Restaurant Impossible - Salt Works II - CLOSED

Salt Works II Restaurant Impossible

In this Restaurant Impossible episode, Chef Robert Irvine visits Salt Works II in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Salt Works II is a well established restaurant that is owned by best friends Michael and Jon.

They bought the restauant 18 months ago but neither of them have any experience of running a restaurant.

They kept the old menu and the old staff but the equipment they inherited with the restaurant failed.

They spent all their remaining money having to fix it all.

In their first year of business they lost over $100,000.

Robert arrives and discovers that they paid over $200,000 for the business name and recipes.

They are losing money everyday and they tell Robert that their food costs are at 50%!

Robert orders a mix of dishes, wanting to try both their breakfast and dinner options.

He orders eggs, grits and hash brown from the breakfast menu and fried chicken.

Whilst he is waiting for his food he speaks to the guests and inspects their food.

The guests aren't happy with the food and many complain that the food is overcooked.

In the kitchen the grill is filthy and they don't prepare anything from fresh.

Robert is left waiting for his food and he finally receives his food after more than an hours wait.

When his food arrives it is revolting - the chicken is old and salty and the rest of 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.

Robert reveals that he could make fresh gravy for less than their $10 canned gravy.

Robert talks to designer Vanessa and the rest of the design team.

He wants 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.

Michael and Jonathan are given a teamwork challenge of building furniture.

They are each given a team of staff and they have to direct their team to build their furniture the quickest.

Jonathans team wins and it proves the point that they need to be stronger leaders.

The design team has repainted some of the walls and the counter has been replaced.

Robert teaches the kitchen new recipes including Apple Cider Brined Chicken, Beef and Ground Pork Sliders and Shrimp and Grits

Robert arrives on day two and checks in with the design team.

The ghastly mural has been covered and the new bar area and counter look great.

The chairs have also been reupholstered for a new look to save some money.

To bring in a younger crowd they visit a local college campus to hand out mini sliders.

They plan to offer a special After Class happy hour in the early evening 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 he threatens to quit.

Jimmy's food is delicious so he is offered the position and Frank is demoted.

There are new t-shirts for the staff to wear for the relaunch.

The staff are only allowed their t-shirt if they know the menu and answer questions correctly on the menu items.

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

On relaunch night, there are 80 diners booked in for the service.

At the start of service 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 family...today 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.


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 March 2021.

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