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 


http://www.barefootbobshull.com/

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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. 

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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.



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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
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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.


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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.

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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.

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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
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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**
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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."

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Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Kitchen Nightmares - Mama Maria's - OPEN

Kitchen Nightmares Mama Maria's

Episode Recap


Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Mama Maria’s, BrooklynNew York, an Italian restaurant attached to a pizzeria, owned by John Esposito. He inherited the restaurant after his parents  passed away. The Pizzeria was  successful during the 90's that they expanded opening Mama Maria’s, named after John's mother. John became overwhelmed running both restaurants and focused on the pizzeria. Gordon arrives and notices the shabby look to the front. Server Lori feels the problem is that John doesn’t want to change anything from his parents era and John feels that the problem is that they don’t have customers.  

Gordon sits down to order lunch and Chef Joe confesses that the quality of the food is bad. Gordon orders the tortellini di patate, spaghetti meatballs and the margarita pizza. Server Fran brings the desserts to the table, one of them is mouldy but this is deemed to be okay as they are just for display. The tortellini is bland and Gordon believes they are frozen. Gordon notices a smell and removes a large plant pot which soaks him in water. The spaghetti and meatballs are also frozen, they look rubbery and taste dry and the pizza was full of grease. Gordon heads into the kitchen to talk about the food, John tells Gordon that it takes too long to make the meatballs fresh but Chef Joe disagrees and tells John he is ashamed of the food.

Gordon observes a dinner service and notices that John stays in the pizzeria and never comes into Mama Maria’s. The kitchen sends out food at a fast pace but the customers are not impressed. A vegetarian customer finds a bone in her pasta as the sauce has meat in and another customer is found being sick in the bathroom. Gordon inspects the lobster and finds it to be bad, he tells John how dangerous it is. An ambulance has to be called for the vomiting customer and Gordon shuts the restaurant service down. Gordon confronts John, John confesses that he is drained and not sure he can continue.

Gordon arrives the next day and inspects the food storage. He is disgusted to find buckets of frozen pasta, meat and sauces, some covered in mould. Gordon informs them that the sick customer is feeling better but lays out the bad food to ensure it does not happen again and shows them that there is enough food for the next year. Gordon tells John that he needs to let go of the past after he discovers that the Specials have not been changed since his parents passed away. Gordon makes John promise that he will step out of the pizzeria and step up as a manager. He gives the restaurant a makeover, removing the awning and putting a new sign out the front. The interior is also changed, there is a tribute to John’s parents and the menu is also updated. 

On  relaunch night, Gordon invites food critics, bloggers and writers from the New York Observer. The kitchen gets off to a good start with the food being pushed out by Joe but John is not managing his staff and is found at the bar. He steps up to the task, mingles with customers and takes control of his staff. After relaunch night, there are positive comments from the critics and the restaurant is on it’s way back to being a successful restaurant. 

What Happened Next?  


Business is reported to be up 10%. Some old favourites have been resurrected as requested by customers and some small changes have been made to menu items but John has kept Gordon's revised menu. Yelp reviews are mostly good after Gordon's visit.






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