Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Restaurant Impossible - Sweet Tea - CLOSED

Sweet Tea Restaurant Impossible

Chef Robert Irvine visits Chapin, South Carolina, to help turn around Sweet Tea, a nine month old Southern style restaurant owned by Christine and Jeffrey Spencer, who have no experience and Christine's father used his savings to pay for the restaurant. They tell Robert that the restaurant is declining and they are losing $10,000 a month. The first thing that Robert wants to change is the sports bar theme and remove advertising. Robert orders a variety of dishes from the menu and Sweet tea as the name sake of the restaurant. He speaks to regulars and they tell him that the table and cutlery is dirty, the service is poor and that that the food is clearly frozen. 

Robert suspects that the clam chowder has frozen clams, the sandwich tastes good but is piled with costly prawns, the chicken tastes old and the Campero is too salty. He finds canned soup, green beans and pre-prepared mashed potato in the kitchen and puts a thermometer into the macaroni cheese but it isn't stored at the correct temperature and is dangerous to serve. Robert teaches them a chicken broth which can also be used as a base for bechamel sauce. Robert meets the designer and wants to hide the kitchen, remove the sports memorabilia and brighten up the interior. The booths are taken to a paint shop as they are short on time and the owners are trained in managing a restaurant. 

Robert teaches them easy to cook southern dishes including a burger, a pork chop and waffles.  He challenges the staff to a competition to make Sweet Tea for the restaurant but none are deemed worthy of being served. They head to a local club house to promote the restaurant with the new meatloaf and Sweet Tea and he tests the servers, they will lose $ for every mistake. Server Jenna owes Robert $45 by the end of the exercise but Robert feels it is simply the pressure of a test. 

On relaunch night, the restaurant is packed with a queue out the door. The customers love the new decor and are impressed with the menu. The service is great and there are extra staff in the kitchen. The customers love the food and the locals promise to return.



What Happened Next? 

Reviews after Robert's visit are average with negative comments on service and food. There are however noted improvements in the taste of the sweet tea they were serving. The restaurant closed in the fall of 2011. Ava’s Copper Pot Bistro opened it's place, reviews were very good but this closed in 2014. 


Recipes Featured in this Episode

Brined Pork Chops with Apple Hash | Pomegranate Iced Tea


Sweet Tea was season 2 episode 3 and aired on July 20 2011, there were 18 episodes in season 2 aired between July 2011 and January 2012 and the closure rate for Restaurant Impossible Season 2 currently stands at 67%

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