by Maria Russo in Shows, December 8th, 2014
by Maria Russo in Shows, November 24th, 2014
In the largest Restaurant: Impossible challenge to date, Robert Irvine and his team traveled to Lake Luzerne, N.Y., for an extra-special mission at Double H Ranch, a year-round camp dedicated to serving children with life-threatening illnesses. Double H was founded on the premise of “health and happiness” according to CEO and executive director Max Yurenda, and the camp indeed lives up to its promise, as every child who attends is welcomed and made to feel safe and hopeful.
With the help and generosity of Lexus, Robert and his team had three days and an increased budget of $50,000 to transform the kitchen and dining hall at Double H, and it’s a good thing they had extra time and money to spend, because the 4,000-plus-square-foot dining room was among the largest they’d ever attempted. In true Irvine fashion, Robert welcomed the challenge, and not only did he overhaul those spaces and turn them into comfortable, friendly and functional designs, but he and Lexus also gifted the camp dozens of pieces of new equipment, plus a $10,000 donation. Read on below to hear from Max, and director of operations Jacqui Royael, to find out how Double H is doing today. Then, browse insider photos of the transformation in progress, and see Robert at Double H.
How have the new hot boxes improved serving time?
Jacqui Royael: The new hot boxes will allow more time for staff and campers to enjoy their meal together and less time waiting in a crowded line in the kitchen. The food can now be prepared and ready to go the minute the kids enter the dining hall, allowing all of camp to be served in half the time and eat together. So what once was 20-plus minutes and several trips back and forth to the serving line will now be a quick five to 10 minutes and one trip to have everyone enjoy a meal together.
by Maria Russo in Shows, November 3rd, 2014
Tonight marked the first time Oklahoma City’s Mama E’s Wings & Waffles appeared on Restaurant: Impossible, but it wasn’t the business’ first time on Food Network; just a few years ago it was a bustling eatery that enjoyed a showcase on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Problems began, however, when husband-and-wife owners Keith and Stephanie Patterson wanted to open a new Mama E’s outpost. Ultimately the venture proved unsuccessful, and, perhaps worst of all, the trials nearly cost them their relationship. It was up to Robert Irvine and his Restaurant: Impossible team to mend Keith and Stephanie’s damaged marriage before he could begin overhauling Mama E’s, and they had only 48 hours and $10,000 to do it all. Read on below to hear from Stephanie and find out how her restaurant is faring today.
“Over time the revenue has doubled or more,” Stephanie explains. “I love the walls with the recipes and so do the customers.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, October 27th, 2014
When Robert Irvine arrived at Papa C’s Eastside Cafe, the family drama he discovered was unlike that at any other restaurant he’s visited in nine seasons of Restaurant: Impossible. Owner Sal Cimino and his three sons, Sal Jr., Justin and Rick, work at the business together, though much of what they do involves yelling and arguing. It was up to Robert and his team to mend the frayed family dynamic at Papa C’s and overhaul the menu and interior there to reflect a contemporary eatery. Read on below to hear from Sal and find out how his restaurant is doing today.
“The restaurant is doing much better,” Sal reveals of Papa C’s Eastside Cafe. “Revenue is up about 20 percent, and we are now closed on Mondays.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, October 20th, 2014
From filthy kitchens and grimy furniture to mismanaged staff members and owners who’ve lost their passion for the restaurant business, Robert Irvine has seen nearly everything in his nine seasons on Restaurant: Impossible. But while all of Robert’s missions require his and his team’s full $10,000 budget and 48 hours of work, some projects are loftier than others, with the shell of the businesses all but crumbling under their failures when Robert arrives.
On tonight’s episode of Restaurant: Impossible, fans looked back at these seemingly hopeless missions and relived the daunting challenges Robert and his team endured in order to complete their tasks on time. Such restaurants, including Dinner Bell Restaurant, which was just days away from closing before Robert’s mission began, and Frankie’s, which was headed by a pair of sparring owners, have proved to be simply unforgettable and now are among the worst of the worst.
by Maria Russo in Shows, October 13th, 2014
From creepy crawling insects in the kitchen to appliances overrun with mold and caked in grease, Robert Irvine has seen all manner of filth in eateries over the course of nine seasons of Restaurant: Impossible missions. But no matter how off-putting and seemingly impossible to tackle a scene may be when Robert arrives, with the help of his team, he’s always able to resurrect the space and reopen the business as a shining, safe restaurant worthy of a second chance.
