by Maria Russo in Shows, September 24th, 2014
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.
by Maria Russo in Shows, September 3rd, 2014
“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.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, August 27th, 2014
What was supposed to be a welcome challenge quickly turned into a nightmare when Renae Bowens, the owner of El Bistro restaurant in Titusville, Pa., found herself facing significant financial losses. With nowhere left to turn, the single mother looked to Robert Irvine to reinvigorate her eatery, but it was ultimately up to him to reignite Renae’s hunger for the business as well. After two days of renovations on a $10,000 budget, Robert Irvine and his Restaurant: Impossible team reopened El Bistro as Renae’s Corner to a packed house. Read on below to hear from Renae and find out how her restaurant is doing today.
“After the team left, our profit went up about 50 percent,” Renae explains. ” I have been at the restaurant much more, and I have implemented many of the changes suggested to me.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, August 20th, 2014
While Robert Irvine is no stranger to unusual and unfortunate scenes after years of Restaurant: Impossible missions, nothing could have prepared him for what he saw when he pulled up to Portland, Maine’s Uncle Andy’s Diner: owner Dennis Fogg dressed in an ape costume with a poster advertising his business. “He’s just trying to get people’s attention,” Tina Fogg, Dennis’ wife and the co-owner, explained to Robert. When Dennis isn’t turning heads at the restaurant, he’s performing as a standup comedian, but as Robert explains of Uncle Andy’s, “I can see that Dennis likes to joke around, but what I see in front of me is no laughing matter.” He had only two days to work and a $10,000 budget to overhaul the interior at the family-run restaurant, rework the eatery’s menu and improve Dennis’ professional demeanor while working. Read on below to hear from Dennis and find out how his business was faring a few months after Robert’s intervention.
“They are, right off the hook, four to five times better than before Restaurant: Impossible,” Dennis says of the financials at Uncle Andy’s. He adds that in order to accommodate larger parties, “We installed booths to increase seating by 15.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, August 13th, 2014
The situation at Country Cow Restaurant and Bar wasn’t what it seemed when Robert Irvine first arrived there. Co-owner Jenny Leonzi admitted that the calm demeanor shown by her business partner — and former husband — Kerry Benton wasn’t usual; yelling and swearing were more commonplace, and because of that, Robert was forced to investigate never-before-seen footage of Kerry’s behavior at the eatery. In the nearly nine seasons of Restaurant: Impossible, this is the first time that Robert has revealed the behind-the-scenes clips his producers collect ahead of his visit, and after watching those tapes, Robert saw the restaurant’s reality.
Before Robert could finish the two days of renovations at Country Cow, Kerry made the decision to leave the 12-year-old Campton, N.H., eatery once and for all, signing over all aspects of the business to Jenny. Read on below to hear from Jenny and learn how her restaurant is doing several months after its transformation.
Since Robert left, “sales were up $22,000 compared to June 2013,” says Jenny, who adds that “guests are loving the new decor.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, August 6th, 2014
At Pomona Golf and Country Club in Egg Harbor City, N.J., Robert Irvine had to contend not only with a 45-year-old joint golf course and clubhouse but also family friction amongst the owners, sisters Andy Truitt and Pam Grenda, and their cousin, Bruce Ritchie. The trio was facing losses after having failed to attract a fresher audience, and it was up to Robert to reimagine the establishment’s futures. Read on below to hear from Andy and find out how Pomona Golf and Country Club is doing today, a few months after its Restaurant: Impossible transformation.
“Business is slowly picking up,” says Andy. “We’ve had three dinners averaging 25 people.” She adds that they “using the patio” and customers have taken well to the golf carts.
by Maria Russo in Shows, July 30th, 2014
As time passes and new restaurant trends join the market, it’s often not enough for long-established eateries to continue doing business the same way year after year and decade after decade. Paul Awramko, the owner of Paul’s Bar & Bowling, learned this lesson the hard way when the 85-year-old establishment found profits rapidly declining in the last eight years. “Nothing has really changed” of the dark, old-fashioned interior at Paul’s, says Ed Arzoomanian, an investor in the business. The joint bar and bowling alley in Paterson, N.J., was in dire need of an update, and the menu called for a complete overhaul, both of which Robert Irvine and his Restaurant: Impossible team successfully managed to complete in only two days and with a $10,000 budget. Read on below to hear from Paul to find out how his business is doing today.
“For the first three weeks, business was up 20 percent,” says Paul. He adds, “It looks so much brighter, more comfortable, intriguing, cleaner, more current [and] totally, totally not old school anymore.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, July 23rd, 2014
“This is tasteless,” Robert Irvine said of the tableful of dishes he sampled at Marie’s at Ummat Cafe in Atlanta. It turns out that the restaurant’s bland food was just one in a series of problems he and his Restaurant: Impossible team discovered on their latest mission. The uninspired decor was appalling to Robert and guests alike, and the staff struggled to work well with owner Jaliwa Owuo. With only two days to work and a budget of just $10,000, Robert overhauled the menu at Marie’s and reopened the eatery with a design that would be welcoming for all. Read on below to hear from Jaliwa and find out how her restaurant is doing today.
“We have seen a 30 to 40 percent increase in revenue” since filming ended, Jaliwa explains, noting that “the tipping has increased by 90 percent.”
Even from Robert Irvine‘s first steps inside The Fork Diner in Calhoun, Ga., it was clear that this mission was going to be like none other. Although Robert usually meets with owners before trying an eatery’s food, this time he sat down and immediately ordered from the menu, only talking to partners Gray Bridges and Michael and Diana Forster afterward. Michael revealed that The Fork Diner was losing nearly $12,000 every month, and soon Robert posed an important question to Gray, who’s been the lead funder of the restaurant: Would she continue working at the restaurant or walk away and turn over the business to the husband-and-wife team of Michael and Diana? Gray ultimately revealed that she’d be leaving once filming ended, explaining, “There’s things more important than money and more important than my passion for that restaurant.” Nevertheless, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team continued with their overhaul of The Fork’s disappointing menu and lackluster decor, and they reopened the restaurant to a packed house. Read on below to hear from Diana a few weeks after her business relaunched to learn about Gray’s involvement since taping and how the restaurant is faring today.
“Gray has finally decided to leave and turn things over to us after months of seesawing,” Diana notes. There have been a few other changes in staff, she notes, including a few servers who are no longer working at The Fork. “I did not know how bad they were till they were gone and I got customer feedback. When I was around they were pretty good.”