Friday, 7 December 2012

Kitchen Nightmares - Ms Jean's Southern Cuisine - OPEN

Kitchen Nightmares Ms Jean's Southern Cuisine

Episode Recap

Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Ms Jean's Southern Cuisine, Wilkinsburg, Philadelphia, the restaurant opened 12 years ago by retired teacher Jean Gould . She was persuaded to open a restaurant after cooking for her local church . The cooks think that she has an attitude problem and has split personality. When customers complain Jean argues with them and accuses them of lying. She deep in debt and the restaurant is empty on most nights. Jean approaches Gordon at his hotel with a peach cobbler in one hand. She asks him to talk before they go to the restaurant. She says her biggest problems are the staff, who are always on their phones, are lazy and that she is doing everyone’s jobs. Gordon arrives at the restaurant and there is no-one there to greet him. He meets the staff and tells them what Jean said about them, they retaliate by saying that she has an attitude.

Gordon sits down to try the menu and tries to order key soul food dishes such as chitlin dinner, fried corn, red beans, black eyed peas, whiting, veggie platter, sweet potato pie and  mashed potato, only to find out that none of them are available, as well as no gravy! He then orders pork chops, ribs and mac and cheese. His iced tea is “like sugar syrup” and he sends it back. He gets up for a walk about and finds Ms Jeans exercise bike in the corridor. He speaks to two customers and noticing that the  bun on the burger was soggy sends her food back. Gordons ribs arrive first,  they have a weird saltiness as if they have been in a brine. The mac and cheese arrives still sizzling and bubbling from the microwave. He says it is depressing, bland and overcooked. The pork chop is cooked in a full pan of grease and  it looks sad and depressing on a plate alone, it is also as dry as a mouthful of sand. Ms Jean tastes the dishes he returns and she does not take the criticism well saying he doesn’t know anything about soul food.

Gordon returns to watch a dinner service he compares the reception to be like a waiting room for a doctors surgery and has some banter with the staff and customers. There is chaos in the kitchen as the orders are stuck on the fridge. Jean attempts to control the kitchen but the servers decide they are going to do their own thing. Surprisingly the food gets out to the dining room but the customers are not impressed. Gordon ventures out to reception to find the hostess on the cell phone and after an exchange she quits. Gordon notices that a lot of chicken is being returned to the kitchen and discovers that the chicken is leftover from lunch.

 Jean breaks down in a big way and you can see her genuine anguish (it actually made me cry) and how much her staff really do care.  After what Gordon has witnessed he sits down Jean and the Chefs and they agree to work together and improve the current “horrendous” system. Gordon takes Jean and her staff to a theatre to show them “The Other Side of Ms Jean”. The short film features critique by past customers, who won't return as she doesn’t care, is mean and does not treat the customers well. Jean apologises to everyone she feels have been treated bad and promises that she is a new Ms Jean. Gordon gives the restaurant one of the biggest makeovers he has ever done and he has nearly doubled the capacity from 45 to 75 seats. Gordon also revamps the menu, the new food is southern comfort food with a fun twist including catfish po’boy, barbecued pulled pork sliders, oxtail and blacked or fried catfish, they samplethe menu and are delighted with it.

For relaunch night, the Mayor comes out and Gordon puts Jean in charge of the kitchen and the staff respond well to the new leadership and new system. Appetisers make their way out to the customers quickly and they are impressed with the new menu. The front of house lets down the service by not responding when their food is ready. The servers are under pressure and Marissa starts to feel the pressure and breaks down. Gordon stops the service temporarily and Jean gives her a pep talk. The Mayor is impressed with the food as are the other customers. Gordon chats to them all after service and declares that “Ms Mean” has left the building.

What Happened Next?

In the following days, the Mayor awarded Jean for her years of service to the community and June 3rd was declared Ms Jeans day. Ms Jeans is still open as Jean's Southern Cuisine but has moved to a new location, 807 Wallace Avenue, Wilkinsburg PA 15221.  Reviews are mixed but more recent reviews are positive.

Extra Reading

Jean's Southern Cusine Yelp Reviews

'Kitchen Nightmares' versus 'Ms. Jean's Southern Cuisine' Pittsburgh

Gordon Ramsay redoes Miss Jean's Southern Cuisine in Wilkinsburg (Review)

Read About More Kitchen Nightmares
Read More »

Friday, 30 November 2012

Kitchen Nightmares - Mill Street Bistro - CLOSED

Kitchen Nightmares Mill Street Bistro

Episode Recap

Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Mill Street Bistro in Norwalk, Ohio ran by Joe Nagy, a very pretentious chef who is in denial about his restaurant. Joe opened the business with no restaurant experience after losing his job in food sales. His staff aren't happy about the way he treats them or the food they are serving. Joe claims it is fresh, farm to table but it is actually frozen, freezer to table. Joe talks down to his staff and blames them for problems that arise in the restaurant. The comment cards focus on Joes poor customer service skills and the way he talks to the customers. He believes he is a kitchen nightmare as he has no bums in seats.

