Kitchen Nightmares - Luigi's D'Italia - OPEN

Luigi's D'Italia Kitchen Nightmares

In this Kitchen Nightmares episode, Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Luigi’s D’Italia in Anaheim, California.

Luigi's D'Italia was opened by Luigi Catizone in 1981 and run by him and his family.

He was aided by his father Dominic for financing the restaurant.

The restaurant was successful for many years after they opened.

In 1999, Dominic retired to Italy and Luigi’s brother Tony came to join his brother and help run the restaurant.

Soon the differing views of Tony and Luigi became a problem for the restaurant.

Tony’s laidback attitude cause Luigi and Grace, his wife to yell at him in front of staff and customers.

All three clash often and it is fracturing the family as well as effecting the business.

They are losing money and only able to remain open for one more month as they are $1.5million in debt.

Gordon checks out their website and sees that they are advertising that they have a 22 year old head chef.

Gordon arrives excited to see the chef but meets Luigi who is 51 years old.

He queries that bit is told that the post was from 1981 and the most recent review is from 1991.

Luigi says the food is a lot better and he runs it with his family.

Gordon asks to be introduced to the family.

He meets his wife Grace, his Daughter Dominica, his brother Tony and Linda, Tony’s wife.

They all sit down with Gordon and he asks them what’s wrong with the restaurant.

Tony reveals he oversees the restaurant from Monday to Wednesday while Luigi runs it from Thursday to Sunday because they don’t get along.

Luigi and Grace say Tony and Linda are too lazy and they don’t care about the restaurant.

There are also complaints about customers not wanting to meet Grace as she is rude to them.

This immediately gets Grace riled up and a shouting match ensues between all 4 adults.

Gordon sits down to eat lunch from the menu and finds that the menu is huge, with 126 items on it.

He orders a ravioli dish, linguini and the catch of the day which is mahi mahi.

As he waits for his food he looks around and comments that the decor is very dated.

The ravioli arrives first, it is stuffed with five cheese and is premade.

Gordon asks what the cheeses are so the server has to go find out what type of cheese is in it from the box.

Gordon finds the taste to be horrible and doesn’t even taste like cheese.

Next is the mahi mahi which is bland, greasy and mush.

He has the server taste it and he agrees it could be better.

In the kitchen, Luigi is not accepting any of the feedback and Gordon can hear him arguing with Tony in the kitchen.

Luigi comes to meet Gordon at his table about the feedback and leaves when Gordon asks to finish his meal first.

Last to arrive is the linguini which is weird, grainy and tastes disgusting.

Gordon goes to the kitchen to meet Luigi and Tony and he asks why the food was horrible but Luigi is defensive.

Gordon says Luigi has lost his spark and he needs to find it.

Gordon comes back for the evening service and notices that the food is coming out fast but no one is tasting the food.

He is told this always happens, no one ever tastes the food.

The food is sent back just as fast as being received and Luigi can’t take the feedback.

He is shouting at his staff and the diners can hear the noise from the kitchen.

Gordon comes to meet him in the kitchen and tries to talk to him, but Luigi doesn’t want to listen and shouts at him also.

Luigi walks out and Tony has to come to talk him back into finishing off the dinner service.

Luigi comes back in and Gordon reminds them both of the sign outside that says they have ‘the best Italian food west of Italy’.

He tells them they have a problem but they are not facing it and they need to work smarter not harder.

Gordon meets the family the next day and they tell him they have never had a staff meeting before.

Gordon organises a staff meeting and has the family sit in a back room to watch the responses.

Gordon asks the staff to be honest about the problems of the restaurant.

They say they can’t talk to the owners and if they do they get an argument from them.

They think that the owners need to listen to customers and they need to taste the food before it leaves the kitchen.

They have also noticed that they are stressed out by the work environment.

They say it is a constant battle between the two couples and it has caused customers to leave in the past.

They quickly pinpoint Grace as the biggest problem and say that she is disruptive and scares them.

She doesn’t want to hear it and says it is all lies.

She feels ganged up on and she breaks down wanting to leave the business.

Gordon tries to make her see that it is not personal, they are her team and they are there for her.

He takes the owners to sit with the staff and he addresses them all together.

They need to be honest and communicate to be able to make the business work.

To try and fix the relationships, the family is taken to the kitchen to make some spicy sausages.

Gordon and Luigi then use the sausages to make a dish together and they are all happy with the meal.

Gordon has a surprise for the family and staff, it is a video message from Dominic in Italy.

He reminds them they are family and they built the business together.

Gordon’s team work all night on the new Luigi’s.

It now has an Italian theme and the restaurant looks like an Italian get away.

They all love the changes and Luigi is reminded of his father.

The menu has been simplified and features new seasonal dishes.

The staff all love the new menu.

