Kitchen Nightmares - Chiarella's Ristorante - CLOSED

Chiarella's Ristorante Kitchen Nightmares

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

Chiarella's was owned by Tommy DeFino and wife Dina DeFino who believed they could be as successful in the restaurant business as Dina's parents.

Their original restaurant in New Jersey was popular and they believed if they kept everything the same that they would succeed.

Originally business was good but as it declined Tommy has struggled to keep on top of the bills and is unable to pay his rent.

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

Gordon arrives and is impressed by the quaint restaurant.

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

He sits down with the owner who tell him the food is great and the problem is the lack of customers.

He finds out Tommy is only there a few days a week and that Tommy is depressed and thinks he has let down his wife.

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 but few chicken dishes.

Gordon meets server Renata who tells him that the dishes are named after family members.

He orders the veal Sinatra, the steak Sarah Ann and the land and see Sheree but they have replaced the filet with a cheaper cut.

Whilst waiting Gordon goes down stairs and finds Tommy's gym, complete with holes in the walls.

When Gordon received the food the steak is raw, is covered in ghastly mozzarella and the veal chewy and overly pounded.

The land and sea sheree was over cooked and served with cheaper crayfish instead of lobster.

Gordon observed a dinner service and discovers that from chef Felipe that there is no one expediting in the kitchen and the food makes it own way out.

Most of the dishes are sent back and Tommy hides from the staff, retreating to his basement workout room when asked to help them.

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.

She admits she is scared of change and Gordon tells her the biggest problem is Tommy's depression.

Tommy arrives and Dina tells him her feelings and pleads with him to help save the restaurant.

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.

Gordon revamps the restaurant with all new linen and china, the menu has been cut down and he gives them Chef consultant Mike Trow to help train staff.

On relaunch night, Tommy takes charge in the kitchen and the dishes are going out at a fast pace, everyone is happy with their food.

Tommy makes a mistake and a table doesn't get their food but Gordon tells him not to let one mistake get to him and the relaunch is a success.

What Happened Next at Chiarella's?

Yelp reviewswere 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 August 2019.


  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 05:08

    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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