Gordon invites Joe to his farm to show off his ranch where the produce from the restaurant allegedly comes from. Joe tells Gordon that people think he is pretentious but he isn't he is just passionate. Skinny the goat tries to butt Gordon, haha. Gordon is excited after visiting the farm and is excited to taste his food. Gordon isn't impressed with the name badges that the staff are wearing as it is not a chain restaurant and asks his server to take hers off. The server says the problem is the way Joe interacts with the staff. He asks for the "specials" and is told that they are referred to as "features". Gordon order the elk feature, the fish trio, scallops en croute, vegetarian ravioli primavera, onion soup, oyster rockefeller and the elk quesadilla. Gordon asks the staff to introduce themselves to him and ditch the name badges. The french onion soup is greasy, watery and short on cheese and onions, the oyster rockefeller has bitter oysters and the oil garnish is all over the oysters, the scallop en croute has micro carrots as a garnish, the scallops are like bullets and the pastry is raw the quesadilla is chewy and tough, the vegetable ravioli is covered in the same oil garnish and is ice cold, the fish trio is dry, rubbery and greasy and tastes if out the freezer and finally the elk feature is tough as old boots and impossible to chew. Gordon describes the food as farm to garbage can and is shocked to hear the elk feature costs $35. Joe shows his true colours and believes that some things in the restaurant are below him and should be handled by staff and not the owner of the restaurant. Gordon leaves the restaurant to grab a bite elsewhere and Joe is not impressed.

Gordon returns for dinner service and to give his opinion of the food, he wasn't impressed with anything and did not take more than 2 bites of anything. Joe reveals that the fresh catch of the day is actually frozen. Joe is defensive of his food and Gordon tells him he is in denial. Gordon tells Joe to prove him wrong at dinner service. Gordon notices the huge Quiet sign in the kitchen and Joe tells Gordon there is to be no talking in the kitchen. The food leaves the kitchen at a reasonable pace and the food leaves without Joe telling them where it is going. The food does not go down well with the customers and many dishes are returned to the kitchen. A diner finds a stone in her ravioli and Joe tells Gordon he is over critical. Gordon had reached out to an ex employee and she calls to say she is outside. She quit a month ago after being constantly criticised. She has a catalogue of photos on her phone of old, terrible food and the packages of bought in meat. Gordon decides to investigate the food storage and finds frozen out of date food, half frozen food and the frozen oysters served to him at lunch. Gordon and Joe descend into a massive yelling match and Joe throws Gordon out the kitchen.

Part 2

The second part of Mill Street Bistro returns to Gordon and Joes argument over the onion soup continuing. After the argument, they agree to draw a line in the sand and make things better in the restaurant. The next morning, Gordon calls the staff into a meeting, they let out their frustrations about Joe, who is secretly watching the meeting in another room. The staff are fed up and all admit to being on the edge of quitting the restaurant. After they have got all their frustrations off their chests Gordon reveals that Joe has been listening to them and brings Joe out to face his staff. He realises he needs to soften up with the staff and tells them he is 100% committed to change but they don't believe he can. Gordon tells Joe that he thinks the prices at the restaurant are too high. To demonstrate he brings out bags of fresh groceries with enough fresh food to cook five meals a week and compares the value to a meal at the Bistro. Joe agrees that the restaurant is too expensive. Gordon meets with Joe and Tom to show them some new affordable dishes including a burger and a walleye dish.

Gordon arrives for a dinner service, testing the new dishes to see how the locals react to them. The kitchen however cannot cope and it falls apart as the communication breaks down and orders get muddled. Gordon encourages Joe to bounce back from it but instead they break out into another heated argument. Gordon shouts at Joe to get out of the kitchen so that he can help Tom to recover and finish the service while an agitated Joe shares his complaints with the customers. After the service Gordon tells Joe that he can no longer be in the kitchen. The next day, the revamped menu is revealed to the staff and he brings in consultant chef Brian Goodman to help. The new menu features confit duck, seasonal fish, elk sausage burger and an elk chilli.

On relaunch night, the kitchen runs smoothly with Chef Brian expediting and the customers love the new menu and the quality of the new food. Joe serves a fish dish to the wrong table causing confusion but the food is returned to the kitchen, new dishes cooked and a complimentary dish served to compensate for the error but other than this the relaunch is a great success and food is returned to the kitchen.

What Happened Next? 

In the months that followed, the menu has been slightly changed, keeping most of Gordons menu and there has been some staffing changes, servers Jen, Kayleigh and Rebecca are gone as is Chef Tommy. Joe is back as Head Chef. In December 2013, Joe renamed the restaurant and relaunched as Maple City Tavern, a family friendly restaurant and the reviews are mostly negative. In January 2014, Gordon's production team paid £900 compensation to Joe in respect of items found to be missing after filming. The restaurant closed in June 2015.

Extra Reading

Mill Street Bistro Yelp Reviews

Gordon Ramsay forks out £900 compensation payment after explosive row with restaurant owner Joe Nagy

Mill Street Bistro to become family-friendly tavern 

Gordon Ramsey has a kitchen nightmare as restaurant owner calls in cops after filming

Can Chef Ramsay revive Mill Street Bistro?

Maple City Yelp Reviews

Read More »

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Kitchen Nightmares - Levanti's American Bistro - CLOSED

Kitchen Nightmares Levanti's American Bistro

Episode Recap

Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Levanti's Italian Restaurant, in Beaver, Pennsylvania, opened in 1998 by Dino Fratangeli using his fathers life savings. He struggled running the business alone so sister Tina sold her business to be able to help Dino at the restaurant. Things started to decline when a rival restaurant down the street and from there on out their relationship began to suffer. The staff however do not believe the problem is the new competition, they believe the problem in Tina and Dino. They are serving poor food, they argue a lot and they do not know how to run a restaurant. The customers are not impressed with the food either. When the subject of what is wrong comes up they merely blame the finger at each other. The relationship is so strained that Dino walked away from the restaurant for over a year to get away from the pressure. As the restaurant is not making money their father Tony has been supporting them financially and if the restaurant fails he is set to lose around $250,000 and has been kept in the dark about their dire situation. 

