by Maria Russo in Shows, February 5th, 2014
by Maria Russo in Shows, January 29th, 2014
When Robert Irvine arrived at Estrada’s Restaurant in Daly City, Calif., it wasn’t enough for his Restaurant: Impossible team that the owners, Bernadette Aggen and Julio Mercedes, were facing more than $400,000 of debt; they seemed downright disinterested in their 96-year-old restaurant, which they purchased nearly six years ago. After surveying the interior of Estrada’s, however, and tasting its food, Robert learned that the Mexican eatery’s problems went beyond its management. With just two days and $10,000 to work, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team successfully overhauled the menu and updated the design at Estrada’s, all while reinvigorating Bernadette and Julio. Read on below to hear from the owners in their first exclusive interview since the transformation, and find out how their restaurant is doing today.
Sales at Estrada’s have increased nearly 30 percent, according to Bernadette and Julio, who add that their business is now profitable and that they’ve begun to decrease their debt.
by Maria Russo in Shows, January 15th, 2014
When Robert Irvine arrived in Murphys, Calif., to rescue Hillbillies Restaurant, he was forced to contend with not only a dingy dining space overrun with tchotchkes, but with struggling owner Jami Saul as well. Unconfident and unable to assert herself to her staff, she would often be talked down to by her employees, so it was up to Robert to teach her how to voice her opinion and stand up for herself. He and his Restaurant: Impossible team had just two days to work and a budget of only $10,000, but in true Irvine fashion, he delivered, reopening Hillbillies to a crowded house of eager customers. Read on below for the first exclusive interview with Jami to find out how her business is doing today.
“I do love the simplicity and clean feeling the new design brings to the restaurant,” Jami says of the transformed Hillbillies. “My favorite is the front entrance and the back wall of pallets. I think Lynn nailed the design for me.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, January 1st, 2014
From a filthy interior to seemingly indifferent management, the problems at Spunky Monkey Bar and Grill in Auburn, Wash., were many, and it was up to Robert Irvine and his Restaurant: Impossible team to decipher and ultimately fix them one by one if the business was to have any chance at future success. Over the course of two days and with a budget of only $10,000, Robert overhauled the interior of the eatery, redesigned the menu and worked with owner Donel Brinkman to implement positive changes that ultimately allowed her to reopen Spunky Monkey to a packed crowd. Read on below for an exclusive interview with Donel and find out how her business is faring a few months later.
“Customers are thrilled with the design (as are we),” Donel says of the diners’ reactions to Spunky Monkey’s transformation, “and we are receiving great commentary on the transition.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, December 18th, 2013
While the inferior food and uninspired decor were in desperate need of Robert Irvine‘s attention when he arrived at Heather’s Country Kitchen in Plains, Mont., owner Heather Worrall’s lack of leadership was of far more concern to Robert, given how little Heather seemed to know about running her business. With just two days to work and a budget of just $10,000, it was up to Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team to overhaul all aspects of Heather’s Country Kitchen and to give Heather the tools she needed to manage her business alongside her family so they could ultimately reopen Heather’s as a welcoming business with a confident leader at the helm. Read on below to hear from Heather and find out how her restaurant is doing today.
“Business was really steady” immediately after filming, according to Heather, who says that the updated design “makes you smile when you walk in the door.” She adds, “People just love the new flooring. Everyone wants to know where it was purchased so they can put it in their homes.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, December 8th, 2013
Facing nearly $300,000 of debt, Sally Fatzz and Brenda Brewer turned to Robert Irvine for a restaurant rescue at their eclectic one-year-old restaurant, Goombazz Big City Eatzz, specializing in regional cuisines from around the country. While Sally had enjoyed prior ventures in the restaurant industry, Brenda was new to the restaurant scene, but both recognized their need for a Restaurant: Impossible
transformation if their business was to have any chance at future success. It didn’t take Robert long to realize that this Rock Island, Ill., restaurant was failing largely on account of Sally’s out-of-control temper, which ultimately led to unhappy customers and a dissatisfied staff. With a budget of just $10,000 and only two days to work, Robert and his team overhauled the interior of Goombazz, updated the eatery’s menu, and began mending Sally and Brenda’s relationship. Read on below to hear from both owners and find out how their restaurant is doing today.
