Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Cafe Tavolini, Bridgeport, CT, where husband and wife Keith and Lisa bought the restaurant with no experience in the restaurant industry. Lisa’s son Van says the place is constantly empty. The staff are frustrated that the couple watch the restaurant via CCTV from home, they are in $350,000 of debt and their marriage is suffering. As Gordon arrives, Van gets in the car for a chat and explains that step dad Keith is only at the restaurant because he knows that Gordon is coming. Inside he is greeted by Keith and Lisa and asks how often they are at the restaurant, they claim to be there most nights. After Chef Ramsay asks server Ricky to send Keith to his table, he discovers he has already left.
Gordon sits down to lunch and orders Tavolini's "grandmother's meatball salad", stuffed clams and the pan roasted salmon with risotto. He says the salad is "an insult to grandmothers", he can’t find the clams, the salmon is undercooked and cold in the middle and the risotto was made yesterday. He tells them that the food was a disgrace. Lisa says that they aren’t making any money, their house was foreclosed on and that she is considering divorcing Keith.
Gordon observes a dinner service that evening, the food starts going out of the kitchen suspiciously quick and he discovers that dishes are cooked in advance and kept in the refrigerator to be reheated. The kitchen soon falls apart and Gordon seeks to find the owners for answers and they are found, sat in their car eating. Michael tries his hardest to turn the service around. Gordon confronts the owners telling them that they are abusing the restaurant and they walk out. The next morning Gordon boards up the restaurant with closed signs to shock them as the restaurant will soon close if things don’t change.
Gordon introduces a new family style menu to help them stand out from other restaurants. He introduces a Tuscan bean soup and an olive oil cake. He also gets both owners working in the restaurant, Lisa as a server and Keith will create and promote a cocktail to the customers. Lisa and Keith settle into their roles well and the diners love the new menu, however the customers who ordered from the old menu are kept waiting and are disappointed with the food. The food gets backed up and Gordon tells Lisa that they can't run a restaurant with so many menu items. Keith walks out again and Michael once again has to step up to rescue the service.
The restaurant is given a makeover and the kitchen is extended giving the chefs the much needed extra room. He also extends the family style menu and adds a la carte options. Relaunch night starts off well, in the kitchen Michael is sending out the appetizers quickly and the customers are impressed until the tickets get mixed up in the kitchen and it all falls apart, slowing down and the customers are left waiting. Gordon tells Keith to sort it all out and he goes behind the line. He manages to somehow sort out the fiasco and the kitchen recovers, sending out dishes to happy customers and overall the relaunch was a success.
What Happened Next?
In the weeks after filming, Keith and Lisa did not commit to managing the restaurant, the relationship was beyond repair and they separated. They closed in December 2011, their answerphone had a message saying they were closing briefly for "medical reasons" but a For Sale sign appeared on the building not long after. Many customers were disappointed as they had purchased gift certificates and a complaint was made to the Attorney General. The closure appears to be due to struggling to pay rent, vendors and with debts including tax owed to the city. Their relationship could not be saved and Lisa and Keith separated. Some of the staff including Chef Michael Sirico, who Gordon was impressed by, are now working in B Line Bar & Grill in Black Rock.
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