Gordon arrives and decides to sit down with the brother and sister team to find out what the problems are in the restaurant. They disagree over everything and an argument breaks out. Gordon sits down to order food, he orders stuffed banana peppers, Italian stuffed filet mignon cooked medium rare and the chicken carletta capellini. The Carletta sauce is their signature sauce that came to Dino in a dream.... Gordon talks to a table of customers to look at their food and discovers they have a problem with their olive oil, it tastes like frying oil. Gordon calls Tina over to discuss the olive oil and discovers that it smells off. He also discovers the month old desert samples and they are rock hard and smelling. These are both removed from the dining room. The filet is a mess, raw and he believes it is frozen. He then wanders into another booth, finding crumbs and says that the restaurant is filthy. Tina can't tell him how often the restaurant is cleaned.  The stuffed banana peppers have way too much cheese, are also frozen and watery and he feels like he's eating donkey d**k. The chicken carletta has too much garlic with chicken hard as a bullet and more like a nightmare than a dream. Gordon says it is the worst Italian food he has ever eaten and he believes the owners no longer care. Getting nowhere with Dino and Tina he goes to talk to Tony, telling him that he is not sure that he can mend the relationship between his children but he will try. Tony reveals that the relationship with his wife is also suffering because of the restaurant.

Gordon witnesses a dinner service, alongside Tony who steps into the kitchen for the first time in months. Gordon discovers that half the stoves no longer work and the kitchen are running with limited capability. No one is expediting the food but somehow the food leaves the kitchen to the diners. They are disappointed with the food and it is sent back to the kitchen. Gordon ventures into the fridge and discovers green, slimy, rotten chicken is being served to the customers alongside mouldy sauce that has fermented. Gordon is angry and tells them to stop serving but does not tell them to shut the restaurant as Dino tells the customers he has. Gordon is frustrated that they have told the customers he is shutting it down so he enters the restaurant and tells them he is stopping the owners serving rotten chicken and sauce caked in mould and he is not going to be a party to it. Gordon finds Tony outside, Tony is embarrassed about the situation and Gordon asks him to get more involved. Tony confronts Dino and Tina with Gordon and threatens to close it and sell it if they don't step up and work together. Gordon has discovered there is a gap in the market for an American Bistro and this will be their new direction. The restaurant is given a makeover with a new modern decor and the booths are gone. There is a new POS system replacing the old loud cash register. Gordon is also bringing in two new consultants to help with the relaunch, helping with both the kitchen and dining room. The kitchen has been refitted with all new top of the range equipment and the menu has been revamped with sweet corn bisque, lamb shanks and pan seared salmon.

On relaunch night, the customers are impressed with the new look of the restaurant but not impressed with the long wait that some are experiencing for their food as Dino struggles to keep the pace in the kitchen and gets confused with the tickets. To get the kitchen back on track the consultants step up to get the kitchen back on track. Although shaky the relaunch was a success overall with happy customers and no complaints. Gordon reflects on the makeover, saying that this is his biggest transformation ever and success lays with the town.

What Happened Next? 

In the following weeks, the consultants continue training Dino and Tina and they are working together as a team. Reviews are mostly good. They actively post on facebook and the photos they post of the food they are serving look absolutely delicious! The restaurant closed as their father Tony retired and they no longer wished to continue with the business. They posted on their Facebook page, before closing the account:

"Hello all! We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your loyalty and patronage over the past 15 years. The people we have met and a lot of the friendships we have made will last a lifetime! We are officially announcing the retirement of our father Tony, and the rest of us are excited to be moving on to pursue other ventures. It has truly been a memorable experience for us over the years and we are saddened to see it come to an end, but anxious to be moving forward. We would also like to announce that we have hand-chosen (and He has hand-chosen us) AWARD WINNING CHEF RICHARD MONTINI (Former Executive Chef at PNC Park) to open his NEW HEIRLOOM RESTAURANT in our location..."

Extra Reading

Read More »

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Kitchen Nightmares - Nino's Italian Restaurant - CLOSED

Kitchen Nightmares Nino's Italian Restaurant

Episode Recap

Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Nino's Italian Restaurant, a 54 year old Italian family restaurant, in Long Beach, California, originally ran by Inge and Vincenzo. Vincenzo left the restaurant as dementia set in at the age of 88. When Vincenzo left the restaurant his eldest son Nino became the manager, much to the annoyance of brother Michael. Nino throws his weight around as the restaurant bears his name but sits in his office watching TV.  Michael and  Carina have come into the restaurant to try to save the business alongside their careers. As a last resort they have bought Gordon in to try save the restaurant as Inge is funding the restaurant with her retirement money. Gordon arrives and says he is back in 1958 and meets Inge. He asks for the family to all sit down together, they rate the food as good and Nino tells Gordon that he works hard in the restaurant. The family disagrees with him and say he is not running the restaurant, an argument breaks out and Michael unloads all his frustrations about his brother.

Gordon sits down to sample the food, he notices many spelling mistakes on the menu. He orders the misspelled egg plant, one meat ball and chicken piccata. As Nino is telling Gordon about his heavy cleaning regime Gordon discovers gum under his table and cobwebs all over the dining room. Nino even shows Gordon pictures of himself cleaning!  The chicken picatta is dreadful with floury and slimy chicken. The one meatball is mush, soggy, bland and dreadful. It was made “2” days ago but the chef says Friday, so 5 days ago. Gordon calls a meeting with the staff and tells them the food was disappointing and that Nino should not be in a position of responsibility. Another argument breaks out between the family.

