Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Kitchen Nightmares - Classic American - CLOSED

Classic American Kitchen Nightmares
In this Kitchen Nightmares episode, Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Classic American, West Babylon, NY, owned by best friends Colleen and Naomi, they started out as waitresses before buying the restaurant in 2000. Colleen made her son the chef and her boyfriend Dom the "manager". Gordon arrives and is greeted by Dom who tells him he was in the building industry before working at the restaurant. He sits down with Colleen and Naomi and they tell him that they paid nearly $700,000 for the business and property. Gordon orders the fried calamari, the Bomb Burger and Mac & Cheese. Gordon is not impressed with the store bought, microwaved mac & cheese, the calamari is chewy and the Bomb Burger is chewy and lacks seasoning. Gordon sends the burger back to the kitchen and the chef agrees with Gordon. Gordon then tells the owners his opinions of the restaurant and doesn't hold back! Colleen starts to cry and tells Gordon that neither her or Naomi haven't paid themselves in over a year. 

Gordon arrives to witness a dinner service, Naomi tells Gordon she is good with the customers but spends most of the night in the kitchen. Gordon discovers that the waitresses have to hand write the orders as the computer broke and they can't afford to replace it. The food leaves the kitchen quickly but it is also returned quickly and halfway through the service they run out of burgers and clean drinking glasses. Gordon calls a staff meeting the next morning and gets the staff to anonymously write down a question. One question asked is why Colleen gets so frustrated with the waitresses and she says they are often texting and ignoring the customers. Naomi is labelled too much of a pushover and admits she is in friend mode rather than boss mode. The main issue raised is with Dom and the restaurant constantly running out of menu items, he says as he isn't there every night but Gordon tells him as he is doing the ordering he should check what they need. Dom then walks out swearing and throwing things about in the back room.

For dinner service, Gordon asks Colleen to expedite in the kitchen and Naomi to be front of house. He also introduces a new slider special. They only have 13 menus as they couldn't afford to get more printed and whilst the diners love the new sliders they are not impressed with the old menu. Gordon notices a pathetic plate of broccoli and tells them that if they are going to serve that they might as well close. Gordon tells them he is going to make huge changes and he gives the restaurant a massive makeover. The interior is modern, a new computer system is in place and there are enough menus for each diner. The menu also has a makeover with dishes added and improvements made to their burgers.  For relaunch night, Colleen is in the dining room while Naomi leads the kitchen. The night gets off to a bad start when the customers arrive and the waitresses are out smoking. They soon recover and the food begins to leave the kitchen. The diners are thrilled but Gordon is unsure as they fall apart when they are busy. A few dishes slip through with lower quality but are noticed by Gordon. Overall, the night was a success and Gordon tells them they can be a huge success if they don't drop their standards.

What Happened Next? 


Gordon revisits and Colleen and Naomi both look much happier. Colleen is in charge of the front of house and Naomi is in charge of the kitchen. Kevin is still cooking in the kitchen and business is up 35%. Dom is still buying the ingredients but is no longer in the kitchen. Gordon orders the meatloaf and thinks it is delicious, a 10.5/10. Colleen starts talking to him and Gordon continues eating so it must have been good! They are both very appreciative of his help. Gordon has a surprise from them both, he presents them with Long Islands Best Burger Award from Good Times magazine. Yelp reviews were mostly positive after the show was filmed.

Classic American closed in August 2013, posting the below on their website

"It is with a heavy heart that I tell you all that Classic American Restaurant has closed.

I would like to thank all of our employees, friends, family and loyal customers for your support and patronage for the last 13 years. It has been our pleasure to serve you!

Thank You!

Colleen

We will still be offering our catering services and can be reached through facebook."
Classic American aired on January 28 2011, the episode was filmed in November 2010 and is Kitchen Nightmares season 4 episode 2.

14 comments:

  1. I have eaten there a few times since the relaunch. Never had any issues, food was very good. Ordered take-out last night from here & it was excellent. The place was busy(on a Tuesday night).

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  2. So glad to hear these ladies are doing good. I was really rooting for them.

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  3. Sorry to be the harbinger of bad news, but as of the 2nd week of September 2013, the restaurant is shuttered and has a building for sale sign on the property. I confirmed by going to the restaurant's website and they have indeed closed. I will say I was at the restaurant once and the food was excellent after the Gordon Ramsey makeover. But the truth be told, that $11 for a hamburger is a bit up there. Across the board the restaurant was pretty expensive. But I think the big shortcoming was the size of the place. With less than a dozen tables, I wouldn't be surprised that many people couldn't even get into the place at dinner time. Anyway, sorry to see it close down. I thought this was going to be one of the successful 'Kitchen Nightmares" places, after most of the ones he did on Long Island already closed down.

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  4. They lasted nearly three years after the makeover. Most new restaurants, opening without the accumulated operating deficits that Classic American carried, don't last that long. This was not a failure by Gordon Ramsay and if the makeover allowed them to pay down some of their debt, it's not a failure on their side, either.

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  5. Ah at least this one did not have old food issues wonder why the "Health inspectores seem to miss all those with storage issues"?

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  6. Well, they did have to pay off a near Million $ debt. Also, remember, they didn't own the property, they could've been kicked out at any time.

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    1. they did own the property. they had to pay for it separate from the restaurant.

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  7. Internet comment battles are so weird... they make me ashamed to be human.

    Back to the topic that should be at hand, does anyone have any more info on exactly what happened with this restaurant? Was the debt just too overwhelming? If it were still open, I'd have driven over there from an hour away just because the owners and employees came across as being so charismatic and good-intentioned.

    My best wishes for Colleen and Naomi. Even if this one didn't work out, I hope you guys know you're really kind, level-headed, capable, wonderful people, and you have my confidence that whatever you try next will. Don't give up.

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  8. It's unfortunate that so many restaurants, in general, close because of owners who are clueless as to how to run a restaurant, and waitressing in a restaurant does not qualify you to do so. At the beginning of the episode, one of the owners stated she knew everything about running a restaurant, obviously not. Even more appalling, as we have seen on other KN episodes, owners of failing restaurants whose only experience is that they ate in one. As a female and the owner of my own business, I love to see women succeed in business, but take the time to really learn ALL aspects of the business you want to own and then run with it.

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  9. Given that the average life expectancy of a restaurant is 5 years, with the majority of new ones closing within 1 year, I think they did well to last as long as they did.

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    1. Agreed, it did look as if they were doing well after Gordon's visit but at the same time they did have a lot of debt. But they were one I think would have given it their all before closing as they had a great attitude towards Gordon's changes.

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  10. This is really very sad to hear about this restaurant closing down the way it had done so recently. We never had a chance to eat there my family, what with me busy and everything with my lawn care business. My wife was always bothering me to "take everyone there..." and "Come on let's give this place a try.." You know cause she seen it on TV and I like that Kitchen Nightmares show. Anyways we never made it. But this is sad to see and we wish the owners the best out there with whatever they are doing today.

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  11. It's a great scam when your restaurant is failing.
    Just call Gordon Ramsey and he will refurbish the place and make it more valuable.
    Then you just need to sell it and you'll clear your debt right away.

    This is the intention of most of the restaurant owners when they contact Kitchen Nightmares.
    And that is why most of them are closed now.

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    1. That's not how it works. Most of the time, the sale of the restaurant doesn't cover the debt (many of the places are $300k to a million in the hole. They also most likely owe back taxes on top of it. Very seldom does a restaurant break even or make money in a sale.

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