Chiarella's Ristorante - Kitchen Nightmares Update - Open or Closed?

Chiarella's Ristorante Kitchen Nightmares

In this Kitchen Nightmares episode, Gordon Ramsay visits Chiarella’s in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Chiarella’s was opened by Tommy and Dina Delphino in 2007.

They opened the restaurant after the original New Jersey Chiarella’s owned by Dina’s parents closed.

In New Jersey, the restaurant was a success and extremely popular and they thought it would be just as successful in Philadelphia.

Business did start off well but as it declined Tommy has struggled to keep on top of the bills and is unable to pay his rent.

The owners believe the food is good but the staff think otherwise.

The staff say whenever there is a problem Tommy disappears into the basement.

Gordon arrives and is impressed by the quaint restaurant.

He meets Dina and finds out about the history of the business.

Tommy emerges from the basement where he has been lifting weights to meet Gordon.

Dina says the restaurant is in trouble because of inconsistency but both stand behind the food as being good.

They admit they don’t agree on how they run the business and Dina doesn’t like how he runs the kitchen.

Tommy says that he is in the restaurant 7 days a week but Dina says that he is only there 2-3 days a week.

Gordon asks to speak with Tommy alone and finds out he is very anxious about the business and he is just trying his best.

Gordon discovers that the menu, theme and decor is the same as Dina's parents restaurant.

He reads the menu and discovers that there are a lot of veal dishes and chicken dishes.

The dishes are also named after famous people or family members.

Gordon orders the veal sinatra, steak sarah ann, and the land and sea sheree.

The server says they don’t have a fillet and offers a cheaper cut as a substitute.

Gordon asks for the bathroom and it is in the basement.

On the way he gets lost and sees Tommy’s gym with dents and holes in the wall.

He calls Tommy to explain and he says it is his office where he relieves stress.

Back upstairs he samples the steak dish and it is messy, the steak is raw and covered it mozzarella.

Tommy is called to the table and Gordon tells him to have a word with the chef.

The veal is chewy and lacks texture as it has been too heavily pounded by the chef.

Last is the land and sea sheree, it is overcooked, bland and chewy and is served with cheaper crayfish instead of lobster.

Gordon asks the server to taste it and she admits it’s not good and she gives it back to the chef to taste.

Gordon goes into the kitchen to meet the chef and owners.

The head chef Felipe has been there for 5 years but the food is dated and he is not allowed to change anything.

Gordon blames the owners for preventing the chef from being able to do his job.

He also points out the menu they inherited was a set up for failure.

Tommy disagrees passionately and Gordon says he is in denial.

Gordon returns in the evening to observe the dinner service.

He is shocked to find out Tommy is waiting on tables.

Once services starts, he notices that there is no expediter.

Tommy is unaware that they need someone to do this and the chef admits there is no system in the kitchen.

Despite this, food still goes out quickly but the food is also sent back quickly as the customers aren’t happy.

In the kitchen, Gordon tastes the food that was sent back and has Tommy taste it too.

After this he then leaves to hide in the basement.

Dina tries to get Tommy to go back up but he refuses and Dina steps in to expedite in the kitchen.

The complaints on the food keep coming in, the food is oily, greasy, watery and inedible.

Tommy refuses to talk to chef Filipe so Gordon does the talking.

Dina continues in her role helping in the kitchen until the service ends.

Gordon meets with staff for feedback and Dina continues to be in denial and thinks that the food is good.

Tommy says he doesn’t talk to Filipe about the food that the cooks because he hates confrontation.

Gordon tells them that if they don’t want to face the truth, they should shut the place down and save their money.

The next morning Gordon talks to Dina at home and she denies there is a problem with the food, at which points Gordon threatens to leave.

Gordon tells them not to be scared of change as what they are doing at the restaurant is not working.

They discuss Tommy’s depression and he joins them for the rest of the meeting.

They want to bring the old Tommy back but he doesn’t think he can as he has been pulled down by the restaurant for too long.

They remind him he hasn’t failed yet and talk him up until he believes he can come back and recover from this.

Tommy returns to the restaurant with a new positive outlook on the restaurant.

Gordon wants him more involved in the kitchen and gives him a cookery lesson.

They cook a new dish that will be added to the menu along with Filipe.

Tommy is excited and he is proud of the meal they make together.

Gordon’s team work all night to transform Chiarella’s.

The new restaurant is brighter with light walls which open up the space and reclaimed wood on feature walls.

They have also got all new white linen tablecloths and white china.

The menu has been cut down with less veal and chicken dishes.

They sample the new food and all love the new dishes on the menu.

