senior Online Editor at FoodNetwork.com and a culinary-school-trained home cook. Several years ago she quit her magazine job to go to Le Cordon Bleu, which led to a stint in Food Network Kitchen. Although cooking professionally wasn’t her thing, she loves frequenting restaurants and putting her own amateur culinary skills to work in her tiny kitchen.

3 Days to Open: Big Guys Sausage Stand

by in Shows, August 10th, 2012

Big Guys Sausage

In suburban Chicago, Brendan O’Connor and three of his best friends desperately needed Bobby Flay’s help to make their restaurant dreams come true at Big Guys Sausage Stand. With just three days until the grand opening, Bobby tackled clashing personalities, unimaginative toppings and a depressing interior to help the guys create a sausage spot that impressed even the toughest of critics: Chicago’s Sandwich King, Jeff Mauro.

But what happened when Bobby headed home, leaving the guys to fend for themselves? We checked in with Brendan to see how Big Guys is doing a few months after Bobby’s intervention.

Brendan is happy to report that Big Guys is off to a great start: They are averaging $1,500 per day in sales and their numbers are growing daily thanks to neighborhood buzz, good local press and many repeat customers.

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Restaurant Revisited: Stella’s

by in Shows, August 8th, 2012

Restaurant Revisited: Stella's

In Stratford, Conn., Michael Savoie and his mother Cami needed Robert’s help to keep their 15-year-old Italian restaurant, Stella’s, alive. Despite working exhausting 90-hour weeks, Michael was clueless about food costs and lacked the leadership skills to effectively manage his staff. From management to decor, Robert and his team gave Stella’s a complete overhaul. We checked in with the Savoies a few months later to see how business is going.

In the months following their Restaurant: Impossible intervention, sales at Stella’s are up 20 percent.

Michael is letting his mother have access to the business financials. He now has a better grip on how to manage food costs. As the new general manager of Stella’s, Cami is also handling the catering side of the business and helping to keep costs down.

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Restaurant Revisited: Italian Village

by in Shows, August 1st, 2012

Robert Irvine at Italian Village

At Italian Village in Milmont Park, Pa., Rob Mellon Sr. and his son Rob Jr. desperately needed Robert Irvine’s help to return their 30-year-old restaurant to its early glory days. It was a big job: Robert and his team not only had to overhaul the menu and dark interior, but also remedy long-standing issues between father and son that were hurting the business. We checked in with the owners a few months after their Restaurant: Impossible intervention to see how the restaurant is faring.

Since Robert and Restaurant: Impossible visited, sales at Italian Village are up 18%.

The owners took Robert’s advice and reduced the number of menu items to about 30. Robert’s recipe for Drunken Penne remains on the menu and is a big hit: “Almost every night, somebody orders it,” says Rob Sr.

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Restaurant Revisited: Zandi’s

by in Shows, July 25th, 2012

Zandi's

At Zandi’s in Millersville, Md., sisters and co-owners Evette Aponte and Yvonne Zandi were just a few months from closing down when Robert Irvine showed up. He was discouraged to find not only lackluster food, poor service and tired decor, but a lack of passion on the part of the owners. A few months after their emotional Restaurant: Impossible makeover, we checked in with Evette and Yvonne to see how business is going.

Since Robert’s Restaurant: Impossible intervention, sales at Zandi’s are up 39%. They’ve gone from roughly 30 customers per day up to 70. Evette and Yvonne are slowly catching up on their debt and will soon be able to start paying their mother back.

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Restaurant Revisited: The Main Dish

by in Shows, July 18th, 2012

The Main Dish

When Robert Irvine arrived at The Main Dish in Meridianville, Ala., owners Lynn and Ken Tverberg were in desperate need of help. They bought the restaurant five years earlier because Ken loves to cook, but with no restaurant experience at all, the couple found themselves in debt and working 80 hours a week. We checked in with Lynn and Ken a few months after their Restaurant: Impossible makeover to see how the restaurant is faring.

Lynn and Ken have seen a strong increase in sales since Robert’s intervention. “The new menu and decor has brought in old and new customers,” says Lynn. “Some customers don’t like change, and I have made sure that I explain to them that change sometimes is hard but necessary. For every one customer that is not happy, we have three new tables that come in and love the new menu.” Read more

New French Favorites for Bastille Day

by in Recipes, July 13th, 2012

zucchini gratin
This Saturday marks France’s answer to the Fourth of July, Bastille Day. If you can’t make it to Paris to catch the fireworks over the Seine, unleash your inner Francophile at home with a French-inspired feast. Some of our favorite classics — like cheesy onion soup and rich beef bourguignon — don’t exactly lend themselves to balmy July temperatures, but our Food Network stars have plenty of summer-appropriate recipes with French flair.

Ina Garten, who has an apartment in Paris, loves to put her own spin on the dishes she enjoys there, like this Zucchini Gratin from her Barefoot in Paris cookbook. Melissa d’Arabian, whose husband is French, creates lots of recipes inspired by France that always have her no-fuss, affordable touch. Bobby Flay trained at the French Culinary Institute in New York, so even though he’s the king of all-American burgers and anything grilled, many of his recipes are rooted in France.

Mix and match some of their French-inspired favorites

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