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 totaling over $28,000; and a “confession of judgment” 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."