Downcity - Kitchen Nightmares Update - Open or Closed?

Downcity Kitchen Nightmares

In this Kitchen Nightmares episode, Gordon Ramsay visits Downcity in Providence, Rhode Island.

Downcity is owned by Abby Cabral and best friend Rico Conforti.

They bought Downcity restaurant in 2005.

Rico has a full-time day job in finance so Abby, who has been in the restaurant business for 33 years takes care of the restaurant.

Unfortunately for the owners, they are having trouble getting customers through the door.

Abby doesn’t know why this is because she believes the restaurant is beautiful and the food is good.

Servers Josh, Mark and Nick believe that Abby is the restaurant’s problem.

They describe her as a bossy person, who always wants things to go her way.

She has ended up with a long list of menu items but none of the staff can challenge her about it because she takes it personally.

Gordon arrives at Downcity and is greeted by Abby. Abby tells him that she doesn’t know how to cook at all.

Gordon told Abby that the room service at the hotel next door was very poor and to his surprise, he finds out that the room service was provided by Downcity.

Gordon told Abby that the room service was embarrassing as he was served disgusting dishes.

He tells her that both the crab cakes and tomato soup were cold and disgusting.

Abby refuses to agree with him on his critique of the room service food.

As he wants to compare this to the food in the restaurant Gordon sits down to order.

Josh brings the menu and Gordon orders the 3-way nachos and a meatloaf, after ignoring Abby’s suggestions on what he should order.

Gordon tastes the calamari and spits it out immediately. He describes it as soggy, chewy and disgusting.

The 3-way nachos looks dreadful. He tastes the dish and says it tastes like a funeral in his mouth.

Abby in the kitchen gets frustrated when the waiter tells her Gordon’s comments when returning the dishes.

The meatloaf is disgusting as it is lukewarm and solid.

Gordon meets with Abby and the staff and tells them the food was shocking.

He finds out they do not have a head chef as Abby fired her head chef.

She doesn’t want to give Jimmy the job until he proves that he can handle the kitchen.

Gordon tells Abby that without a leader to guide the team, there will be no consistency in the food.

Gordon asks who came up with the menu and finds out that Abby, the person with no cooking background put the menu together.

During a sit-down between Abby and her staff, Abby tells them that Gordon’s critiques are wrong as her meatloaf is what made them popular.

But to her surprise her staff tells her that they don’t like the dishes and they only eat it because they work there.

They tell her that they can’t tell her their opinion because she gets angry at them whenever they open up about it.

Rico shows up an hour before the dinner service starts from his full time job and meets with Gordon.

Rico tells Gordon he works in finance and that buying the restaurant has worked out horribly for him so far.

If the restaurant fails, he will not only lose the $1 million that he invested.

He could also lose his day job offering financial advice to people on how to buy property.

Gordon wants to observe a dinner service and to his surprise, everything is messy in the kitchen.

Dishes were being sent back to the kitchen and Abby decides to stop serving the specials as they are the ones constantly being sent back.

Gordon calls Abby and Rico and showed them the state of the fridge downstairs.

Abby insists that the refrigerator wasn't like that before.

They get into a very heated argument and Abby orders Gordon to leave the restaurant so he walks out.

Rico goes to meet Gordon and tells him he doesn’t want Gordon to leave.

Gordon meets with the owners and tells Abby that he has had failure in his life and he has always admitted it instead of being in denial.

He tells them he can’t rebuild the restaurant if they won’t start being honest with each other.

Abby agrees with Gordon and they decide to work together.

The next day, Gordon has a meeting with Abby and the staff and asks them to ask an anonymous question to anybody they want.

The first was to Abby and Jimmy as they ask why the menu was huge and she says it is to give the customers more choice.

Gordon says the more dishes, the lower the standard that the dishes will be.

Someone asks why Abby cannot allow anyone to express their feeling without her seeing it as a personal attack on her.

She answers saying she has been defensive as she has bought the restaurant.

The staff tell her that they care about the restaurant and they would do anything for her.

She realizes that all they need to do is talk more and she decides to make a change.

Gordon decides to remove up to half the menu items and he introduced a new roast chicken special to the chefs.

At the dinner service the next day and news of Gordon’s presence in Down City has reached the locals as the restaurant is packed.

The orders come in and the dishes leave the kitchen quickly.

With the calm and under control Abby at the helm, the dinner service started great.

The customers love the dishes that they receive.

The service starts slowing down and Jimmy starts losing control of the kitchen under the pressure.

The customers starts getting impatient and are left waiting for food.

They manage to serve the last main course and the dinner service ends.

Gordon meets with the owners and Jimmy after the dinner service.

