Spanish Pavillion - Kitchen Nightmares Update - Open or Closed?

Spanish Pavillion Kitchen Nightmares

In this Kitchen Nightmares episode, Gordon Ramsay visits Spanish Pavillion in Harrison, New Jersey.

Spanish Pavillion was the first Spanish restaurant in the state of New Jersey and opened in 1976.

The restaurant was opened by Antonio Fernandez but he retired, leaving the restaurant to his daughter Balbina and his two grandsons Michael and Jerry.

Michael is the head chef at Spanish pavilion but he is barely in the kitchen anymore.

Jerry hardly works in the restaurant anymore as he is a town councilman.

The brothers fight a lot and Balbina gets stuck in the middle of the feuding sons, trying to keep the peace.

Before Antonio retired, there was a queue out the door most days.

Just five years later, the restaurant has only a few diners with just 20 customers on a Saturday night and they are in over $600,000 of debt.

Gordon arrives at the restaurant and on seeing the waiters, he questions if he is at a funeral.

The staffs look far too formal in their tuxedos, which they wear every day even though the restaurant is supposedly a casual family restaurant.

Gordon is welcomed by Balbina and Jerry and Jerry takes him over to a table.

The restaurant manage Joe says Jerry doesn’t care about the business.

He believes that when you own a restaurant business you don’t have time to be in politics too.

Joe doesn’t agree with calling Michael a chef as he is mostly on his phone instead of cooking in the kitchen.

Gordon looks through the menu and orders the lobster bisque, paella and a chicken and garlic main from server Joe.

Michael believes he has nothing to worry about as he believes the chefs, who had been working with him for the past 15 years would do a great job.

He hangs back in the kitchen and continues playing on his phone.

The food arrives and the lobster looked like it was already dead before it was cooked.

Jerry tells him that the lobster came from the tank in the dining room.

When he looks in the tank he discovers a dead and decaying lobster and orders the tank to be emptied.

As the live lobsters would have fed on the dead one and be full of harmful bacteria, which can make the customers extremely sick.

Michael believes even rough the lobster has died, it’s still fresh and good to be used in dishes.

Michael meets with Gordon on his table.

He tells him they check the tank out every day and he freezes any dead lobsters right away to be used later.

Michael then goes back to the kitchen.

The chicken and garlic dish arrives swimming in oil, the chicken is dry and the paella is over seasoned and over cooked.

There is a layer of burnt food at the bottom of the dish.

Gordon meets with the staff in the kitchen and complains about the food.

When Gordon speaks about the dry chicken, Michael counters and tells him that the chicken was good and the problem may be with the piece Gordon ate.

Gordon asks if Michael was the one who cooked the dish.

Michael said he hasn’t cooked any of the dishes but he is proud of the food that was cooked.

Gordon arrives to observe the dinner service and Michael is sat behind the bar drinking.

Dishes were being sent out in the kitchen only for them to be returned for being raw and undercooked.

Gordon asks Joe if that was a normal occurrence and Joe tells him that it happens a lot during their service.

Michael tries to take control of the kitchen but so does Jerry.

The fight for control leads to a clash with the brothers screaming at each other.

Michael and Al, the cook, start shouting at each other in the kitchen and the food service grinds to a halt, leaving customers waiting.

As the screaming between Michael and Al continues, Michael gets angry and assaults Al.

Balbina, Jerry and Gordon intervene and Michael is removed from the kitchen.

Jerry tells Gordon it happens like that sometimes.

Gordon arrives the next morning to check the place out, the walk-in is packed with lots of meat, the fridge has dead lobsters inside and the foods inside are not labelled.

Gordon goes up to the second fridge upstairs and sees a pigeon flying around the kitchen and everything in the kitchen was bad.

He calls the pigeon the freshest thing in the kitchen.

Gordon calls the owners and shows them what he has found and tells Michael, who was in charge of buying produce, that he is wasting money buying so much food.

Michael says that he bought it in advance so that he can be ready when it’s needed but Gordon tells him that he must be wasting a lot of it.

Gordon has a one on one talk with Balbina and he tells her that the business is fragmented.

Jerry and Michael need to set their differences aside and work together and Balbina agrees with him.

The next day, Gordon teaches Michael a garlic chicken dish, which looks and tastes delicious.

Gordon then asks Michael to cook any dish that he loves.

Michael makes an octopus special and upon tasting it, Gordon likes the dish.

Both of the dishes will be the specials for that evening’s service.

For the evening dinner service, Michael is cooking behind the line and Jerry is expediting at the pass.

The dishes are leaving the kitchen and the customers love the new dishes.

The service slows down and Michael begins to become overwhelmed on the line.

A chicken dish is sent back to the kitchen and upon investigating, Gordon finds out that they have used spoiled chicken.

He tells them not to serve the bad chicken and to find fresh chicken.

Jerry steps up and the food begins to leave the kitchen and customers are happy.

It was a better evening service than the previous evening.

Overnight, the restaurant is given a makeover, which includes new furniture and china to give the place a modern feel.

The owners and staff are happy with the new look.

Gordon shows them the competition, 40 Spanish restaurants within a 2 mile radius.

In order to stand out they have to give the locals something different.

Gordon introduces a new menu to the owners, a range of homemade tapas dishes.

He also introduces a more casual uniform for the waiters and the tuxes are gone.

For relaunch night, the kitchen gets off to a great start as customers love the food.

But as more diners arrive, the kitchen begins to fall apart.

Michael starts to get overwhelmed and everything starts slowing down as he is not listening to Jerry.

Michael starts to get angry and Gordon pulls him aside to tell him to get it together and respect his brother.

He turns it around and the brothers start working together.

Everything starts going great leaving the customers satisfied and the relaunch a success.

With a final pep talk from Gordon, he tells them they can turn this around and praises them for the good job they did at the relaunch.

He then calls Michael and Jerry aside and tells them they have to work together and look out for each other.

What Happened Next at Spanish Pavillion?

Spanish Pavillion is open.

Jerry told local press that there was a surge in business after Gordon filmed at the restaurant and he was hoping for another after the show aired.

Gordon revisits and sneaks around the back to have a look in the fridge and finds it organised and clean.

Jerry reports business is good and that Michael is no longer involved in the restaurant.

Gordon checks the lobster tank and finds it is spotless and no dead lobsters.

Gordon orders a paella and Jerry sits down to eat with him, he says the paella is delicious.

Sadly Jerry reveals that his Grandfather passed away between filming and the revisit.

Spanish Pavillion is highly rated online with mostly positive Yelp reviews and Trip Advisor reviews.

Planning a visit? Check our their website for opening hours and further information.

Spanish Pavillion aired on January 21 2011, the episode was filmed in November 2010 and is Kitchen Nightmares season 4 episode 1.

This post was last updated in March 2023.


  1. I'm glad to hear that they are still open. Equally glad that the walk in is clean! Very sorry to hear their grandfather passed. My condolences.

  2. Well, I have to be honest. I was willing to bet that this one was going to close, simply based on the amount of area restaurants serving Spanish food. Being from Minnesota,which is essentially in the middle of the North American continent, there aren't many Spanish restaurants and I have never tried it before. Plenty of Mexican, but no Spanish and I think that it's safe to say that is like comparing Chinese and Japanese food.

  3. Good job! Spanish Pavillion still open today. Keep it up. Don't let the haters bring you down! Happy new year 2019!


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