Gordon arrives to witness a dinner service. He discovers a strange frozen lasagne and dry chicken. He calls Nino into the kitchen to show him and asks Nino to throw it away. The dishes leave the kitchen quickly but  food is sent back to the kitchen. Carina finds Nino sitting out the front eating dinner with Inge and Vincenzo. He goes into the walk in and finds the rotten mushrooms, frozen meatballs, pasta in water, unscaled salmon and worse that were made on “Friday”.  Gordon tells him he is not doing his job properly as a manager. He says he doesn’t have the authority to and that Inge is stopping him, whereas she says he is lazy.  

The next morning, Gordon meets Inge to let her know about his plan, he is going to board up the front of the restaurant as if it is closed and wants Inge to tell Nino that she is shutting the restaurant. Nino arrives to a boarded up restaurant with Inge out front, Nino says he wants to fight to keep the restaurant open. Carina and Micheal do not believe that Nino will step up but they agree to give him another chance. Gordon gives the restaurant a makeover with new family tables. The menu also gets a revamp.

On relaunch night, Gordon puts Nino in charge of expediting in the kitchen. The customers love the new makeover. Food leaves the kitchen at a good pace and the customers enjoy the food. As more orders come into the kitchen, Nino starts to get overwhelmed and the kitchen gets backed up. Michael tries to help and makes things worse, Gordon tells him to leave the line and Nino gets the kitchen back on track. Gordon chats to Michael and tells him to cool down but Michael shows Gordon he isn’t able to put the past to one side. Despite a rocky in places relaunch it is overall a success. They meet after, Michael walks out and is generally negative about the relaunch and changes.

What Happened Next?

In the following weeks, Michael distanced himself from the restaurant and Nino stepped up to take more responsibility. Inge is still running the restaurant and Carina decided to spend more time in the restaurant alongside her day job. The restaurant looks set to be on the road to recovery. Reviewers have said that they have the old menu at lunch and use Gordons new menu at dinner. Reviews are mixed since Gordon visited.

The restaurant closed in August 2016 due to their wishes to retire and spend more time with the family.

Nino's Yelp Reviews
Read More »

Monday, 25 June 2012

Kitchen Nightmares - Barefoot Bobs - CLOSED

Kitchen Nightmares Barefoot Bobs

Episode Recap

Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Barefoot bobs in Hull, Massachusetts, the restaurant is owned by husband and wife Mark and Lisa. They had always worked in the industry and decided to buy their own restaurant, the restaurant is busy is the summer but the customers dwindle 
in the winter. To save money, they sacked the chef and Mark cooks in the kitchen while Lisa runs the front of house. Their relationship is suffering as is the restaurant, upon arriving, Gordon decides to meet with the owners separately to find out the problems. 

Gordon arrives at the restaurant and meets the servers. He sits down to order food and notices that the menu is massive but also dirty. He orders the Bob’s Big Buoy platter, a Bob’s Lobster Roll, as recommended by the server and the New England Clam Chowder. The platter is disgusting and unseasoned. He bypasses the platter, branding it a “big buoy disappointment”. The lobster roll is so full of lobster it is no wonder they are losing money, it's also soggy and untoasted. The chowder is floury, bland with no clams.

Gordon arrives for a dinner service and Gordon is shocked when he sees a psychic in the restaurant giving readings. Gordon licks her crystal ball and asks for a reading, she predicts there is happy ending if they put the work in. The food leaves the kitchen quickly but it is sent back just as quick for being cold, overcooked and soggy. Gordon examines the food storage, he finds it is messy, the food is stored dangerously with cooked food next to raw food and to top it all off it isn’t even cold. He finds 25 old pizzas in a fridge and he pulls out the trays of the oven and discovers they haven’t been cleaned in a long time. Gordon describes them as dysfunctional as they don’t know their break even figure for the restaurant. Gordon sits them down for a talk and Lisa agrees to doing more in the restaurant.

Gordon sets about making his changes. Instead of his usual Chef mentor he introduces a Business Consultant/ Accountant to get them back on track. He works on the menu introducing and teaching the kitchen two new specials, an improved New England clam chowder and Fish and Chips. They visit local towns to promote the restaurant to help the restaurant in the winter months and the restaurant is given a makeover transforming it into a beach side restaurant. The POS system is also updated and will help the restaurant with their inventory.

On relaunch night, Lisa’s brother Robby the Bar Manager hates the new decor and feel of the restaurant and walks out. Gordon arrives and senses something is up and gives him a piece of his mind. Things start to fall apart in the kitchen and the customers begin to get irate. Lisa makes the decision to stop taking orders and slow down to give the kitchen a break. The food begins to go out again and the kitchen is back on track. The customers love the food and Mark and Lisa are working happily as a team.

What Happened Next? 

They reverted to their old menu and were bringing the decor back to the "tiki" feel, they hosted a Kitchen Fantasy viewing party on the night the episode was aired. Post filming reviews look mixed, mainly 1/2 star negative reviews on Yelp but better reviews on Trip Advisor. They closed in December 2016.

Extra Reading

Read More »

Kitchen Nightmares - La Galleria 33 - OPEN

Kitchen Nightmares La Galleria 33

Episode Recap

Chef Gordon Ramsay visits La Galleria 33, Boston, Massachusetts, an Italian eatery opened by sisters Rita and Lisa looking to draw on the success of their father's successful restaurant a few doors down. The staff say they treat customers badly, Lisa drinks and Rita smokes in the restaurant. Ramsay arrives and is confused by the name and how close it is to their father’s restaurant. He is  unimpressed with the decor and discovers Rita’s ex husband is the Head Chef and they often come to blows.

