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

34 comments:

  1. He lowered the quality, and quantity, of the food here, while raising its prices. He has no concept of how we Long Beach-ians prefer our food. However, it got better a month ago. But overall, Nino's was far more spectacular before Ramsay wiped his rear end with it.

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    1. I agree. My wife and I have been going there for the past 9 years off and on. And to our surprise we went in and noticed that the place changed significantly. No more fish tank in the center but the menu was on a diet but the prices werent. I contemplated walking out until the waiter told me that it was on kitchen nightmares so I gave it a try. Well its safe to say that I wont be going back. I hate Olive Garden but I guess ill give it a try again.

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    2. I strongly disagree, I think Ramsay made the place a hell of a lot better then it was before, the food quality before he got there was mediocre at best, it was neither quantity nor quality, and Nino was the only one who ever wiped his ass with that place.

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    3. Oh, here we go again, another person saying how great the restaurant was before hand; if it was so great why did they need to call shows like this?

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    4. Publicity. Maybe they have a bad lease and are trying to sell the business. But, you know what this is when you sign with Ramsay. As for me, I'd rather watch the British version. At least you learn something.

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    5. Wrong.The American version differs from the British version for a reason.It is prime time here so they have to jazz it up,but the heart of the show and business acumen he provides remains.
      If the place was so stellar prior you were in the minority,since the community obviously didn't support it eventually.Who's to say you have any standards or ability to gauge good food anyway.They need to cater to a business model not your lowbrow taste.

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    6. Thanks for posting the negative review, Mike. It's nice to know that you're still bitter about Ramsay choosing your brother over you, but then it was obvious from watching the episode that you would be.

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    7. Wow, you were OK eating in that filthy dining room with that subpar food before Chef Ramsay stepped in?

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    8. It seems Micheal has two sockpuppet accounts on here to bitch and moan about how much better things were before Gordon showed up.

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  2. You may have your preferences but something did not work since they were losing quite a bit of money weekly basis.

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  3. It looks like, the whole show was staged and all people was acting according to ramsey script!

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    1. Totally agree, especially the part whereRamsey "faked" closing the restaurant, it was one of the most badly awkwardly scripted pieces I have seen. Damn you US reality TV and your need for fake drama.

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    2. How do you know that? Got any proof behind your subjective speculation?

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  4. That's gotta be a blow to the ego...saying that the revamp dropped the food quality below Olive Garden.

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  5. Hello! You are lucky you've met Gordon! I love this TV show, as I work also in the gastronomie and food theme... I'm Happy for the restaurant...

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    1. Go to 5th avenue and 29th street.You can see him all the time.

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  6. I thought the other brother (Michael?) was making almost as much trouble as Nino himself... yes, I do laugh at his "I'M NI-NOOO!" line, but he wasn't doing anything to keep the peace, and that might not have been such a bad idea to try if only for their poor mother's sake. Love this site; thanks for all the research!

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  7. I hated the old look and feel of the restaurant , but I actually prefer the new menu because it feels cleaner and simpler , I like the presentation of the food too

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  8. I loved the old décor and am neutral at best to the new look. It doesn't look like a classic Italian restaurant at all now, which was its charm. I only ate there a few times before the overhaul, but never had cause to complain about the food. However, the new, homemade tiramisu is spectacular where the old store-bought version was merely great (who doesn't love tiramisu, even from a package?). The new menu is too Spartan where I agree with Ramsey that the old menu was overbearing. The prices went up, the portions diminished. That was a little disappointing, although I overeat often so that was probably a good change. The food seemed as good as before, but as I say I only ate there a couple of times before Ramsey showed up. Overall, I would say it could use a little more menu selection, a slight drop in pricing, and the old décor was superior. Good luck to Nino and family. Hope it all works out for you.

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  9. It seems to me that many of the negative comments could be written by Mike. I looked at their menu, and saw the portion sizes, they are a good fit. The prices are reasonable, when compared to similar restaurants, as are the serving sizes.

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  10. I am stunned how many nay-sayers can post for a single episode's blog. Very suspect. Fake? Staged? Better before GR showed up? Old decor was better? Are you kidding me? What, wine bottles hanging from the ceiling is posh? Geez folks, get real. If the old Ninos was so great, why were they on the verge of closing their doors for real? Sure, for the first 30 years, I am sure things were just great under the proper passionate leadership of the mother/father team... and the decor was still in style. Maybe even the food was great and recipes were cutting edge, but trust me on this... over time, complacency gets the best of everyone, and thats when the blinders come on and standards slip. I hope Nino does stay the course, but most of all, I wish Inge all the happiness in the world. For you nay-sayers and GR haters, what, was she a fake too? I think NOT!!!

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  11. A lot of the negative comments aimed at Ramsay on here seem to have Mike written all over them. In the beginning it seemed as though Nino was going to be the one going up against Gordon and fighting against any changes but in fairness to him he manned up and took the verbal battering's and stepped up.

    I think Mike was pissed that Gordon did not kick Nino out of the business and he didn't like the fact that on the night of the relaunch Nino had control of the kitchen so he blundered in and tried to take over and make himself the 'star' of the show. He acted like a spoiled child, especially at the end when he stormed out. I think it's best he stays out of the way as he seems to be the mentally unstable one.

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    1. Completely agree a spot on break down on the programme. Hats off to Nino for effort Mike is a nob.

