Restaurant Impossible - Salt Works II - CLOSED

Salt Works II Restaurant Impossible

In this Restaurant Impossible episode, Chef Robert Irvine travels to Wilmington, North Carolina.

Salt Works II is a well established restaurant that was bought by best friends Michael and Jon 18 months ago who have no experience of running a restaurant.

They kept the old menu and the old staff but the equipment failed and they spent all their money to fix it.

Robert arrives and discovers that they paid over $200,000 for the business name and recipes and their food costs are 50%!

Robert samples a mix of dishes, speaks to the guests and inspects their food.

When his food arrives it is revolting - the chicken is old and salty and the food is bland and overcooked.

The kitchen staff aren't happy with the food and can't name a single item that isn't canned or frozen and Robert reveals that he could make fresh gravy for less than their $10 canned gravy.

Robert talks to the designer and plans to introduce a bar and wine sales to the restaurant.

The owners accept their fault in the failure of the restaurant and their poor leadership.

They are given a teamwork challenge of building furniture. Whilst the dining room is repainted and the counter replaced Robert teaches the kitchen new recipes.

The ghastly mural is covered, the new bar area and counter look great and the chairs are reupholstered.

To bring in a younger crowd they visit a local college campus and offer a special with sliders and cheap beer.

They have a cook off challenge to choose the new Executive chef, Frank admits that he is out of his depth and Jimmy's food is delicious so he is offered the position.

There are new t-shirts and the staff are only allowed their t-shirt if they know the menu items.

The restaurant is revealed and Michael and Jon love the new decor.

On relaunch night, Jimmy copes in the kitchen and is communicating well but begins to struggle.

The servers struggle to find their tables and chicken is sent back as raw.

Despite the hitches the restaurant and bar are packed, the customers are happy with the food and promise to return.

What Happened Next at Salt Works II?

The reviews were mostly positive since filming the episode, the reviews vastly improved during 2014/15.

After filming owner Mike Thyberg said that they have been busy and there were younger customers coming to try the restaurant.

Salt Works II closed in November 2015, posting the following on Facebook -

"Well today is a sad day for most of the Saltworks II was our last day to be open for business . We want to say thank you to all of our loyal customers for your patronage and to all of our valued employees for your hard work over the last 6 years.

It's been one heck of a run, but sadly it must come to an end. We had planned on letting the public know today and had hoped to work through the weekend and go out with a bang, but due to the loss of some key employees mid-day today, we cannot staff accordingly.

We're sorry for the short notice. To those employees who were going to stick it out to the end... thank you. Thank you for your loyalty and hard work . Thank you for your early mornings and late afternoons.

We will miss you and if you ever need anything from us, all you need to do is ask. Thank you again to all of our customers. We are sorry that things are ending this way. We will miss seeing you every day or every weekend. We thank you for your support over the years.

The restaurant was sold for $660,000 in January 2017.

Recipes Featured in this Episode

Apple Cider Brined Chicken

Beef and Ground Pork Sliders

Shrimp and Grits

Salt Works II was Restaurant Impossible season 1 episode 4 and was aired on February 9 2011

Click for more Restaurant Impossible Restaurants

Previous episode - Rascal's BBQ and Crab House

Next episode - Meglio's

This post was last updated in December 2019.

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