In the new-season premiere of Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine and his Ambush team gave one New Jersey restaurant owner the shock of her life when they showed up with an offer to renovate her West Orange, N.J., eatery, Starlite Restaurant and Pizza. Patty’s son reached out to Robert after noticing his mom’s struggles, and only after arriving did Robert see for himself the filth that had accumulated in the kitchen, as well as the stubborn staff and sorry financials. Read on below to hear from Patty to find out how her business has fared since Robert and his team overhauled her restaurant and gave it the second chance for success it deserved.
Tag: Robert Irvine
Paul Liscio was struggling in his work as the owner of La Casa Bianca in Whitehouse Station, N.J., a restaurant that had seen significant declines in recent years. But it was his daughter, Megan, who was determined to remedy the situation as she reached out to Robert Irvine for help in rescuing her father and his business from impending failure. After ambushing Paul with a Restaurant: Impossible renovation, Robert and his team managed to not only reopen La Casa Bianca with the tools it needs to succeed, but also help Paul find the inspiration to manage his eatery. Read on below to hear from Paul and find out how La Casa Bianca is doing today.
“Business is picking up,” Paul explains. “[The experience] has brought new customers. The combo of my food and what [Robert and the team] did is clicking more and more every day. It’s special.”
Each week on Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine and his team offer much-needed business support to restaurateurs who are barely managing to keep their eateries afloat. But come the holiday season, Robert’s penchant for giving back is even stronger; the last several years, he’s celebrated the season with extra-special missions on Holiday: Impossible. This year is no exception, and in what he called “our biggest project to date,” he and his team traveled to Jackson Hole, Wyo., to help the children and staff of City Kids Wilderness Project.
Founded by Randy Luskey 19 years ago, City Kids may appear to be a traditional summer camp from the looks of it, but its effects on the youth it welcomes are anything but ordinary. The kids who attend City Kids, all in grades six through 12, come from underprivileged communities in Washington, D.C., and without City Kids, they likely wouldn’t have the opportunity to enjoy nature and experience the outdoors in such a supportive, welcoming community. “You get to meet all kinds of new people, test your limits and try new things that most people never do,” one camper told Robert.
Though Joni Kauffman, the owner of Cape Horn Family Restaurant, did not know that Robert Irvine was about to ambush her, her husband, Barry, was indeed aware of the surprise. Barry reached out to Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team for help to rescue the failing Red Lion, Pa., eatery. With the help of some revealing hidden cameras staged around Joni’s business, Robert was able to see that perhaps the greatest problem plaguing Cape Horn was in fact Joni herself. He ultimately worked with her to improve her management skills and help her realize what she needed to do to guarantee both her personal and professional success. Read on below to hear from Joni to find out how her business is faring a few months after its Restaurant: Impossible transformation.
“Robert Irvine has taught me so much in such a short time,” Joni explains of Robert’s impact on her. “I have come to realize that I cannot and will not let my staff disrespect me or my expectations of them.”
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.”
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.
In the new tournament Chopped: Impossible, 12 chefs entered the competition hoping to make it to the last round to face off against Mr. Impossible himself, Robert Irvine. Until now Robert has judged each of the three preliminary rounds, but on finale day he will compete against one of the three finalists: Marc, James or Emily. The challenge is real, and as we’ve seen so far, the ingredients have been quite impossible, so the final basket will make it anyone’s game.
FN Dish caught up with Robert on the set of the tournament to find out his strategy for the wild-card round. He reveals his competitive strengths and the way he plans to approach the basket. He also talks about how it was judging the chefs and what it’s been like mentoring them to bring out their best in competition.
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.
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.”
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.