Gordon reveals he has asked chef Mike Trout to come to the restaurant and train Filipe and Tommy.

On relaunch night, the orders come in and Tommy is leading the kitchen.

They are sending food out at a good pace and the customers are pleased with the food that they receive.

One table is left waiting and it turns out that Tommy had made a mistake with their table number.

He almost shuts down but is reminded to push through and correct his mistake.

The order is quickly prepared and taken out to the waiting customers, who are delighted with their food.

They do very well and the relaunch night ends on a high note.

Gordon tasks them to keep up the good job and they can become the talk of the town.

He also points out they are a good team and they should depend on each other.

What Happened Next at Chiarella's?

Yelp reviews were mostly positive, with negative reviews complaining of poor service.

Trip Advisor reviews were very positive, with a 4.5 rating.

A review from Philly Mag reveals an average affair and that not much had changed, it was slightly improved.

Gordon returned a year later, business is up 20% and to increase profit they are getting a liquor license. Tommy is happier, more confident and no longer depressed.

Gordon is so pleased with the changes and ongoing success that he offers to contribute towards their liquor license.

Chiarella's Ristorante closed on the 30th June 2015, blaming the rising costs of renting the space for the closure.

They did not want to close but their lease had expired, the landlord had decided to increase the rent and they could not afford to pay it.

Rival Bros Coffee planned to open in their space in July 2017 but opened later in the year.

Chiarella's Ristorante was aired on March 30 2012, the episode was filmed in November 2011 and is Kitchen Nightmares season 5 episode 14.

Read About More Kitchen Nightmares

Previous episode - Cafe Hon

Next episode - Zocalo

This post was last updated in March 2023.


  1. I hope Tommy was able to put aside the tough guy, provider mentality and get some real help. It was sad not to see anyone display that they understood what was going on with his mental health.

    1. Yes, God bless his heart; he appears to have the kind of depression that requires training and management. Kinda like the diabeetus.

      But remember, this is a reality show, so it's edited for maximum drama.

      What counts is that they're still in business—despite the horribleness of their Web site.

    2. he did not have mental health issues. he was a guy that shucked him responsibilities and could not handle confrontation or pressure. Some can't. If you are not taught how to handle pressure and confrontation when you are young, then you are not going to magically learn it when you are an adult. that's why so many spoiled millennials have so many issues with stress and confrontation and live off of anxiety meds.

    3. Pressure? Millenials have enough pressure to deal with. No wonder they're taking meds. With a failing job market, insane debt coming out of university without promise of a job or something relevant, housing not being affordable and an aging and environmental crisis looming pending devastation consequences it's no wonder. Baby boomers had a good life. They had more security than any millennial could ever dream of. Stop generalizing

    4. @Anon, the baby boomer's not going to reply. He hasn't had his anxiety meds...

  2. Nice family. I really felt for Tommy and wish them all nothing but the best!

  3. wayneco33@verizon,net17 July 2014 at 04:08

    I was amazed and genuinely saddened to see this man Tommy so beaten just waiting for that final knockout punch to relieve him of his tragic existence. Thankfully , Chef Ramsay picked him up and brushed him off enabling Tommy at another opportunity to succeed and feel better in general. A very moving positive turn around. I have only the best of wishes for Tommy , his family and his renewed staff. Sincerely , Wayneco.

  4. I felt for Tommy, and I could understand his issues. He was going through a lot of self shame, and believe me, self shame is difficult to overcome. I hope he was able to get the help he needed.

    Too bad to see this one close down. Shows you how costly it is to run a business.

  5. The daughter has major league yabbos

  6. Anonymous, always comments on these pages. Why is that? Then he makes comments about the daughter himself, and proceeds to go after others. This dude is pathetic, always has been.

    1. Uhh anonymous isn't one person, its what people chose to reply as if they don't want to attach an account to their comment...

    2. Dude, get off my back. I don't follow you around online. She had major league yabbo's get over yourself!

  7. I never understood when GR returned, how they said they needed a liquor license, but people were drinking in the backround and they themselves had wine on the table?

    1. Beer and wine are classified differently than liquor such as vodka/whiskey etc.

  8. Perhaps they had a BYOB policy?

  9. They did have a BYOB license. They weren't allowed to sell alcohol.

  10. Chef Ramsay clearly knows the human psyche and how to mesh that by spotlighting the owners, workers & customers' issues, using empathy & a good dose of shock therapy, all the while staying on course to right the ship and get the restaurant back on track with a fresh start. Chef Ramsay also knows how to pull the best out of people by pushing the right buttons to wake up the owners & staff.


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