by Maria Russo in Shows, November 28th, 2012
by Maria Russo in Shows, November 21st, 2012
At Rohrer’s Tavern in North Bend, Ohio, Robert Irvine found an outdated eatery with an unadorned dining space and basic-at-best food to match. Lisa Kendall is the owner of this decades-old restaurant, and she needed Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team to help Rohrer’s avoid a looming closure. We checked in with Lisa a few months after the transformation to see how her restaurant is doing now.
After the renovation, Rohrer’s saw year-over-year growth of $20,000 for the month of September. Lisa explains that while the restaurant used to attract only local customers, it is now “pulling people from other neighborhoods” as well.
“Everyone loves the new look and for the most part loves the menu,” she says. Rohrer’s is still serving most of the menu items that Robert created for them, and they’ve added a few of their previously popular dishes to their list of offerings.
Since Robert left, the kitchen staff has been held “accountable for everything,” Lisa explains. She now challenges them when they tell her that something cannot be done, and says she has “made it clear that I am not just the owner. I am the boss and manager.” She adds, “Criticism is still something that no one in the kitchen likes, but I do it as constructively as possible.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, October 17th, 2012
When Robert Irvine arrived at Poco’s on the Boulevard in Kansas City, Mo., he met owner Claudia Endicott and her sister, Danna Gutierrez, who were ready and anxious to receive Robert’s constructive criticism about their Latin restaurant. Since their mother passed away several months ago, Poco’s had been dishing out inconsistent food, and Claudia had struggled with earning the respect of her staff. Robert and the Restaurant: Impossible team spent two days revamping the dining room and overhauling the menu, and in the end, they helped return Poco’s to its former glory. We checked in with Claudia a few months after Robert left to see how the restaurant is doing today.
Since the renovation, diners have been pleased with the changes at Poco’s. The restaurant is once again making a profit, and sales have risen $20,000 from July to August.
Claudia appreciates the updated decor, including the new paint color and expanded bar, and says that it has been well received by customers. “The counter space makes it more comfortable to spend time at the bar,” she tells us. She especially like the photo of her mom, Poco’s founder, which was hung near the entrance. “I feel like she’s present when I see it,” Claudia says of the image.
by Maria Russo in Shows, October 10th, 2012
For Kelli Truman and Abby Grabow, owners of Oleander Bar & Grill in Olean, N.Y., Robert Irvine’s visit to their restaurant was a much-needed effort to save the business they opened just six months earlier. This mother-daughter duo needed Robert’s help to transform the dark dining room into a comfortable space, rethink their tired menu and improve their strained relationship if Oleander were to have any chance at lasting success. We checked in with Abby a few months after Oleander’s Restaurant: Impossible overhaul to see how the business has been doing since Robert left.
In the first two weeks after the renovation, Oleander saw sales increase nearly 50 percent.
The restaurant’s updated decor has been well received by diners who “love the fresh, clean, modern look of the design,” Abby says. She also notes that “the serious burger, shrimp tempura and crab bisque are the best-selling items that Robert added” to Oleander’s revamped menu.
Though Jaye no longer works at the restaurant, Abby says that “the staff that remains is very loyal and everyone has been working together to rebuild business.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, October 3rd, 2012
Valley Inn restaurant in Palos Hills, Ill., is a 40-year-old eatery with a history of success. Recently, however, the restaurant had fallen on hard times, and owner Dennis Ristucci needed Robert Irvine’s help to restore Valley Inn to its former glory. In only two days, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team tackled a dark, dirty dining space and low-quality food before reopening to a line of hungry customers. We checked in with Dennis to see how his business is doing a few months after its renovation.
Since Robert left, sales at Valley Inn have increased nearly 85 percent. Dennis tells us that the revised menu and updated decor “have drawn new interest from the neighborhood.” Among his favorite aspects of the remodel are the more inviting entry space and improved flooring.
Today, Valley Inn’s menu is a mix of the restaurant’s original dishes and those that Robert created, and Dennis says that “customers like the combination.” Additionally, he notes that the restaurant is no longer using any frozen food. Dennis tells us his staff are “more attentive to customers” and welcome diners “with big smiles and stories about the show.” He adds that “everyone has been doing their part and cleaning, too.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, September 26th, 2012
When Robert Irvine arrived at Whistle Stop restaurant in Hot Springs, Ark., he found an outdated dining space and dirty kitchen in desperate need of a makeover. Linda Todd, employee-turned-owner of Whistle Stop, needed Robert’s help to transform her restaurant into a profitable business and effectively manage her staff. We checked in with Linda to see how the restaurant is doing a few months after its Restaurant: Impossible renovation. Hear from the owner below then take a photo tour of the restaurant and see before-and-after snapshots of the Whistle Stop’s dining room and buffet station.
Since Robert left, the restaurant has begun breakfast service, which Linda says “is doing pretty well” so far. “We started doing breakfast a little over 2 weeks ago and it is doing pretty well. Hopefully it will continue to grow.” She also notes that Brett does not work at Whistle Stop anymore.
by Maria Russo in Shows, September 19th, 2012
Rookie restaurant owner Ashley Robertson needed Robert Irvine’s help to successfully run her Las Vegas restaurant, The Maple Tree Cafe. In just two days, Robert tackled poor food quality and disorganized management in order to give The Maple Tree Cafe the transformation it deserved. We checked in with Ashley a few months after the Restaurant: Impossible renovation to see how her restaurant is doing today.
Ashley reports that since Robert left, sales at The Maple Tree Cafe have more than doubled.
The restaurant’s food, she says, “is coming out great,” and she credits a recipe book in the kitchen with ensuring that all dishes are made the same way every time. She says that she has “completely delegated the prep duties to everyone in the kitchen,” and makes sure to “spend time watching plates go out.”
by FN Dish Editor in Food Network Chef, September 19th, 2012
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.
by Maria Russo in Shows, September 12th, 2012
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.
by Maria Russo in Shows, September 5th, 2012
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.