When Robert Irvine visited Frankie’s in Three Rivers, Mich., he found a dusty, outdated restaurant with dangerous levels of food safety and a kitchen stocked with more microwaves than pots and pans. After meeting owners Jay Woehrmyer and Tina Wyman, however, he realized that poor management and a lack of leadership were their biggest problems. Robert had just two days to turn around this 13-year-old restaurant and attempt to fix Jay and Tina’s failing partnership. We checked in with Jay and Tina to find out how they and Frankie’s are doing a few months after their Restaurant: Impossible experience.
Since Robert left, sales at Frankie’s have risen 39 percent, and Jay and Tina report that the makeover is attracting new customers. Both count the new open layout of the restaurant among their favorite parts of the decor.
When Robert Irvine arrived at Gusanoz in Lebanon, N.H., husband-and-wife owners Nick Yager and Maria Limon were struggling to keep their six-year-old restaurant afloat. Locals once flocked to Gusanoz to taste Maria’s authentic Mexican food, but growing pains got the best of the restaurant and Maria had all but lost her passion for the business. Robert faced a big and expensive mess to clean up, from the decor to the tired menu. A few months after their Restaurant: Impossible makeover, Nick filled us in on how the new-and-improved Gusanoz is doing.
After a slow start, Nick reports that sales at Gusanoz are now steadily growing. To improve their bottom line, the owners took Robert’s advice and cut down on labor costs significantly: “Our total labor is approximately 28% weekly, slightly higher than the 27% Robert asked us for, but definitely in the right ballpark,” says Nick.
Food Network superstar chef Robert Irvine will be live-Tweeting the 50th episode of his hit show, Restaurant: Impossible. Tune in and Tweet along with Food Network and Robert Irvine starting at the show’s all-new time: 9pm/ 8c. Follow @FoodNetwork and @RoberIrvine1 and share your commentary using the hashtag: #RestaurantImpossible.
In honor of the 50th episode of Restaurant: Impossible, “Behind the Impossible,” Robert Irvine sat down with us at the Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival at Caesars Hotel & Casino (where he spent time as their culinary director at the beginning of his career) to share some of his most memorable moments from past seasons. While he did have a party in Philadelphia to celebrate the milestone, he’s already filming future episodes saying, “it’s 50 and then we keep on going.”
1. At The Main Dish in Meridianville, Ala., Robert turned a sad and neglected restaurant into a comfortable, sophisticated eatery, and gave a new lease on life for Lynn and Ken Tverberg. Check out how the restaurant is doing now in our Restaurant Revisited.
Get Robert’s top four moments
Robert and Gail’s fairy-tale wedding was brought to life on a sunny day in May at the Charles Krug winery in St. Helena, Calif. Not only did their wedding include best man Guy Fieri, but Robert set the scene and menu for his bride with help from friends Michael Chiarello, Beau MacMillan, Elizabeth Falkner and Masaharu Morimoto.
For their honeymoon, the couple satisfied their craving for adventure and great food with an excursion to Greece. We recently spoke with the newlyweds about their trip — the sights they took in and, more importantly, their favorite eats.
In Athens, Greece, Robert and Gail took in the best sights this capital city had to offer. They booked a guided tour of the ruins of the Parthenon, a temple to the Greek goddess Athena, which sits atop the Acropolis. On a worldwide tour in preparation for the London summer games, the Olympic cauldron made a quick stop at the Parthenon on the same day Robert and Gail visited the site. “We had perfect timing to see the Olympic flame (pictured above) and meet the runner who was passing the torch,” the couple said.
Get Robert and Gail’s 5 Best Honeymoon Eats in Greece
It’s a sunny Thursday in May at the Charles Krug winery in St. Helena, Calif., and Guy Fieri is giving Robert Irvine a shoulder massage.
In a few minutes, Robert will be marrying his girlfriend of three years, professional wrestler Gail Kim, and Guy, one of Robert’s best men, is giving the usually unshakable Restaurant: Impossible host a rubdown to calm his nerves. Just a half hour earlier, Robert was singing a different tune: “I feel the calmest I’ve ever been. I haven’t screamed, not once,” he said as he looked over the grounds where the cocktail hour and reception would take place. This whole wedding is his brainchild — conceived, planned and executed with the same military efficiency Robert brings to the massive two-day restaurant overhauls on his show. But today it won’t be a restaurateur who is dazzled by his work; it will be Gail. Robert has kept her in the dark about the details of the party, including the main event: the food.
“No one goes in there until I say it’s OK!” Robert barks, pointing to the venue. (So much for not screaming.) Satisfied with how everything looks, he throws back a beer in five gulps and keeps moving; the ceremony is about to start.
With Guy at his side, Robert beams as his daughters, Annalise, 15, and Talia, 11, read poems to the crowd, then he lets out an audible sigh of relief when Guy produces the ring and he exchanges vows with Gail.
Read more »
We have a star-studded cast available to answer your questions this week on Food Network’s Facebook page.
Join us Monday at 3:30pm EST on the Food Network Facebook page to chat with past Food Network Star winner Melissa d’Arabian about the release of her first cookbook, Ten Dollar Dinners.
And on Tuesday we’ll be hosting a chat with Robert Irvine on the Food Network Facebook page to talk about the 50th Restaurant: Impossible episode, which will premiere August 22 at 9p/8c. We’ll also be chatting about Wedding: Impossible, a special presentation that airs Saturday August 18 at 10p/11c and features Robert’s wedding to professional wrestler Gail Kim.
Mark your calendars and get your questions ready for Melissa and Robert.
In Stratford, Conn., Michael Savoie and his mother Cami needed Robert’s help to keep their 15-year-old Italian restaurant, Stella’s, alive. Despite working exhausting 90-hour weeks, Michael was clueless about food costs and lacked the leadership skills to effectively manage his staff. From management to decor, Robert and his team gave Stella’s a complete overhaul. We checked in with the Savoies a few months later to see how business is going.
In the months following their Restaurant: Impossible intervention, sales at Stella’s are up 20 percent.
Michael is letting his mother have access to the business financials. He now has a better grip on how to manage food costs. As the new general manager of Stella’s, Cami is also handling the catering side of the business and helping to keep costs down.
At Italian Village in Milmont Park, Pa., Rob Mellon Sr. and his son Rob Jr. desperately needed Robert Irvine’s help to return their 30-year-old restaurant to its early glory days. It was a big job: Robert and his team not only had to overhaul the menu and dark interior, but also remedy long-standing issues between father and son that were hurting the business. We checked in with the owners a few months after their Restaurant: Impossible intervention to see how the restaurant is faring.
Since Robert and Restaurant: Impossible visited, sales at Italian Village are up 18%.
The owners took Robert’s advice and reduced the number of menu items to about 30. Robert’s recipe for Drunken Penne remains on the menu and is a big hit: “Almost every night, somebody orders it,” says Rob Sr.
At Zandi’s in Millersville, Md., sisters and co-owners Evette Aponte and Yvonne Zandi were just a few months from closing down when Robert Irvine showed up. He was discouraged to find not only lackluster food, poor service and tired decor, but a lack of passion on the part of the owners. A few months after their emotional Restaurant: Impossible makeover, we checked in with Evette and Yvonne to see how business is going.
Since Robert’s Restaurant: Impossible intervention, sales at Zandi’s are up 39%. They’ve gone from roughly 30 customers per day up to 70. Evette and Yvonne are slowly catching up on their debt and will soon be able to start paying their mother back.