Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Kitchen Nightmares - Cafe Tavolini - CLOSED

Kitchen Nightmares Cafe Tavolini


Episode Recap


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.

Extra Reading


Cafe Tavolini Yelp Reviews

Black Rock restaurant closing sparks AG investigation

A "Kitchen Nightmare" @ Cafe Tavolini in Bridgeport



Read About More Kitchen Nightmares

15 comments:

  1. Few weeks after filming. Not good!

    http://realitytvmagazine.sheknows.com/2011/02/09/kitchen-nightmares-cafe-tavolini-closes-just-weeks-after-filming/

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  2. Maybe the blog owner should ad: Stupidity of owner: 11/10

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  3. I felt sorry for the son in this one. He seemed very intelligent and genuinely cared and tried his best but his parents continued to make a wreck of things. I think he has a bright future if the wreckage of his parents' divorce and debt doesn't interfere.

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  4. I agree that Van was a bright spot. It's to harsh to call anyone stupid even if they are. We are humans and there is nothing impressive as a human race except how we continue to find ways to f*** each other in every way. I do hope Van and his sister never give up whatever they pursue in their lives. I don't see them failing at anything hey want to pursue. I was impressed with their professional manners.

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  5. If you watch the episode, "Van" is referred to once as "VJ". "Van" is a name he adopted for the show, and he was one reason why the restaurant got so bad to begin with. Michael was an excellent waiter, as were the old staff before the owners decided to have the kids be the staff. The B Line Bar & Grill closed after two weeks, and there's now a seafood raw bar where Tavolini used to be.

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    1. You're retarded if you think Van is the reason the restaurant was bad. Shitty management, owners just running off and leaving their kids to run the damn thing...yea, blame it on the poor kid left to pick up the pieces, not, you know, the people who own the damn thing. You're insane.

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    2. I was a regular patron of that place, and I stopped going after they let the good staff go, and let "Van" (who always went by "VJ" up until that show aired; you can even hear his sister call him that) become the head server. He spent most of the time texting and fixing his hair.

      It's too bad, because it was a wonderful restaurant at one time.

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    3. Who gives a sh*t what his name is? Maybe VJ is his nickname and he wanted to go by his full name...who cares? Keith is a lazy POS and I wouldn't be surprised if he physically abuses everyone in that family. When he mumbled in Van's ear, "don't make me elbow you", it was just creepy and a red flag. He also said, "he's YOUR kid!" to his mom. He didn't care about anyone but himself and I have a feeling that Lisa stayed with him way too long. That's her bad! She didn't put her kids first. Van's a kid and I can't even imagine how bad it must have been growing up with that douche-bag Keith. Who opens a restaurant with NO experience? Good riddance.

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  7. God where the owners stupid indeed. Felt so sorry for the kids, especially Van. He seemed like a bright kid, dedicated and loyal. If the kids were not related to the mom, I am sure both would have left ages ago. So sad. Hope the kids are alright, both have huge potential, just because they work hard and are honest.

    The owners were quite the contrary. Keith is a no good s.o.b. and the type that would molest his wife and step children. Really a nasty character this guy. The mom is totally oblivious. Unbelievable that when you invest so much money in a restaurant that you could not care less how it is being operated. They got what they deserved, sadly the kids deserved a lot better.

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  8. This is completely ridulous to say but anyone know if Van/VJ has an Instagram or Facebook??

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    1. I don't know, but keep in mind that Keith was his step-dad, so while Keith and Lisa had the surname Restivo, his and Joli's are more than likely something else.

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  9. I think Chef Ramsey already knew that this was a lost cause, but the show has to go on. These people had no business being in the restaurant business in the first place.

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    1. You hit the nail on the head,they were clueless. Im thinking another blogger was right too about the old staff before the kids,as why it did so great at the start, then they brought the kids in. Maybe?

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  10. Im watching these back to back in UK...although old programmes I cant help but think some of the owners just want to get the make over to better sell business on how does programme maker fund this ?.

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