Gordon sits down to order  food and it is a disaster. He discovers that the food is made fresh and then frozen, the “Special”  hasn’t changed in 2 years and that they are out of the one desert they serve! As their fathers restaurant is close by he sends the server to get dessert from there. Their mother Lena brings the desert and Gordon is very impressed, branding it delicious. Gordon steps into the kitchen for a chat and they argue about who is to blame for the menu, Gordon is surprised that Doug doesn’t eat Italian food and is concerned he is not giving his all.

Gordon returns for an evening service and discovers  there is no communication in the kitchen and they are not working together. Gordon is shocked when Doug drops chicken on the floor and then puts it back in the pan. The customers aren’t impressed with the food whilst the owners hide and refuse to speak to the customers. A cold ravioli dish is sent back and Rita starts to argue with the customer. Gordon attempts to keep good relations so he apologises, he knows the customer is always right. As more complaints come in, Gordon decides it is time to inspect the walk in. He discovers dead mussels and orders them to be thrown away. He investigates the pantry and finds rotten food and launches into a rant that no one has any pride or respect for the restaurant. Lisa gets fed up and threatens to walk out, Gordon tells her that if she walks, he walks and there is a scene with each walking opposite ways down the street.

Chef Ramsay has a heart-to-heart talk with the sisters, he wants the sisters to take more control and asks them to make a list of things they want to change in the restaurant. The next day, Gordon calls a staff meeting. The sisters start off by telling the staff they need to stop being lazy which the staff admit to. Rita tells Doug that he can’t take criticism, which leads to an argument. Sarah says she isn’t lazy, Lisa tells her the servers dislike her as she doesn’t share her tips. Sarah walks out and Lisa fires her. Gordon tells the owners they must change too, Lisa agrees to stop drinking and Rita promises to give up the cigarettes.  Rita serves Gordon a tiramisu she has prepared and he loves it.

Gordons next task is to work on the menu. He shows them photos of their food and no one knows what the food is. As there are many competing Italians Gordon introduces a new menu of classic Italian dishes including home made meatballs. Doug is unsure and nervous of the new menu but Gordon introduces a consultant Chef Michael who will stay on for a month to help with the changes to the menu. Michael teaches Doug the new menu and Gordon gives the restaurant a makeover.

On relaunch night, Rita and Lisa step up offering encouragement to the staff and Gordon discovers the servers are not able to describe the new dishes. The staff struggle as they are not trained on the computer system so they revert to handwritten orders. Doug, however pulls it off in the kitchen and with Michaels help they are able to push out the orders and the customers love the new food.

What Happened Next? 

Since filming, both the Yelp and Trip Advisor reviews are mixed, there is a mix of positive, negative and average reviews. The negative reviews appear to focus on poor service.  It appears that after filming a large amount of trash was left on the side walk outside the restaurant. 

Read More »

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Kitchen Nightmares - Spin A Yarn Steakhouse - OPEN

Kitchen Nightmares Spin A Yarn Steakhouse

Episode Recap

Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Spin a Yarn Steakhouse in Fremont, California, Saki bought the restaurant in 1995, he hired Jen as a waitress and they got into a relationship before later marrying and having a child. When the business slowed down Jen persuaded Saki to remodel the restaurant and overspent by $600,000, after this the food quality lowered. The couples daughter reveals that they will go without talking for days, they fight regularly and  are on the verge of divorce. Gordon meets Jen at home, she is nervous that she is seen to be a trophy wife. She also tells him the communication has broken down and is effecting their family life. 

Gordon arrives at the restaurant,  takes a tour of the restaurant and is impressed by the $80,000 bathroom. Saki explains the menu to Gordon and is unsure which cuisine he is serving. Gordon orders the Greek Sampler, crab Louie and a filet mignon. He is not impressed by the food and meets head chef Victor, he tells him that his food is disgusting but he is just following recipes he is given. 

At dinner service he sees Victor washing dishes rather than cooking. Food is sent back and Gordon inspects the kitchen, he finds old meat and rotten vegetables, this results in an argument between the couple. Gordon sits the couple down the next day to discuss the lack of communication and Saki promises to change. For the next service, Saki is expediting in the kitchen and Jen is front of house, carving prime rib at the table.  Jen is nervous about this but with practise she gets the hang of it.

Gordon decides to give them a single cuisine to focus on and transforms the restaurant into Spin A Yarn Steakhouse and the original 200 item menu is slimmed down. On relaunch night Gordon announces that the San Jose Sharks will be eating in the restaurant that evening. The relaunch gets off to a good start with the Prime Rib being a big hit, however Jen is cutting it too thick and they are running low. The relaunch is a success and Gordon praises the couple on their teamwork.

What Happened Next? 

The prime rib remains popular, is drawing in customers and they are working together a lot better.  The restaurant is open and in May 2012, a new head chef was appointed.  Reviews are mixed on Yelp.

Read More »

Kitchen Nightmares - Charlie's Italian Bistro - CLOSED

Kitchen Nightmares Charlie's Italian Bistro

Episode Recap

Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Charlie'sLa Verne, CA, where Tatiana began working at the restaurant as a waitress and was offered the chance to buy the restaurant in 2008. She turned to family to help raising the funds and her mother and sister financed the purchase with their houses as security. Tatiana hasn't changed anything: same name, menu and chef. The staff feel the old menu and bad food are the reason for lack of customers, as well as Tatiana not knowing how to manage a restaurant and not respecting the staff. Her mother and sister are not happy as their homes are at risk if the restaurant does not succeed. Gordon arrives to find there is no Charlie, there hasn't been for a long time and is shocked to learn about the houses at risk. He is also shocked that the family have no say despite them putting all their money in and Tatiana has only put in around $1000. 

