by Maria Russo in Shows, November 19th, 2015
by Maria Russo in Shows, November 12th, 2015
After hearing from her daughter that Stacey, the owner of Stella’s Dine-Inn Restaurant, needed help, Robert Irvine and his Restaurant: Impossible crew ambushed Stacey in an effort to rescue her New Kensington, Pa., eatery. When Robert arrived, he and his team were not only forced to contend with an oversize space that required a massive transformation, but also a sister-brother feud between Stacey and Dom, the cook at Stella’s. Read on below to hear from Stacey a few months after Stella’s reopening to see how the business is faring today.
Business has improved considerably since Robert and team completed their renovation of Stella’s, according to Stacey. “The first week after the show we did over half of our September sales. The second week we surpassed our September sales,” she explains. “The third week we did more than all of July and August.” She adds that the updated decor has gone over well, as she notes that the look “is so open and fresh.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, November 5th, 2015
It’s the name of the Ambush game that business owners are shocked by Robert Irvine‘s unexpected appearance with his Restaurant: Impossible team. What happens after that initial surprise is up to the owners themselves: Are they open to Robert’s help, or are they so fearful of change that they refuse to let him make their eateries better? On tonight’s brand-new episode, one owner, Julie of Nashville’s Ellendale’s Restaurant, nearly turned down Robert’s offer of a second chance at success when he visited her restaurant unannounced. But once she came to terms with the potential for vast improvements, she readily welcomed him and his team. And it’s a good thing she did, because after a few days of work, Ellendale’s reopened to a full house. Read on below for an exclusive interview with Julie to see how her business is faring these days.
“Business has improved since the buzz of the show. It’s up about 20 percent, which is huge to me. Before the show I was running four or five servers a night and now seven or eight,” Julie admits. She adds that she’s pleased with the updated design of the restaurant, as are her employees and the diners who visit the restaurant. “The staff loves taking the guests around the room and showing off the new changes. I think everyone’s favorite element is the outrageously large wood beam turned into a chandelier hanging in the center of the dining room,” she says.
by Maria Russo in Shows, October 29th, 2015
While Stephanie, the bar manager at Copper Still CD Vodka Lounge and Eatery, had reached out to Robert Irvine for help in reviving business, she never could have expected that he’d turn up unannounced. In a tricky double elimination, when he arrived with his Restaurant: Impossible team in tow, Robert shocked not only Stephanie but also Christina, the owner of the Crestwood, Ill., restaurant. Eight months after opening the doors to Copper Still, Christina had yet to make a profit on the eatery, and the financial struggle had begun to put a strain on her marriage to her husband, Dominic. It was up to Robert to reinvigorate Christina, mend her relationship and transform Copper Still — and he almost had to do it alone. Stephanie was so upset by Robert’s ambush that she nearly didn’t help in the renovation, but ultimately, in true Irvine fashion, that didn’t stop Robert from completing his mission. Read on below to hear from Christina and see how Copper Still is faring a few months since it reopened.
“The ambush has definitely opened my eyes to the different problems that we had with staff and training,” Christina says, reflecting on her Restaurant: Impossible experience. “I have now since become more aggressive with the direction I would like the staff to go into. I have had less toleration for the behavior we once overlooked.” She adds that there are now “new rules and procedures that the staff must understand and follow,” and she says that there is “a different training process” in place for new staff members.
by Maria Russo in Shows, October 22nd, 2015
Konner’s parents may not have known that their son was reaching out to Robert Irvine, but they soon learned just what he’d done when Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team stormed the couple’s five-year-old eatery, Lake Arrowhead Sports Grill in Blue Jay, Calif., in an unexpected ambush. Husband-and-wife owners Keith and Karen had seen significant declines in their business recently, so much so that Konner looked to Food Network’s own restaurant renovator to transform the restaurant and reinvigorate his parents and their relationship. Read on below to hear from Karen about how Lake Arrowhead is faring these days, a few months after Robert and his team completed their mission.
“We have had really good feedback from our regulars with all the changes visually and with the menu,” Karen says of locals’ reaction to the new Lake Arrowhead. “We scaled back our menu from four pages to one (two-sided), which has really helped our kitchen to streamline and get food out quicker with more consistency.” She adds that the restaurant has been welcoming “a lot more new faces,” as “regulars are bringing new people to show us off and to tell about the show.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, May 13th, 2015
Though Miriam had invited Robert Irvine to her friend Jodi Boucher’s Bradenton, Fla., restaurant, Theresa’s Restaurant, Jodi did not know that he was on his way, which set the scene for an all-new Restaurant: Impossible Ambush. When Robert and his team surprised Jodi, they found abounding employee issues and a drab dining room, though perhaps paramount to those problems was Jodi’s weak leadership. It was up to Robert to help her drop her micromanaging ways if she was to enjoy a second chance at success at Theresa’s Restaurant. Read on below for the first interview with Jodi to find out how her business is faring today.
