Kitchen Nightmares - Sabatiello's - CLOSED

Kitchen Nightmares Sabatiello's

In this Kitchen Nightmares episode, Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Sabatiello’s in Stamford, Connecticut.

Sabatiello’s is an Italian restaurant owned by Sammy Settembre, who is known in the area for working in the pizzeria owned by his brother Benny.

Sammy had always had a dream of having a nice restaurant ever since he started making pizza at the age of eight at his brother, Benny’s restaurant.

Lauren, Sammy’s girlfriend has been working in Sabatiello’s for two and a half years.

Over the last few years the restaurant has slowly declined from being really busy to having only a few customers and is now months away from closure.

Sammy believes the decor and the food at the restaurant are excellent and does not know why they have so few customers.

David, the head waiter and Lauren believe that Sammy’s nasty behavior is why the restaurant is suffering the way it is.

They say he is rude to both the staff and the customers and that the restaurant will not last another year if Sammy refuses to change his behavior.

Sammy believes the restaurant is failing because the staff don’t listen to him all the time.

Sammy is stressed out because he is $1,000,000 in debt, has a house on the line and all his savings have been spent in order to keep the restaurant open.

Gordon reads through the online reviews of the restaurant on his way to Sabatiellos.

He reads many negative reviews about the food and Sammy’s behavior, where he is described as being obnoxious.

Gordon arrives and he’s greeted warmly by Sammy.

Gordon is taken through the restaurant and he thinks that both the decor and the host is nice and warm.

He comments that the problem must be the food, but Sammy assures him that the food is very good.

Gordon orders the soup of the day, a wedding soup, Sammy’s homemade lasagna and the New York strip steak, cooked medium rare.

Gordon is impressed by how quick it took to prepare the Wedding Soup but it tastes hideous and bland with anemic meatballs and tastes like it was made yesterday.

The lasagna has white meat, tastes synthetic and Gordon does not believe it is homemade.

Gordon describes the steak as tough, not seasoned and greasy.

Gordon meets Head Chef Jose, who told him the soup is three days old, the lasagna was made last Friday and frozen and the steak was not Aberdeen Angus as advertised.

Sammy says the fact that the lasagna was frozen doesn’t mean it’s bad.

Gordon disagrees with him, saying the lasagna was supposed to be cooked fresh every day.

Sammy says he dropped down on the steaks because his business has dropped, which Gordon describes as just an excuse.

Sammy is becoming upset and he now tells Gordon he is being too critical as there is nothing wrong with his food.

Gordon inspects the kitchen and finds it to be spotlessly clean, which is a pleasant surprise.

However, upon inspecting the fridge he discovers cooked and raw chicken next to each other, which Sammy thinks is no problem.

Gordon tells the Jose, the chef to rearrange the meats and put the cooked meat with the cooked meats and the raw meat together.

Gordon arrives to observe a dinner service to find out what the issues are with the restaurant.

He asked Jose what the Sole is stuffed with and Jose told Gordon that it is stuffed with vegetables and imitation crab meat.

They use canned imitation crab because fresh crab meat is too expensive. Gordon is not too happy about the fake crab.

One customer returns the imitation crab meat, Sammy tastes it and says it is not bad whereas Gordon spits it out saying it is watery, mushy, and disgusting.

One customer is not happy with her lamb and returns it to be cooked some more.

Sammy tells the chef to put it on the microwave and she sends it back again as she expected them to put it back into a pan.

Sammy goes into the restaurant to confront the customer, he handles it badly and he refused to apologize despite his girlfriend, Lauren asking him to.

He instead told the workers to stop working and explodes in the kitchen for the customers to hear.

Lauren goes to apologize on behalf of the Sammy.

Gordon talks to Sammy about the way he agitates customers and staff with his behavior and that he is difficult to work with.

The next morning Gordon sits Sammy down to talk about the past, his brother Benny, the pizzeria, and the man he was, who he wants him to connect with again.

For the next dinner service Gordon introduces two new specials, a homemade Lasagna and a Filet Mignon to be carved at the table.

Gordon’s presence at the restaurant has attracted many people to the restaurant and they are fully booked.

The steaks are being returned for being under cooked and Jose is not communicating and the old Sammy began to resurface.

Gordon tells Sammy the kitchen is now a big problem and Sammy says Jose is on his last chance.

The day after, Gordon introduces a new menu, relaunching the restaurant as an Italian Steakhouse.

Gordon introduces the new dishes to the staff and they sample all the new steaks on the menu.

On relaunch night, Jose proves he isn't up to the task and the steaks are sent back as under cooked once again and the kitchen falls behind with orders.

Sammy makes the decision to step behind the lune and help them out.

He successfully turns the kitchen around and after a long wait the customers are happy with their food and happy with the changes Gordon has made.

Sabatiello’s relaunch ended successfully, primarily because Sammy jumped behind the line and helped them out when the kitchen struggled instead of spinning out of control.