Gordon sits down to taste the food, he orders bread, ravioli, frutti di mer, lasagna and Pizza. He is not impressed with the food, the bread was dreadful, the ravioli is raw but the frutti di mer is overcooked. He describes the lasagna as bizarre tasting and the pizza as frozen. Tatiana does not pass the comments to the chef as she trusts chef Casimiro. He inspects the kitchen and finds frozen meatballs and pasta. Gordon decides he wants the chefs to cook the meatballs from scratch, setting a challenge for Casimiro and sous chef Daniella to cook the best meatball, he loves Daniella's. The food goes out slowly as Casimiro only does one ticket at a time and when customers food goes out they are not happy with it. Casimiro burns meatballs and when criticised refuses to cook. Gordon tells Tatiana to step up and she fires Casimiro. 

As the restaurant is missing a chef, Gordon introduces his own chef Jonathan, who will work for them for a month and he will help find a new head chef. Gordon encourages Tatiana to become more involved with the kitchen and teaches her to make lasagna and pizza. Gordon decides to hastily revamp the menu with home made, fresh items. They relaunch the restaurant that evening, the food starts to go out quickly but some customers are not getting their dishes. The problem is discovered to be in communication and Gordon tells them to communicate with Jonathan to get it right. He tells Tatiana to step up with managing the staff. The food goes out quicker and is enjoyed by the customers. Tatiana is no longer embarrassed of the restaurant and the relationships in the family are better.

What Happened Next?

Jonathan stayed on for a month keeping the high standards and helped them to find and train a new head chef. The restaurant is now closed, Yelp reviews after filming were mixed as to whether it has improved.

Extra Reading

Charlie's Italian Bistro Yelp Reviews

David Allen: The heat was on for restaurant's 'Kitchen' visit

Read About More Kitchen Nightmares
Read More »

Kitchen Nightmares - Cafe Hon - OPEN

Kitchen Nightmares Cafe Hon

Episode Recap

Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Cafe Hon in Baltimore, Maryland,  owned by entrepreneur Denise Whiting based on the word Hon. She trademarked the word Hon and it alienated the local people. She threatened to go after anyone who used the word and there are anti hon stickers. Since the "Hon controversy", business has been down and she takes it out on the staff. Gordon stops by a local radio station and discovers that the term hon is extremely important to the culture of the town and that she had threatened legal action against others. 

Gordon arrives and is greeted by Debbie, the manager and Denise. They sit down for a chat, she breaks down and says business is half of the previous year and she has invested the last of her money. She recognises that the problem is the trademarking of the word 'Hon' as the media got involved. Gordon sits down to try the food, he orders the Big Bay Club, English style Fish and Chips and the "Much Better Than Mom's" Meatloaf. On the club, the crab is delicious but the shrimps are stone cold and taste old. The fish and chips is greasy, the fish is dry and the soggy batter is coming away. The meatloaf is dreadful, with no flavour, the broccoli is raw, the mash cold and the gravy over the top swamps the dish. Gordon discovers they are told by Denise that they can't season the fries.

Gordon watches an evening service and Denise comes in and shouts at them all. The food backs up as she insists on showing them how to cook and plate asparagus. Food is sent back for many reasons so she stops serving turkey, steaks, pot pie, catfish, french fries and sweet fries,  leaving them nothing to serve. The customers become frustrated and leave, $800 of food is comped or discounted. Gordon calls a staff meeting, morale is low, they don't like the way they are spoken to and they don't like her management style. They are in fear of being fired if they tell her how they really feel. Manager Debbie calls her a "rude bitch" telling her she treats them like s***, they tell her she is negative, talks down to them and doesn't appreciate or trust them.

Gordon calls a meeting with local residents, they are angry about the 'Hon' trademarking, they think she is just after money and have made a mockery of the citizens. They also think she is a bully as anyone could be issued a cease and desist order and one resident has had a letter. The Maryland State Government had to go to her to approve use of the word hon in their ad campaign and she insisted on creative control! The locals say they will think about returning if she abandons the trademark on 'Hon'. Gordon revamps the restaurant and menu. Gordon makes it clear it is important to reach out to the local area and they go to a local radio station. She apologises and asks for forgiveness, she then gives the trademark back to the people by dropping ownership.  

What Happened Next?

Reviews on Yelp are looking mostly negative but it is hard to tell if these ring true due to her bad reputation with the trademark issue, which  in 2016 is still mentioned in reviews by locals.   Gordon revisited in May 2012 and discovers that residents have began to forgive her as she gave up the trademark on the word Hon. Gordon brands her burger delicious and she is given a commendation for her work in the community. The restaurant was packed with diners but it appears many are not going to forgive her so easily... In May 2013, the restaurant was renovated and redecorated. Reviews throughout 2015 appear to be mostly negative with negative comments on food quality and service.

Read More »

Kitchen Nightmares - Park's Edge - CLOSED

Kitchen Nightmares Park's Edge

Episode Recap

Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Park Edge in Atlanta, Georgia, where first time owners Richard and Jorge have no experience of running a restaurant and have no idea what they are doing. Newly qualified Jorge thinks his food is excellent when in reality it isn't and Richard runs the front of house. The restaurant got in trouble for serving liquor without a license and has had trouble with the neighbours. Gordon arrives and sits the pair down, they say it is not the food that is the problem but that they have made mistakes with the locals. 

Gordon sits down to sample the food and notices the menu has everything on it and describes it as "fusion confusion". He orders the grilled salad, oysters and sesame salmon. He is not impressed by the food describing it as inedible. Gordon discovers that Jorge has little experience and opened the restaurant before even finishing culinary school and says that he shouldn't be running a kitchen,  Jorge walks out. He next chats to Richard about problems in the neighbourhood, he tells him that they put a tent up in the parking lot without a permit, then served liquor without a license and then basically accused the neighbours of being racist. 