“Weekday sales have doubled and weekend sales have tripled” since Robert and his team left Theresa’s Restaurant, according to Jodi. “This has been amazing for business,” she says. And she adds that locals have been quick to chat about the restaurant’s updated interior and new design. “The customers are absolutely shocked at the transformation. The fresh new look has everyone in the town talking about us. Very modern but not too much,” she notes.
by Maria Russo in Shows, May 6th, 2015
It was a perfect storm of sorts at The JuJu Bag in New Orleans when Robert Irvine first arrived at this part cafe, part barber salon: inferior food coming out of an ill-equipped kitchen, wall-to-wall oddball decor not fit for a restaurant, and an owner who was resistant to change. With limited time to work, it was up to Robert Irvine and his Restaurant: Impossible team to not only convince owners Tommye Myrick and Phyllis Johnson that their business was in need of a serious overhaul, but also to transform a dining space and a working salon. Read on below to hear from Tommye, aka the Director of the business, to find out how The JuJu Bag is doing today.
“We have taken Robert’s suggestions,” Tommye says, adding that they’ve downsized their staff and changed their hours “to fit the needs of the community.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, April 29th, 2015
It’s no secret that Robert Irvine does the impossible every weekend when he rescues another struggling eatery from the brink of failure. But on tonight’s brand-new episode, he also did the unprecedented: For the first time in 11 seasons, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team ambushed a business owner who wasn’t expecting or prepared for their arrival — or the mission.
Within moments of Robert running through the doors of Tornatore’s Pizzeria, owner Denny Tornatore struggled to hold back tears, and while he was indeed surprised to learn what was about to go down at his Orlando, Fla., eatery over the next several days, he welcomed Robert and team, optimistic about what they could do to help him and his wife, Gina. While the ambush indeed provided shock-and-awe value, it also forced the Restaurant: Impossible crew to work within all-new time constraints, as they didn’t have the luxury of a prep day before filming; every minute counted as they hauled in equipment and set up materials. No matter the hectic schedule, Robert, in true Irvine fashion, successfully completed his mission, and with wow-worthy results. Read on below to hear from Denny and find out how Tornatore’s is doing today.
by Maria Russo in Shows, April 22nd, 2015
When Robert Irvine arrived at Gigi’s Music Cafe in Sunrise, Fla., he found a restaurant suffering from not just one culinary or staff issue, but a host of problems that had come to plague this three-year-old eatery. Owner Gigi Brown was struggling to recognize the dire situation her business was in, while her daughter Semone Brown-Mobley, who manages the restaurant, was forced to contend with the consequences of her mother’s decisions. They looked to Robert to streamline their financials and improve the scope of service, but perhaps most important was their need for an overhauled menu, as Gigi’s had relied heavily on the microwave. In true Irvine fashion, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team accepted this mission with gusto, working with Gigi and Semone both on land and at sea to give them the second chance they deserved. Read on below to hear from Semone to find out how Gigi’s is faring today.
“Sales have went up 40 percent in this last month,” Semone says, adding that in terms of her and her mother’s responsibilities at Gigi’s, “Me and my mother still have the same roles. She is helping more with the books and payroll. I still maintain the staff.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, April 8th, 2015
When Marybeth Sniadowski-Cole’s father passed away last year, Marybeth wasn’t sure in which direction to take Lyon’s Pharmacy of Elkton, which he’d purchased more than five decades ago. Part old-school luncheonette and part functioning pharmacy, this double-duty business needed direction if it was to have any hope of lasting success, and for that Marybeth looked to Robert Irvine. Together with his Restaurant: Impossible team and the community in which the pharmacy has been a longtime fixture, Robert gave Lyon’s the second chance it deserved. Read on below to hear from Marybeth to find out how her business is doing today.
Since Robert reopened Lyon’s Pharmacy, the luncheonette has seen a 15 percent increase in gross sales, according to Marybeth, who adds that “the cash register from downstairs, and the brick walls are by far the favorites” in terms of the updated decor.
Just when fans — and Robert Irvine himself — thought they’d seen it all on Restaurant: Impossible, an unprecedented mission presented itself in Illinois: Not only was Robert tasked with overhauling a restaurant, but he also had to focus on the expansive grocery store that houses the eatery. Just outside of Chicago, Zest Bistro is a four-and-a-half-year-old business located within Lemon Tree Grocer, which was founded by best friends Shaun Black and Tim Canning. While the guys thought they’d have the chops to make their double-duty business work on account of their respective pasts as a produce broker and a chef, they soon began spending far more money than they earned and were forced to look to Jessica, Tim’s wife, to help Lemon Tree. Ultimately, however, when they realized that her support wasn’t enough, it was Robert who could give them one final opportunity. In true Irvine fashion, this monstrous challenge only served to inspire Robert more, and sure enough, he relaunched both Zest Bistro and Lemon Tree with wild success. Read on below to hear from Shaun, Tim and Jessica to find out how the businesses are doing today.
According to Shaun, “Sales in Zest are up approximately 30 percent from last year during the same time period,” and Tim adds that there are “45-minute waits at times.”