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 Joseph Erdos in Shows, November 10th, 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, November 5th, 2015
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.
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 Books, Contests, Food Network Chef, October 19th, 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 Erin Hartigan in Events, October 18th, 2015
As committed as Robert Irvine is to executing top-notch dishes in the kitchen and giving struggling restaurateurs a second chance at success on Restaurant: Impossible Ambush (premiering Thursday, Oct. 22 at 9|8c), he’s also a fierce fitness guru, dedicated to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and inspiring others to do the same. In his brand-new book, Fit Fuel: A Chef’s Guide to Eating Well, Getting Fit, and Living Your Best Life, Robert breaks down the ins and outs of what it takes to “fuel your life”: just a handful of “principles,” including “Eat real food” and “Believe you can change.”
Part cookbook, part pep talk and part handy exercise manual, Robert’s brand-new publication doesn’t just talk the talk of what it takes to get in shape, but it also walks the walk as Robert personally demonstrates how to complete some of the best moves, and explains the whys and hows behind them. And with his recipes for every meal of the day — even dessert — Robert proves that the journey to fitness success doesn’t have to mean boring, bland meals. Think satisfying fare like Sesame Shrimp Chopped Salad, Roast Chicken, Vegetables & Parsnip Puree and A Better Carrot Cake.
by Maria Russo in Food Network Chef, Shows, October 13th, 2015
Pigging out took on even greater meaning during the New York City Wine & Food Festival on Saturday night at Pigs N’ Pints, where pork enthusiast Robert Irvine hosted a party packed with barbecue, bacon and plenty of booze.
by Maria Russo in Shows, May 13th, 2015
For the past 11 seasons of Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine has given seemingly hopeless restaurateurs second chances at success, completing dream transformations, both within the four walls of the eateries and beyond, as he’s worked with owners to evolve their business savvy. On the brand-new season of Restaurant: Impossible Ambush, he’ll do all of that again — but this time, the owners don’t know he’s coming.
Premiering Thursday, Oct. 22 at 9|8c, Restaurant: Impossible Ambush will show what happens when Robert and his team drop by unannounced, all set to take over an unsuspecting owner’s business, and what results simply cannot be anticipated. From pure elation to downright dissatisfaction, the reactions to Robert’s impromptu renovations are as variable as the issues plaguing the failing eateries. If you thought that owners were shocked — and perhaps a bit annoyed — by Robert’s advice even when they requested it, imagine what might ensue when he shows up without an invitation.
Just in time for this month’s premiere, Robert gave FN Dish an insider’s look at what’s ahead on Ambush. Read on below for an exclusive interview with the host and find out what he wants to say to the stubborn owners he’s met along the way.
What can fans expect from the Ambush renovations? How are these episodes different than past Restaurant: Impossible shows?
Robert Irvine: Crazy! For 11 seasons [of] Restaurant: Impossible, the viewers knew that the guests, or the people I was going to help, knew I was coming. I was the only one that didn’t know where I was going. Season 12 Ambush, let me tell you, they have no idea I’m coming, and I have no idea where I’m going. And what happens when I walk in the door truly is up to them: how they react, how I speak to them, how they lose their cool. And do they want me there? That’s the big question. … I’ve got to tell you, it’s not like any other Restaurant: Impossible we have ever, ever done. It’s exciting. It is gripping. It’s chilling. It’s nail-biting. And you’ll never know what’s going to happen, ’cause every turn is something different.
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.”