For relaunch night there is positivity in the air and Luigi is in the charge of the kitchen while Tony is expediting.

The food leaves the kitchen quickly and diners are enjoying the new menu.

Tony soon disappears and food gets backed up on the food window with diners waiting.

Gordon gets Tony and Luigi communicating so things pick up again and the night ends a success.

The staff celebrate the success of the night, Luigi and Tony hug and Gordon has Grace promise not to scream in the restaurant.



What Happened Next at Luigi's D'Italia?

Over the next few weeks, Luigi's receives a great review from the local OC newspaper and is regaining it's good reputation in the neighbourhood.

Luigi's is still open.

Luigi reported that business was up 40% after the show aired.

Yelp reviews are mostly positive and the few negative posts are mostly complaints on service.

Trip Advisor reviews are mostly positive.

In September 2017, they closed their original Anaheim restaurant after the building was sold with plans to relocate.

They opened at their new location in December 2017, posting the below on their Facebook page

We are so excited to announce we are finally open! Our hours are Tuesday - Friday 11am-10pm Saturday and Sunday 12pm-10pm We will be closed Mondays for maintenance and food prep. Our new address is 1032 E Bastanchury Rd Fullerton 92835. It is a smaller express location for mostly takeout orders but we do have a few tables to dine in. We look forward to seeing you soon!

They also offer catering services.

Planning a visit to the restaurant? Check out their website for opening hours and more info.

Luigi's D'Italia was aired on October 14 2011, the episode was filmed in July 2011 and is Kitchen Nightmares season 5 episode 7.


Read About More Kitchen Nightmares

Previous episode - Mike & Nellie's

Next episode - Burger Kitchen


This post was last updated in February 2021.

13 comments:

  1. Seriously no one wants to be yelled at by the staff. Why didn't Gordon acknowledge this? All she was saying was 'Lies, Lies, Lies" they had it on bloody video!

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    Replies
    1. Chef Ramsey seems to shy away from confrontation when it actually might be harmful to the person's well-being. She was so distraught when confronted, there was little to be gained by rubbing her nose in the proof. She may have been saying it was all lies, but she knows the truth.

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    2. I think you may be a bit too dismissive of her mood. I had dated a bipolar borderline lady for many years, the break downs and sudden mood swings almost perfectly mirror my ex in a way that gave me flash backs.

      Pushing these people further doesn't help them, you need to calm them down to help them regain control.

      Delete
  2. Tony's comments were ignorant and inexcusable...but I think he only said them to create a united front with Luigi vs. Gordon as a common enemy. Obviously he could have done so without being a silly bigot.

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  3. Calling Ramsay English is an insult. He's Scottish.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He's dual nationality, born in Scotland, raised in England.

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    2. He's not dual nationality. Nationality is British. But he is Scottish and not English.

      Delete
  4. I have eaten at this restaurant quite a few times. I really enjoy the food.

    Luigi is a great guy. The first time we went he seated us and took our order personally. He is friendly and very easy to talk to.

    His brother Tony is totally cool too. Very very friendly and always smiling.

    However, Luigi's wife is very strange. Out of the many times my family and I have been there she was friendly to us once. For the most part she looks mad. I am always afraid to ask her for more water or an extra napkin.

    Like I mentioned before the food is good so we do not let Luigi's wife keep us from returning. If she is there we just say oh well...let's eat!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a serious problem, though. You wouldn't keep on a member of staff if they were flipping out at the guests every other day, and the same should be true for anyone who works there, Owner's Wife or no.

      There is a level of professionalism and integrity that needs to be maintained at restaurants, and Grace screaming like a banshee whenever someone gives her or someone she cares about criticism of any sort is simply unacceptable.

      No one wants to go to a restaurant where they're harassed, and if you are afraid to even ask for more water, they do not deserve your money. Make it painfully clear to the owner: either your mental patient of a wife goes, or your customers do, and you literally can't afford the latter, so I suggest you get your wife comfortable at home, or your restaurant's about to sleep with the fishes.

      Delete
  5. They have moved to Fullerton now. The food is phenomenal and the atmosphere is calm and inviting. Much smaller place with a few outside tables. Glad they put this stupid show behind them! WE LOVE THE FOOD!

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    Replies
    1. I agree with you they are totally different than on TV. If anyone has dealt with reality TV they do everything they can to push buttons create stress and cause drama. Don't believe all the hype about them being crazy. Grace is very kind if you put in the effort to get to know her.

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  6. I visited the Anaheim location. The family was so busy fighting with each other, that never took our order. We waited 40 minutes flagged down the daughter who said her mom was in charge of waitressing. We got up and left. After nearly an hour we finally got water. We got up left and never got to try any of their food.

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  7. The important thing is they have overcome a lot of challenges. And evidently are still going strong; good for them!

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