Sam's Mediterranean Kabob Room - Kitchen Nightmares Update - Open or Closed?

Sam's Mediterranean Kabob Room Kitchen Nightmares

In this Kitchen Nightmares episode, Gordon Ramsay visits Sam's Mediterranean Kabob Room in Monrovia, California.

Sam's Mediterranean Kabob Room is owned by Sam Najarr and his family and is located 30 minutes northeast of Los Angeles.

Sam worked in the restaurant starting in 1982 as a bus boy and decided to buy the restaurant in 1997.

Business was good to begin with but has since slowed down. Sam was forced to sack his staff to reduce costs and is now $70,000 in debt.

The only staff he has left at the restaurant are his family including his wife and children.

They argue in front of the customers and resent being forced to work in the restaurant.

Gordon is met by Sam's children, they all have plenty to say about the problems at the restaurant.

They also have plenty to say about each other but they mainly blame their father for the arguments.

Gordon is shocked to discover that all the children all work at the restaurant.

They are also working long 12 hour shifts, seven days a week and none of them want to work there anymore.

They all have their own dreams and aspirations but they are unable to pursue them as they are stuck at the restaurant supporting their father.

Gordon arrives and is greeted by Sam and discovers that he doesn't pay his children.

He can't afford to pay them wages but tries to justify the lack of wages as they all live at his home for free.

Sam rates his food as a 9/10 and recommends a lamb shank from New Zealand to Gordon.

Gordon sits down to order from the menu and notices that there are many spelling errors on the menu.

Gordon orders the Vegetable Combo, Lamb Shank, Gyro and the Top Sirloin Steak and Shrimp, cooked medium rare.

The Vegetable Combo has dreadful canned eggplant and both the falafel and hummus are bland with no seasoning.

When Gordon sends back the first dish, the kitchen starts arguing and this continues throughout his entire meal.

The Gyro is bought in, frozen and dry and the lamb shank looks anaemic and tastes like bland boiled lamb.

The steak is overcooked, solid and dry and the shrimp scampi is swimming in butter, rubbery and overcooked.

Gordon calls the staff together and tells them his criticism of the food, to which the chef admits he has given up.

Gordon arrives to observe a dinner service and meets Sams wife, who doesn't think the children should be working in the restaurant.

Gordon discovers mouldy food in the kitchen and in the walk in fridge he finds huge buckets of chopped parsley, bendy celery, soft cucumbers and rotten lettuce.

They try to serve raw chicken to a customer as the Chef says it is cooked on the outside so he thought it also was cooked inside.

The family argue loudly yet again after service and the argument spills into the street outside.

The next day Gordon sits down with the children and tells them to be honest with their father.

He wants them to explain that they want their lives and careers to go a different way, be more independent and not work 24/7 at the restaurant.

Sam puts his foot down saying that the family rule is that he makes the decisions for the family, they all speak their mind to their father and there is a lot of tears.

Gordon gives the staff cooking lessons including cooking the kebabs on the skewer and there will only be one person cooking on the grill so they aren't crossing over each other all night.

Overnight, his team give the restaurant one of the biggest and most expensive transformations they have ever done.

The restaurant has been modernised with new carpets, freshly painted walls and new chairs and tables.

The menu has also been revamped with a menu of new cintemporary Mediterranean dishes and recipes, the staff sample the food and love it.

On relaunch night, the customers are raving about the decor and they love the new food.

The family are working well together in the kitchen, are more calm and organised and most importantly they aren't fighting with each other.

As Gordon is leaving he gives them the framed photo he took of the family.

What Happened Next at Sam's Mediterranean Kabob Room?

We are told that in the following months, the children have been given time off and Sam is planning on hiring new staff.

Sam's Mediterranean Kabob Room closed in January 2014 with owner Sam telling the press that appearing on the show didn't work out.

After the show they didn't do much better than before, they had a brief surge in business for around two weeks but did not gain long term business from appearing on the show.

Sam also blamed the rise of competition from other restaurants in the area and a number of new Mediterranean restaurants planned to open close to their location.

Yelp reviews after the show filmed were mixed but mostly average or poor with criticisms of both the food and the service.

Trip Advisor reviews were mostly positive.

The restaurant had a peak in business after the show aired but it only lasted a matter of weeks.

Sam's Mediterranean Kabob Room was aired on February 15 2013, the episode was filmed in July 2012 and is Kitchen Nightmares season 6 episode 8.

This post was last updated in March 2023.


  1. I don't get what Ramsey thought was wrong with the scampi. It's supposed to be "swimming" in butter, least that's how it's been any place I've ever had it, and it's good where I've had it. Maybe Europeans do it differently and he snobbily thinks only that way is right? (Obviously if the shrimp was tough that's another issue, but the butter made him flip out the most).

    1. Scampi is a langoustine (a tiny lobster), popular in Europe. Shrimp scampi are shrimp cooked in the manner of scampi. The scampi sauce should have garlic, parsley, white wine and a touch of butter. It should never be swimming in grease though. That is the hallmark of a bad "scampi". I'm sure Ramsey has had seafood and scampi prepared correctly in his travels. There is no reason to have tough shrimp, lobster, calamari etc...and that is always due to human error-either cooking too long or frozen and the water leeches out before you even cook it.

    2. Gordon Ramsey IS European since he's English and England is in Europe!

    3. Someone actually just said Britain is an Island and not part of Europe. Guess since I live in Ireland, and it's also an island, I'm not in Europe.

      Lol I'm dead

    4. I just now watched the episode, and very carefully examined the steak segment (I encourage anyone to do the same that is curious about this--it's on youtube). While, yes, it is indeed cooked medium-well (Ramsay ordered med-rare), it is definitely not "dry" or "solid". Despite careful editing to hide it, it's clear to see that it cut VERY easily and had a juiciness consistent with a medium to medium-high quality steak cooked med-well. This is just Ramsey inventing a 'problem' that simply DID NOT exist, for reasons I think we can all figure out.

  2. I'm kinda bummed to see them closed. I Went there with my mom a few years ago. before the change, it was BAD. So bad in fact that I saw a cockroach crawl on the wall. When we told them this, Sam came out and told us we to please come back and that he'd give us free food. When I saw them on TV I really saw to what extent the badness was. I would have reallyyy liked to try their new restaurant.

  3. It blows my mind that these Lebanese people were Clueless as how to serve even classic Lebanese dishes. I'm not at all surprised that they went out of business as a matter of fact I expected it.

  4. How sad this place closed! Out of all the KN eps I've watched, this family had to be in the top 2 or 3 that I was really really rooting for! Sad for everyone!

  5. Wow I was actually planning on going here to eat! Bummer

  6. I didn't see enough people saying how hot the mom or daughter was. It's called the American dream because it isn't real

  7. I definitely think Jamal was the main instigator, with the girls, with the boys in the kitchen, I think take him out of the equation and it'd still be a hot bed, but there would be less fighting.

    1. Sadly the biggest issue was them being there 7 days a week and for such a long time, people would get sick of seeing each other if they were there constantly, living under the same roof and working in the same environment. Their problems were inevitable, sadly those problems were caused by the father, as harsh as that might be and as harsh as the next part will be, he was basically holding them back.

      that was the real instigator for the tensions, even though the kids didn't help either.

  8. I actually feel really sad for Sam the dad, he just had a dream of working with all his children and you could see how much it hurt him when he realised that his kids didn't share that dream

  9. I'm glad the kids are free now, none of them wanted to work in the restaurant so it's probably for the best that it closed. I really hope they're able to catch up on their lives.

  10. Sad they closed. In the end they looked like a lovely family that would be able to pull it.


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