What Happened Next at Sabatiello's?

Sammy told local press that he didn't know if he would do the show again as he lost money.

He says he wasn't compensated for the loss of income during the closure and he didn't get expensive equipment as part of the makeover.

Sabatiello's closed in October 2008.

A Chowhound review prior to closure was negative.

Prior to closing there was a sign outside the restaurant and a flyer handed out that read "Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay's favorite Italian in Fairfield County".

Sammy opened Sabatiello Gourmet Pizza in Riverside in December 2008 which closed as the rent was not paid.

Sammy was arrested for trashing his restaurant and unauthorised use of credit cards.

He can now be found working as a Chef in New York at The Appalachian Market, a gas station that also serves food, Pizza being a speciality.

Sabatiello's aired on November 13 2008, the episode was filmed in February 2008 and is Kitchen Nightmares season 2 episode 8.


Read About More Kitchen Nightmares

Previous episode - Jack's Waterfront

Next episode - Fiesta Sunrise

This post was last updated in February 2021.

11 comments:

  1. Up here in the Adirondacks of NY, the gas stations are THE place to get pizza, much to my dismay, being from Boston and being Italian.

    Just watched this episode of Kitchen Nightmares and I have to agree that Sammy was the problem, got better, but his chef just couldn't handle it. he should have fired him and hired a ringer when Gordon was there.

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    1. I'm originally from MA too. We'really used Regina'so, Santapio's and other pizzerias. I cannot imagine getting my pizza fromy a gas station. I live in Raleigh now, it's been hard finding what we're used to back home.

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  2. I actually liked Sammy, he seemed like a nice guy with a lot on his plate. When I watch these episodes, I always want them to kick butt and succeed. As a fellow New Yorker, I wish him nothing but the best. You fall down, but, as long as you're breathing...you can get back up!

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  3. What happened to his gf Lauren? I ask because I presume they never got married what with Sammy's horrible record after the restaurant closed for good. Lauren's beautiful and a sweetheart. I can't believe she was too lenient with that abusive Sammy.

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  4. 6 years of running after these .......blokes, he's a social worker at heart..;) ....GR is also reminding me off Benjamin Buttons as the older he gets the younger he looks. Unfenbelievable.

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    1. It's called plastic surgery. His work was actually recommended by Simon Cowell, at least the part to get the Grand Canyon lines taken out of his face with collagen. I know that this sounds like a tabloid story, but I swear my soul on it that it's the truth.

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    2. He has admitted it's true (even stated fillers hurt!), along with some type of hair procedure (details easily found if you Google him). I have read blogs trashing him for it, but if I was him I would have done the procedures I wanted too!!

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    3. I'd like to get a whole body replacement

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  5. this has got to be my favorite episode. the owner is one heck of a character i cant stop laughing

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  6. I think that everybody's taking advantage of this guy. I pity him actually because it's his business, his money on the line.

    He made a big mistake of acting like a big man, pretending that everything's fine when clearly he's not and I'm glad he listened to Ramsay. It's sad to see the restaurant got closed but what saddens me more is the fact that media follows him everywhere.

    He will forever known as the guy who fall from being a classy restaurant owner to pizza maker in some random gas station.

    Ramsay does help him manage his restaurant better, but the media is not. It made the guy's life worse. I honestly think it's just better for him to drove his restaurant to the ground rather than having a help from Ramsay because his help came with the media attention.

    This reality tv 'kitchen nightmare' is both a blessing and a curse. Prepare to be followed for the rest of your life if you do call for help from this tv show.

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    1. You pity him? The guy who ripped people off by stealing their thousands-of-dollars deposits knowing he was going out of business and could neither provide the services they paid for nor a refund? Your sympathy, in this given narrative, lies with the guy who then turned around, ripped off a credit card number from the SAME PEOPLE he was already ripping off, and stole another 20k from them? The guy who, when faced with imminent failure, but given the opportunity for help, decided instead to throw a tantrum because his ego was bruised? The person who knew he was over a mil in debt and in desperate need of customers, who then chose to publicly argue, degrade, and berate a customer IN PUBLIC- when the customer was, in fact, right, mind you- that's the victim here? The idiot who threw ANOTHER tantrum after ruining his own business and did $20k worth of damage to the building, and then wasn't even smart enough to not lock the door after he was done, explicitly implicating himself since he HAD THE ONLY KEY- that's who you give your pity to?? This manis a walking train wreck. If you think KN is the reason this ambulatory dumpster fire failed, will continue to fail, and be known for failing, you may need to work on your ability to discern what personal responsibility is. Sammy failed because of Sammy. Sammy's failure is famous because Sammy fails so spectacularly. Maybe he'll take a lesson from the loss and realize that as long as he keeps making a fool of himself, he'll keep failing; maybe a little forced humility will help him grow up.

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