In Corry, Pa., Michele Sventek needed Robert Irvine’s help to give her restaurant, Michele’s, a new look and better food. Perhaps more importantly, she needed Robert to teach her the basics of running a restaurant since she had no experience in the culinary industry. In just two days, Robert gave Michele’s a much-needed overhaul and taught Michele how to best manage her staff and maintain food quality. We checked in with Michele to see how her restaurant is doing a few months after its Restaurant: Impossible renovation.
Michele says that compared to last year, sales have increased “about 40 percent.” Robert wanted Michele’s to achieve $12,500 per month in sales, and Michele is happy to report that she “can see it happening as we progress.”
The new decor at Michele’s has been well received by customers. “Everyone likes the brightness of it, especially the wall between the dining area and the bar, the fireplace (people are excited for winter to see it working) and the mirrors,” Michele explains.
Fans of the popular social game ChefVille and Robert Irvine fanatics can rejoice — the two are coming together on a culinary adventure as they tackle a series of tasty to-dos.
Beginning today, Robert will face his biggest challenge yet as he helps ChefVille players enhance the in-game establishments they have designed by mastering dishes from around the world, while improving their restaurants.
Throughout the next two weeks, ChefVille players can go on a series of quests cooked up by Robert — everything from ingredient cultivation and specialization, dish mastery and customer service — without the actual growing pains of owning a real restaurant. Similar to his role on Restaurant: Impossible, Robert will guide ChefVille players along the way, providing tips and tricks — and a little tough love when necessary.
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At Paliani’s Restaurant in Burton, Mich., Robert Irvine found a decades-old Italian eatery in desperate need of a Restaurant: Impossible overhaul. He had only two days to tackle the filthy interior and disorganized kitchen at Paliani’s, and help give owner Marina Bufalini the tools to improve her management. We checked in with Marina to see how Paliani’s is doing a few months after its Restaurant: Impossible renovation.
Marina is happy to report that since the transformation, sales at Paliani’s have increased. In June and July, the restaurant saw year-over-year growth of 46 percent and 32 percent, respectively.
Paliani’s has seen a mix of returning and first-time customers coming to see the makeover and taste the new food. While some longtime diners have struggled to adapt to the updated decor and menu, many new customers are pleased, as is Marina. Of the restaurant’s fresh look, she says, “I love the decor and how the light panels on the wall brighten everything and give the room more dimension.”
When Robert Irvine visited Frankie’s in Three Rivers, Mich., he found a dusty, outdated restaurant with dangerous levels of food safety and a kitchen stocked with more microwaves than pots and pans. After meeting owners Jay Woehrmyer and Tina Wyman, however, he realized that poor management and a lack of leadership were their biggest problems. Robert had just two days to turn around this 13-year-old restaurant and attempt to fix Jay and Tina’s failing partnership. We checked in with Jay and Tina to find out how they and Frankie’s are doing a few months after their Restaurant: Impossible experience.
Since Robert left, sales at Frankie’s have risen 39 percent, and Jay and Tina report that the makeover is attracting new customers. Both count the new open layout of the restaurant among their favorite parts of the decor.
When Robert Irvine arrived at Gusanoz in Lebanon, N.H., husband-and-wife owners Nick Yager and Maria Limon were struggling to keep their six-year-old restaurant afloat. Locals once flocked to Gusanoz to taste Maria’s authentic Mexican food, but growing pains got the best of the restaurant and Maria had all but lost her passion for the business. Robert faced a big and expensive mess to clean up, from the decor to the tired menu. A few months after their Restaurant: Impossible makeover, Nick filled us in on how the new-and-improved Gusanoz is doing.
After a slow start, Nick reports that sales at Gusanoz are now steadily growing. To improve their bottom line, the owners took Robert’s advice and cut down on labor costs significantly: “Our total labor is approximately 28% weekly, slightly higher than the 27% Robert asked us for, but definitely in the right ballpark,” says Nick.
Food Network superstar chef Robert Irvine will be live-Tweeting the 50th episode of his hit show, Restaurant: Impossible. Tune in and Tweet along with Food Network and Robert Irvine starting at the show’s all-new time: 9pm/ 8c. Follow @FoodNetwork and @RoberIrvine1 and share your commentary using the hashtag: #RestaurantImpossible.
In honor of the 50th episode of Restaurant: Impossible, “Behind the Impossible,” Robert Irvine sat down with us at the Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival at Caesars Hotel & Casino (where he spent time as their culinary director at the beginning of his career) to share some of his most memorable moments from past seasons. While he did have a party in Philadelphia to celebrate the milestone, he’s already filming future episodes saying, “it’s 50 and then we keep on going.”
1. At The Main Dish in Meridianville, Ala., Robert turned a sad and neglected restaurant into a comfortable, sophisticated eatery, and gave a new lease on life for Lynn and Ken Tverberg. Check out how the restaurant is doing now in our Restaurant Revisited.
Get Robert’s top four moments
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.
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.
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.