On tonight’s episode of Restaurant: Impossible, fans had the chance to look back at not just the dirty restaurants that have been featured on the show, but those simply too gross to forget, like Mama Lee’s, where a cockroach landed on Robert’s shoulder, and Smitty’s Restaurant, which required the aid of a professional exterminator.
by Maria Russo in Shows, October 6th, 2014
Robert Irvine‘s mission at Abudanza Ristorante in Wilbraham, Mass., moved him as few others have as he learned the story of owners Lou and June’s family, including their terminally ill son, LJ. After two days of work to overhaul their business and improve the managerial skills of the staff, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible crew presented the Maravilha family with a gift of money that would help them avoid foreclosure on their home. Read on below to hear from June and find out how the restaurant and LJ are doing today.
“Lou says business is up about 50 percent,” June notes, adding that “everyone loves the decor” and that she’s especially fond of the photos on the wall. “LJ loves to see himself up there,” she says.
by Maria Russo in Shows, September 24th, 2014
A tiki bar-style restaurant offering live music, Padre Rita Grill in South Padre Island, Texas, is just four years old, but already the owners, husband and wife Micheal and Cathy Laferty, are finding themselves inundated with debt. They looked to Robert Irvine and his Restaurant: Impossible team not only to transform the interior of their space from island-oriented to next-level nautical, but also to overhaul the menu, adding fresh flavors and coastal influences. Read on below to hear from Micheal and Cathy to find out how Padre Rita Grill is doing a few months after reopening.
Micheal and his employees alike are pleased to be rid of the salad bar that was previously in their restaurant, as Cathy explains: “I believe the staff is very happy about not having the salad bar to deal with. It was a daily issue [in terms of] cleaning and keeping [it] filled, and they each voiced their dislike of the duty.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, September 17th, 2014
“I’ve walked right in the middle of a sibling rivalry like no other,” Robert Irvine said not long after arriving at Mamma Lucrezia’s in Bellefonte, Pa. While this 10-year-old Italian eatery offered some of Robert’s most-favorite pizza, its decor was dated, and, perhaps more problematically, owner Maria Albegiani and her sister, server Stefania Albegiani, were at odds with each other after years of tensions building in their relationship. With only two days to work and a budget of just $10,000, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team had to not only overhaul the interior at Mamma Lucrezia’s but also attempt to mend a strained family. Read on below to hear from Maria and see how her restaurant is faring since the renovation.
“We have more than doubled in revenue,” Maria explains of business at Mamma Lucrezia’s. She adds that in terms of diner reaction, “The customers love the food and the new design.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, September 10th, 2014
“This is very special,” Robert Irvine said not long after arriving at Fort Bragg, N.C., for a mission near and dear to his heart. A former member of the British Royal Navy, Robert was honored to be asked to transform the decades-old Green Beret Club, an on-base eatery for service men and women of the United States Army. While the structure of the Green Beret Club was clean and boasted a fine floor, its food could be improved, especially if they swapped in fresh ingredients in place of frozen alternatives. With only two days to work and a budget of just $10,000, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team reworked the menu at Green Beret Club to make sure it fit the needs of the soldiers. They changed the decor inside as well, to pay tribute to the building’s history. Read on below to hear from Mikki Morris, the manager of the restaurant, and Michelle Hagwood, who is the Family and MWR Business Operations Officer, to find out how the newly renamed Smoke Bomb Grille is doing today.
By July, Smoke Bomb Grille boasted a more than 48 percent increase in business, according to Mikki and Michelle, and “about 10 percent” of diners are new customers.
“Nothing here is run like a typical restaurant,” Robert Irvine admitted after arriving at Spicy Bar and Grill in Falls Church, Va., and surveying the mishandled management and poorly run kitchen. Owners Mike Loh and Floyd Bui first entered the restaurant industry with plans to keep their former jobs in the car industry and with the government, respectively, but after their third partner deserted them, they were forced to take on Spicy as their sole venture. Two years later, they were facing nearly $5,000 losses every month, and it was up to Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team to overhaul the interior of what he called this “very generic” interior and reform the Vietnamese menu.
Thanks to Robert’s work over the course of two days, he was ultimately able to complete his mission, and Spicy Bar and Grill reopened its doors as a welcoming space with a cohesive Vietnamese list of offerings. It’s because of the Restaurant: Impossible transformation that Spicy is set up for future success under new ownership. As of July, Mike no longer works at Spicy, and as for Floyd, he notes, “I decided to sell and move on to my next venture.”