Gordon watches a dinner service and is aware early that Jorge does not know what he is doing. The customers are not happy with the food. Richard hides in the back to avoid complaints as he does not know how to handle them and the customers walk out. Gordon inspects the kitchen and finds rotting meat and vegetables which Jorge blames on the staff. Gordon calls a team meeting for the staff to vent their frustration, the owners promise to change.

Gordon knows that they need to rebuild bridges in the community and encourage the owners to go on local news and Richard makes an apology to the neighbours. Gordon revamps the restaurant featuring local art and the menu is simplified. Gordon has his team come in to train the staff on the new menu, chef Matt gets angry and refuses to cook but later he calms down. For the relaunch the restaurant is packed. Jorge steps up and the food is a big hit. Matt starts to get angry again, has an attitude and overcooks the food, Jorge takes him out of the kitchen and continues alone.

What Happened Next?

After filming,  the Yelp and Trip Advisor reviews are mixed but Opentable reviews are mostly good. In October 2011 they failed a health inspection after also having failed previously in February 2011. They closed in early 2014 and were reportedly looking for a new location and hoping to reopen.

Read More »

Kitchen Nightmares - Chiarella's Ristorante - CLOSED

Kitchen Nightmares Chiarella's Ristorante

Episode Recap

Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Chiarella's, PhiladelphiaPA,  owned by Tommy and Dina DeFino who believed they could be as successful as Dina's parents in running  a restaurant. The owners think the food is great but they are alone in thinking it. The staff say whenever there is a problem Tommy disappears into the the workout room in the basement. Gordon arrives to find that Tommy is in the basement. They tell him the food is great and the problem is the lack of customers. He finds out Dina is only there a few days a week and that Tommy thinks he has let down his wife. Gordon discovers that the menu, theme and décor is the same as Dina's parents restaurant. 

He orders steak and veal, the steak is raw and the veal dreadful. Gordon tells them the food is bad and straight out of the 70s, they still stand by the food and are in denial. Gordon witnesses a dinner service and discovers that there is no one expediting in the kitchen and the food just makes it own way out. Most of the dishes are sent back by unhappy customers and Tommy hides from the staff, retreating to his basement workout room when asked by Dina to talk to and help them. The next morning Gordon talks to Dina at home and she denies there is a problem with the food, at which points Gordon threatens to leave. She admits she is scared of change and Gordon tells her the biggest problem is Tommy's depression. Tommy arrives and Dina tells him her feelings and pleads with him to help save the restaurant. 

Tommy returns to the restaurant with a new positive outlook. Gordon wants him more involved in the kitchen and gives him a cookery lesson. Gordon revamps the restaurant and the menu, giving the restaurant a new identity. Gordon also gives them a Chef consultant Mike and on tasting the new food they love it. On relaunch night, Tommy takes charge in the kitchen and the dishes are going out at a fast pace, everyone is happy with their food. Tommy makes a mistake and a table doesn't get their food but Gordon tells him not to let one mistake get to him. The relaunch is a success.

What Happened Next?

Gordon returned a year later, business is up 20% and to increase profit they are to get a liquor license. Tommy is happier and more confident and no longer depressed. Gordon is so pleased with the changes and the ongoing success that he offers to contribute towards their liquor license.

The restaurant closed as of the 30th June 2015, blaming the rising costs of renting the space for the closure. Reviews prior to their closure were mixed.

Read More »

Kitchen Nightmares - El Greco - CLOSED

Kitchen Nightmares El Greco

Episode Recap

Chef Gordon Ramsay visits El Greco in Austin, Texas, a Greek restaurant owned by son Jake and mother Athena. Business was great for the first 6 months but it has gone downhill. Jake only spends a few hours there as he is fed up of being nagged by Athena. The staff feel morale is low and that the food is bad. Athena has put all her money, $800,000 into the restaurant. Gordon arrives and meets them both, Jake is a trained chef but Athena ad sister Kiki also cook and do the prep. Jake turns up late and a fight breaks out. Gordon finds out he is only there 3 hours a day.

Gordon sits down to sample the menu, he orders the stuffed zucchini, the lamb shank and the moussaka. He says the zucchini is like "something out of an alien movie" and the others dishes aren't much better. Server Dustin tells him the food was cooked by chef mike aka the microwave. In the kitchen Jake defends his food as high end quality food and Gordon believes he just doesn't care any more, Athena agrees.

 Gordon observes a dinner service and is amazed that with so much cooking appliances that they use the microwave so much. Jake defends his use of the microwaves by saying he isn't cooking but reheating which astounds Gordon who tells him he needs to respect what he is cooking. The next day Athena and Kiki are left to do the prep and when Jake arrives another fight breaks out. Gordon tells Jake he needs to arrive earlier each day and that the sisters need to back off. Gordon throws chef mike out of a third story window. Jake admits he has lost his passion and Gordon teaches him some Greek dishes. Overnight, Gordon's team revamps the restaurant and the menu is changed.

On relaunch night everything is to be cooked fresh to order. Jake does not delegate and is doing everything in the kitchen, this slows the food leaving the kitchen. Gordon steps in and tells the staff to help him. Things get back on track and the relaunch turns into a success.

What Happened Next?

In the following weeks, progress is made however the debts were too large and too difficult for them to over come and because of this El Grego closed in December 2011. A lot of the staff had left after the episode was filmed. Yelp reviews after his visit were mostly bad with negative comments on both food and service.

Extra Reading

El Greco Yelp Reviews

Post-Gordon Ramsay Departures, Controversy at El Greco

Did Gordon Ramsay Change El Greco For The Worse?