Gordon tells them that he doesn’t blame Jimmy entirely for the night’s disaster.

He doesn’t have the right group of cooks with him in the kitchen to pull off the new menu.

Gordon tells them he has invited an experienced chef, James to help his crew with the new menu.

The next day, Gordon meets with the staff and shows them the new dishes made by the chefs with James’ help.

They taste the new food and they love it.

On relaunch night Abby and Rico work in the front of house and James gets the chefs ready in the kitchen.

Minutes into the service locally renowned food blogger Stacy Place arrives.

The orders are coming in and the dishes come out fast as Jimmy takes control of the kitchen.

The customers love the new menu and the new food.

Shortly into the dinner service, there is a breakdown in communication between Abby and Jimmy.

The service slows down and the customers, including Stacy are left waiting.

Stacy starts blogging about the slow service and everyone starts panicking.

Gordon calls Abby to the side and gives her a quick pep talk.

Communication is restored and the orders starts coming out once again.

The customers love the food after the wait.

Stacy posted a new tweet which says, “Truffle dip, amazing”.

The rest of the night went smoothly with excellent food leaving the kitchen and the customers are left satisfied.

Stacy tells Abby that everything was great.

The relaunch was a success.

Gordon meets with the staff after the dinner service and commends them about the great service.

Abby and Gordon hug and they all applauded Gordon as he leaves the restaurant.

What Happened Next at Downcity?

After Chef Ramsay left, Chef James stayed at the restaurant to train Jimmy and Abby promoted Jimmy to head chef.

Gordon revisits and is greeted by Rico and Abby, business is up 30% and Jimmy is still there and doing well.

Gordon inspects the fridge finding it to be organised and sits down to lunch, which is delicious.

Gordon notices that there is some tension between them and Rico tells Gordon that Abby explodes at him instead of the staff.

Yelp reviews after filming were mostly negative, with criticism of poor quality food and scatty service.

Many regulars were not happy with the changes made to the restaurant during the makeover.

Downcity closed on 10th December 2011, after struggling with the declining local economy and Abby posted the below on their website,

"I want to thank everyone and anyone that has ever walked through the doors of DOWNCITY. What owning DOWNCITY has meant to me--words cannot describe."

Abby is currently a personal trainer in Rhode Island.

Question - Why did they say you have 10,000 followers?
Answer - People assumed since Gordon was reading my Twitter feed that the show was referring to me having 10,000 Twitter followers. I don't.

The producers had asked me how many people had read my blog and I replied about 250 per week. Multiplying that by 52 weeks, they rounded down to 10,000.

Of course, 3,000 people have read it just since the episode aired!

After the show, Executive Chef James went on to work at the Surf Hotel.

Downcity aired on March 11 2011, the episode was filmed in December 2010 and is Kitchen Nightmares season 4 episode 6.

Read About More Kitchen Nightmares

Previous episode - Davide

Next episode - Tavolini

This post was last updated in March 2023.


  1. Sad to say Down City has closed.

  2. Well the people did not call because they were awesome managers serving great food. Gordon did the best he could in a minimal amount of time. All the people blaming him for the closing of the restaurants is ridiculous.

  3. Yeah its gordons fault the majority of restaurants are now closed, nothing to do with the amazing savvy geniuses running them.

    1. No it doesn't. If you look into the issues with the restaurant, they either close because:

      1. The owner(s) decide to revert everything back to the way it was like if Gordon never showed up.
      2. The reputation is too destroyed to save it

      And the most known case in the show:

      3. Money issues.

  4. Yes anyone blaming Ramsay has no business sense. Gordan goes out if his way to show then the right way. It's usually one or all the owners faults when they sink. Great for aspiring entrepreneurs to learn what not to do in any business.

    1. True; Gordon is not to blame. He gives feedback, improves them and gives them a fighting chance. I think the problem is that the owners call in for help too late.

      By the time Gordon arrives their reputation has already turned sour and they have developed huge debts. In every episode it turns out that their various problems have been going on for years. It is hard to try to salvage something and make it successful when it is on its last legs.

  5. Just watched this and gutted to find they have shut. This was one of the few that I felt Gordon made a real positive impact and could have saved it, but it looks like they couldn't keep the momentum...hard trade.

    1. Yeah, I thought exactly the same thing. As the seasons went by I felt a lot of them were just participating for the refurb.

  6. When he goes in they seem to do well for a few months but the inevitable happens... Either they go back to the old ways or they forget what they've learned.

  7. I felt so bad for Rico. He was hurt the most. I hope he was able to financially recover.

    1. Same here Rico seem to be a really decent guy, hope he's doing OK now


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