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 a restaurant, the restaurant is busy is the summer but dwindles in the winter. To save money, they sacked the chef and Mark cooks in the kitchen while Lisa runs the front of house and their relationship is suffering. Gordon 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, the lobster roll is too full of lobster, soggy and untoasted and 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. The food leaves the kitchen quickly but it is sent back for being cold, overcooked and soggy. Gordon examines the food storage,  it is messy, there is 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 the oven trays haven’t been cleaned in a long time. Gordon sets about making his changes but instead of his usual Chef mentor he introduces a Business Consultant/ Accountant to get them back on track. He works on the menu teaching the kitchen two new specials, an improved New England clam chowder and Fish and Chips. They visit local towns to promote the restaurant and the restaurant is given a makeover transforming it into a beach side restaurant. 

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 and 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.


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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. 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. Gordon sits down to order  food and it is a disaster. He discovers that the food is 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 returns for an evening service and discovers  there is no communication in the kitchen and 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, a cold ravioli dish is sent back and Rita starts to argue with the customer. 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 Lisa gets fed up and threatens to walk out, Gordon tells her that if she walks, he walks. Chef Ramsay has a heart-to-heart talk with the sisters and calls a staff meeting. The sisters start off by telling the staff to stop being lazy which the staff admit to. Rita tells Doug that he can’t take criticism, which leads to an argument, 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. 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 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 Michael's 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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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, who became overwhelmed running both restaurants and focused on the pizzeria. 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 are bland and Gordon believes they are frozen, the spaghetti and meatballs are also frozen, 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.

Gordon observes a dinner service and notices that John stays in the pizzeria and the kitchen sends out food at a fast pace. 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. An ambulance has to be called for the vomiting customer and Gordon shuts the service down. Gordon arrives the next day and inspects the food storage. He is disgusted to find buckets of frozen pasta, meat and sauces 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. 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 gives the restaurant a makeover, removing the awning and putting a new sign out the front. The interior and the menu are 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 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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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, hired Jen as a waitress, 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. The couples daughter reveals that they are on the verge of divorce. Gordon meets Jen at home, she is nervous that she is seen to be a trophy wife. Gordon arrives at the restaurant and is impressed by the $80,000 bathroom. 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.

At dinner service he sees Victor washing dishes rather than cooking, food is sent back and Gordon finds old meat and rotten vegetables. 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 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. Overall, 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. Tatiana hasn't changed anything: same name, menu and chef. The staff feel the old menu and 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 and is shocked to learn about the houses at risk and that the family have no say despite them putting all their money in. 

Gordon 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. 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 receive their food they are not happy with it. Casimiro burns meatballs and when criticised he 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 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 revamp the menu with home made, fresh dishes. They relaunch the restaurant that evening, the food starts to go out quickly but some customers are not getting their dishes. The problem is 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 closed in July 2012, Yelp reviews after filming were mixed as to whether it has improved.

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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. 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 town and that she had threatened legal action against others for using it. Gordon arrives and Denise breaks down and says business has halved and she has invested the last of her money. Gordon 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. The fish and chips is greasy, the fish is dry and the batter soggy. The meatloaf is dreadful, with no flavour, the broccoli is raw, the mash cold and the gravy over the top swamps the dish. 

Gordon watches an evening service and Denise comes in and shouts at everyone. 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 and $800 of food is given away. 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.. Manager Debbie calls her a "rude bitch" telling her she treats them like s***, they tell her she is negative and talks down to them.

Gordon calls a meeting with local residents, they are angry about the 'Hon' trademarking and think she is just after money. 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 and 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 neutral or negative and the trademark issue is still mentioned in reviews by locals. Gordon revisited in May 2012 and discovers that some 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 but it appears many are not going to forgive her so easily... In May 2013, the restaurant was renovated and redecorated.



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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, owners Richard and Jorge have no experience of running a restaurant and have no idea what they are doing. Gordon arrives and sits them down, they say that they have made mistakes with the locals. Gordon 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 finishing culinary school and says that he shouldn't be running a kitchen. He next chats to Richard who tells him that they put a tent up without a permit, served liquor without a license and then accused the neighbours of being racist. 

Gordon watches a dinner service and is aware early that Jorge does not know what he is doing and 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 and the owners promise to change.

Gordon knows that they need to rebuild bridges in the community and encourages 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 train the staff on the new menu, chef Matt gets angry and refuses to cook but later calms down. For the relaunch, 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 were mixed. 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 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. The staff say whenever there is a problem Tommy disappears into the basement.  The owners 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 witnesses a dinner service and discovers that there is no one expediting in the kitchen and the food makes it own way out. Most of the dishes are sent back and Tommy hides from the staff, retreating to his basement workout room when asked to 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 and gives them Chef consultant Mike. 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 and the relaunch is a success.


What Happened Next?


Gordon returned a year later, business is up 20% and to increase profit they are getting a liquor license. Tommy is happier, more confident and no longer depressed. Gordon is so pleased with the changes and 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 and Athena has put all her money into the restaurant. Gordon arrives and meets them both, Jake is a trained chef but Athena and sister Kiki also cook and do the prep. Jake turns up late, a fight breaks out and Gordon finds out he is only there 3 hours a day. Gordon orders the stuffed zucchini, lamb shank and 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.

 Gordon observes a dinner service and is amazed that they use the microwaves 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 El Grego closed in December 2011. Yelp reviews after his visit were mostly poor with negative comments on food and service.

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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, Gaye and daughter Natalie. They named the restaurant after her as they had hoped to pass it on to her one day. The staff say when it was run by Al it ran smoothly until he could not work due to a collapsed lung. Gordon meets Al and he says he wants to retire but Natalie is not ready to take over. Gordon arrives and is impressed with the décor but is shocked to hear he can't have potato salad as the chefs can't be bothered to make it. Gaye brings him a day old chicken wing and he also samples the smoked chicken gourmet salad, brisket and cornbread. The salad has rotten tomatoes, the brisket is like rubber and the cornbread is a mouth of sand. Gordon discovers all his food was microwaved except the salad and walks out. 


Gordon returns to watch a dinner service and finds the kitchen reheating food 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 but 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 restaurant owned by husband Greg and wife Mary, who met through working in the restaurant. Greg is in the kitchen morning to night and Mary works the Front of House after finishing at her other job. 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 and sits down with Greg and Mary and discusses the history of the restaurant, coming to the present, where they are lacking customers and are largely in debt. Gordon describes the Queso Fundido as "a greasy mess so full of oil" , the Chile Relleno is weird looking, salty and dreadful, the Cochinita Pibil has no seasoning and is dry and the Molcajete is something out of Harry Potter and compares it with eating the inside of a golfball. Gordon meets Greg and tells Greg his feelings on the food and the prices.

Gordon arrives to watch a dinner service and finds that half the kitchen appliances aren't working. Greg uses the microwave and is trying to do all the cooking himself, making service very slow. 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. 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 some culinary students volunteer for in kitchen training and to help support Greg.


On relaunch night, Greg is supported in the kitchen and Mary is front of house and running the line. Mary shouts 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 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 closed January 2013, it is reported that it closed for the holidays and did not re-open.

"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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