Since the transformation, “business is up,” Sally says. “We went from $800 to about $1,200 on weekdays, and [on] Friday and Saturday, $3,000.” He adds that “everyone loves the new decor.” Brenda explains: “The floor is amazing, the bridge mural is beautiful, we love the back bar, but [we] had to add our own lighting, and the kitchen pass-through window being closed up is my favorite change! I also love the fresh flowers on the tables.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, December 4th, 2013
“It’s our biggest mission ever: two locations, three days, $50,000,” Robert Irvine said of what he was about to take on in Ship Bottom, Long Island Beach, N.J. Just one year ago, that community was devastated — along with so many others along the Eastern Seaboard — when Hurricane Sandy smashed on shore with powerful winds and rain, plus multiple-feet-high storm surges. In the spirit of the season and true to Robert’s selflessness, the Restaurant: Impossible host teamed up with Lexus for Holiday: Impossible 2 to give two Ship Bottom businesses that were nearly decimated by the storm a second chance to thrive. With the help of Lexus’ generous donation of extra time and an increased budget, plus the commitment of his design and construction teams from Restaurant: Impossible, Robert transformed LBI Pancake House and Ship Bottom Volunteer Fire Company, both once waterlogged from the storm and in dire need of updates if they were to have any chance at lasting futures.
While it’s rare for Robert to undertake a project of this magnitude, it’s no surprise that he didn’t let the feat stop him from completing it on time and with the very best results. After just a few days of work, he reopened LBI Pancake House for owners Bill and Carole Waldron as a vibrant, welcoming eatery worthy of the neighborhood, and he introduced a revitalized kitchen and lounge area at Ship Bottom Volunteer Fire Company President Dan English and Fire Chief Wade Bradley, as well as the company’s 30 members. Read on below to hear from Carole and Dan, find out how their locations are doing today and see behind-the-scenes photos.
by Maria Russo in Shows, November 27th, 2013
It didn’t take long for Robert Irvine to realize he was facing two missions at Mike La Susa’s Italian Restaurant in Oak Creek, Wis. Not only was he to overhaul the decor and reinvent the menu, but he also had to contend with the family, owners Patrick and Mary, plus their son, Mike. This trio was barely able to communicate with each other when Robert arrived, and it was up to him to attempt to see to the root of their problems while working with his Restaurant: Impossible team to transform the failing eatery into a welcoming, comfortable space. With a budget of only $10,000 and just two days to institute changes, Robert ultimately reopened Mike La Susa’s to a crowd of customers. Read on below for an exclusive update on how the restaurant is doing today.
Mike is enjoying the updated menu, although business has struggled a bit since the transformation, as the changes in the list of offerings have been difficult for longtime customers to accept. He’s still the main cook, and he is planning to eventually add some of the original dishes back to the menu.
by Maria Russo in Shows, November 20th, 2013
When Robert Irvine arrived at Seven restaurant in La Porte, Ind., he found that the restaurant was suffering from the trifecta of issues: poor food, drab decor and weak management. Owners Tonya and Chad, who are engaged, named the business after their blended family of seven children, including Tonya’s son Jake, who’s a cook at the eatery. It was up to Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team to use their $10,000 budget and two-day timeline to overhaul both the menu and interior design at Seven, and work with the family to give the business the second chance at success it deserves. FN Dish checked in with Tonya a few weeks after the restaurant reopened to find out how it’s faring since Robert left.
“The first week we tripled our sales and have nearly doubled our sales every week since the show,” Tonya explains. “While everything is amazing, our favorite part of the renovation is the sevens in the foyer and the lights above the hostess station that all seven kids got to paint.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, November 13th, 2013
Overrun with filth in the front of house and back, Georgia Boy Cafe in Hagerstown, Md., was in desperate need of rescuing when Robert Irvine and his Restaurant: Impossible team arrived. Perhaps more than the restaurant, however, the relationship between the owners, partners Chuck Holman and Montez Dorsey, was on the brink of ruin, as their lack of communication and stress about the business were tearing them apart — and ultimately having a damaging effect on their eatery. With just two days to work and a budget of only $10,000, Robert relaunched Georgia Boy Cafe with a contemporary interior design and overhauled menu to match. FN Dish caught up with Chuck and Montez a few weeks after Robert left to find out how their business is doing today.
“The business is doing much better than before the show,” Chuck and Montez tell FN Dish. “We are … being more creative on ways to get customers in the door, and not only having new customers but repeat customers.”
“The place is clean, a little dark but nothing [like] what I’m used to. So I’m confused why I’m here,” Robert Irvine told Bill and Gail Darling, the owners of Coach Lamp Restaurant & Pub in Louisville, Ky. In addition to a tidy space, Robert also found good-tasting food, but it turns out that is where many of the business’ problems laid. The high-priced offerings on the menu — coupled with the too-formal ambiance that comes with white linen tablecloths — weren’t attracting locals, despite their tendency to visit a neighborhood restaurant nearby. Thanks to Robert’s tough-love approach, as well as his Restaurant: Impossible team’s work in transforming the outdoor patio into a welcoming space, however, Coach Lamp relaunched as an inviting, comfortable restaurant. Read on below to hear from Bill and find out how his eatery is doing a few weeks after Robert left.
Since Coach Lamp has reopened, business has jumped nearly 30 percent, according to Bill. “The liquor, beer [and] wine sales are 40 percent of the food sales …. The money is in the bar goods,” he says. “We are seeing more locals visiting.”