Read About More Kitchen Nightmares
Read More »

Kitchen Nightmares - Michon's - CLOSED

Episode Recap

Chef Gordon Ramsay visits, Michons in College Park, Georgia, AL, a Smokehouse and restaurant owned by Al and Gaye Wilson and daughter Natalie Michon. They named the restaurant after her as they hope to pass it to her one day. Staff say that when it was run by Al it ran smoothly, after he could not work due to a collapsed lung and the resulting surgery the Chefs were running the place badly, serving microwaved food. Natalie is not taking charge and does nothing. Al installed CCTV cameras to be able to see what was happening and is not happy by what he sees and as a result they are in $200,000 of debt. Gordon meets Al and he tells him he wants to retire and hand it over the Natalie but she is not ready.

Gordon arrives and is impressed with the décor but is less impressed when he meets Natalie and hears that she hides in the back. Gordon sits down to order food and is shocked to hear he can't have potato salad as the chefs can't be bothered. Gaye brings him a day old chicken wing, he likes the sauce, little else. He also samples the smoked chicken gourmet salad, brisket and cornbread. The salad has rotten tomatoes, the brisket is like rubber and the cornbread like a mouth of sand. He goes into the kitchen and meets a team of chefs but none are regarded as the head chef. Gordon discovers all his food are microwaved except the salad and walks out.

He returns to watch a dinner service and finds the kitchen reheating food despite having a smoker, they are saving food for later rather than serving fresh out the smoker. He discovers plastic tubs of chicken wings that were cooked days ago. Gordon is not impressed and relays this to Natalie and takes her aside to try to get her to step up and lead the restaurant. Natalie watches a staff meeting via camera with them asking for better leadership. Natalie vows to her parents to step up in order to take over as planned. Her first step is to appoint a head chef and she appoints Terrance.

Gordon revamps the menu adding barbecue classics and also introduces Chef Adam, an experienced barbecue chef to be a consultant for a month. On relaunch night Gordon invites some VIP guests, barbecue experts and at first the kitchen begins to struggle and Natalie steps in to help them regroup. While the chefs are getting back on track Natalie takes the VIPs on a tour of the smokers. The customers are impressed with the food from the new menu and the relaunch is a success.

What Happened Next? 

The College Park restaurant featured on Kitchen Nightmares closed in August 2013. Yelp reviews prior to the closure of the College Park location were mostly negative, highlighting poor service, a long wait and poor food. In March 2012,  the newly opened Downtown Michon's restaurant burnt down in a fire just a few weeks after it's launch. 

**Please note the Peach Tree Center Avenue location is still open**
Read More »

Kitchen Nightmares - Zocalo - CLOSED

Kitchen Nightmares Zocalo

Episode Recap

Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Zocalo, Philadelphia, PA, a Mexican "Soap Opera" restaurant owned by husband Greg and wife Mary, who met through working there together. They bought the restaurant and now it is tearing the marriage apart. Greg is in the kitchen from early morning to late at night and Mary works the Front of House after finishing at her other job, she is bossy and moans at Greg. Their daughters are servers and are upset by witnessing their parents relationship at the restaurant. Gordon arrives and is impressed with the authentic Mexican décor of the restaurant. Gordon sits down with Greg and Mary and discusses the history of their involvement in the restaurant over the years, coming to the present, where they are lacking customers, sales are low and they are largely in debt.

Gordon sits down to eat and comments on the large and expensive menu. Gordon describes the Queso Fundido as "a greasy mess so full of oil" , the Chile Relleno is big, weird looking, salty and dreadful, the Cochinita Pibil has no seasoning, bland and dry and the Molcajete is something out of Harry Potter. He compares it with eating the inside of a golfball, it needs more cooking,  has no seasoning and says that in Mexico they would shoot you for serving it. Gordon meets Greg and tells Greg his feelings on the food and the prices. 

Gordon comes to watch a dinner service and finds that half the kitchen appliances aren't working. Greg uses the microwave, a lot and is trying to do all the cooking himself, making service very slow with customers waiting up to 90 minutes. Mary comes in to shout at Greg about customers orders and when they receive them they are sent back. Gordon sits down with Mary and their daughters with Greg watching to discuss Greg, their marriage and restaurant issues (get the tissues ready I had a few tears here). Gordon then revamps the kitchen giving them a new oven, a new menu and a new tablet ordering system. He meets with a local University and gets some culinary students for in kitchen training and to support Greg.

On relaunch night, Greg is supported in the kitchen and Mary is front of house and running the line. Mary keeps shouting orders at Greg , the communication is poor and the food is backing up. Gordon pulls Mary aside to get her to step up with communication and Greg gets everything back under control and the kitchen runs well. The customers love the new, improved food.

What Happened Next?

 In the weeks after the show, the dinner services got smoother, the students became part of the team and the family and relationship between Greg and Mary was improved. The menu on their website looks delicious with reduced prices. Yelp reviews after the show seem to be mostly average, 2-3/5. The restaurant has since closed, it is reported that it closed for the holidays and did not re-open, it was visited in February 2013 by a blogger but it was  already closed.

"The Russells did not respond to a call and email seeking comment, and it’s unclear exactly when the restaurant closed. But as of this week, most of Zocalo’s contents appear to have been removed. The website is still up, but the phone number is not working.
A quick review of court records reveals some major problems: a Philadelphia tax lien for $40,000; federal tax liens totalling over $28,000; and a “confession of judgement” relating to the business against Greg Russell for $39,000. And that’s without peeking into the restaurant’s revolving debt, which, at this point, is likely massive."

Read More »