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  12. Yeah that was wrong of Mike to step in there and bump Nino off expo. He wanted to show Gordon 'I knew he'd fail' or something it seemed like. And then to just huff and puff and walk out at the end. Man, he's pissed his brother did alright. Not cool behavior at all from Mike. Why does he want to punish his older brother for things are now in the past. Can't move forward standing still, butty!

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  13. I think Mike is jealous that the restaurant was named after his brother. His body language shows a need for power but not effective. Maybe he would be good at the books have mom show him the ropes.

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  14. I just watched the episode, Nino had his problems but Mike's malevolence got on my nerves. I can understand that he has legitimate grievances with his brother but two things about Mike bothered me, 1. how he acted at the end, he seemed almost resentful that his brother stepped up to the plate, 2. the way he barked at the chefs, you can't pin that on Nino's past behavior.

    I am glad that they are still open but they have to have a succession plan for the mom. One last thing, the sister Carina is really hot and seemed pretty nice as well.

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  15. Michael being the spanner in the works came as no surprise, you could tell that straight away because he was being a total ass from the start. Suffers from being the youngest sibling.

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  16. What I don't understand is why do these places immediately go back to their "old menus" after GR leaves. (See Chappy's - "...looks like Chappy took a crappy in my soup!...") When a 3-star Michelin chef with incredible taste buds says your food sucks...... IT PROBABLY DOES. Here is a comment on Yelp from the daugter at Nino's:

    ***************************************************************************************************
    Comment from Carina C. of Nino's Italian Restaurant
    Business Owner
    25/6/2014 Hey Jay Z. Learning more and more about YELP so sorry for the delay in response. We have only 2 menu items from Chef Ramsay on the menu. Our customers of many years wanted all our menu items back and this has been the case since December 2012. Sorry if there was any mix up when you were in about where the dining options came from. I can assure you that we proudly serve our Nino's traditional menu items with the same chefs of 30+ years. Mom and Dad are still there daily. Mom still working at 80 years young. Dad retired due to health issues at 90 years old. He now gets to just eat and enjoy his recipes while talking to guests. On your next visit to Nino's, please have one of our food servers assist you if you have any questions when you are ordering your dinner or lunch. As a heads up, the two menu items from ChefRamsay are: Spaghetti Arrabiata (seafood pasta) and Bianco Pizza ( an additional Veggie Pizza option)

    **********************************************************************************************

    Really!!?? Hey, our restaurant is failing, but let's go back to DOING WHAT DIDN'T WORK BEFORE. Our 30 "customers of many years" will keep us open! Yeah buddy!!

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    1. I know!! I'm always amazed at how some of the owners or family members worry and complain that their "regulars" won't like the new menu...all five of them. When they're on the verge of bankruptcy.

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  17. 1. Long time customers are comfortable with the old menu and generally don't want changes. That is a fact.

    2. When you cook fresh, the costs do go up compared to cooking frozen and canned. That cost is passed to the customers. How often do you go to a store and fresh veggies have gone up, or meats, ect.

    3. In most cases portions at places in trouble are too much. So any reduction in portion size will seem to be a slap in the face to those that eat there for dinner and take home their lunch for next day or two.

    4. You want uncut reality? just look at last season's Survivor. They showed a clip that was uncut and It Was Boring. No one would want to watch a show that is uncut. Yes you will have some good moments but you will have 10x the amount that is just boring.

    5, Is there things that are "Faked" or "Staged" of course there is, but again if there wasn't then it would be boring as well. Its the overall changes that matters, not just how you got there.

    6. Look at all these shows, including Kitchen Nightmares, Bar Rescue, ect., The places that stayed with the changes (in general) are still open, even couple that changed back is still barely open. Those that went back to their old ways are in general, closed.

    7. Menu's in use for years don't account for the businesses cost increases. How many would be upset if the menu remains the same except the prices are increased. Every long term customer who don't want changes will complain.

    In conclusion, Ramsey and the others that try to help peoples businesses, are really trying to help. Not everyone is going to agree with the changes or even accept them. You will lose some regular customers who don't want any changes, wont be happy but the new customers will be. Costs increases for businesses just as they do for people buying for their own use at home.

    People will be willing to pay for good, fresh food. You cant get great food at fast food prices. It's not realistic.

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  18. *popcorn*

    30 years ago the market wasn't the same at all. These days food even have his own tv channel/tons of shows and many people like doing it at home. Even the kitchen in home design is now together with the table guests eating in open concept; used to be a room alone far from them. Being a restaurant is way harder than before, a lot less people coming in; young people addicted on fast food and mid aged are doing great dish at home with their superior kitchen and marble counter top.

    What i like about Gordon is that he knows that very well and make owners realize "Why these people would come to your restaurant?". Quantity over quality? fast food chain have that already, and perfected the taste, you wont be able to compete with them or the frozen food market. Only thing that can make your restaurant viable is the food quality - decor - ambiance.

    I don't mind when i heard the owner going back to their old menu but i sure hope the food passion and quality is there. I work with people that sometimes been doing the same thing wrong since 40 years, you just need to be open minded to improve; even that 300 years old recipe can be improved, just don't be static and "doing it like it always been".

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  19. Based on photos from their Facebook page, they have totally dumped all of the decor changes made by KN, and have gone back to an old-fashioned, dated look for the restaurant.

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    1. I think the only thing they brought back are the chequered table cloths.

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