Restaurant Impossible - Secret Garden Cafe - OPEN

Secret Garden Cafe Restaurant Impossible

Chef Robert Irvine visits The Secret Garden Cafe in Jacksonville, Florida, owned by Zack Nettles and Michael Williams. They have owned the restaurant for six years but are in  debt and only have enough money to stay open for another 3 months. The food costs are out of control and the customers have declined. Neither owner agrees with the other or have taken a salary since opening. Robert views the restaurant, hates the three sections and removes the clutter from the walls. 

He orders a range of menu items, which causes the owners to argue and shout at the staff. Customers complain that the restaurant is cold and the owner tells them to put on a coat. The food is poorly cooked using packet sauce, is covered in greens, piled up on the plate and inconsistent. Chef Ingo doesn't take the criticism well so Robert teaches them a fresh hollandaise sauce and compares it to the packet sauce. He compliments Ingo on his perfectly cooked poached eggs. 

Robert reorganises the kitchen, moving around equipment and the fridge and takes a sledgehammer to the wall. They are unable to remove the wall due to plumbing and electrical issues but they are able to cut out windows. Robert attempts to teach the kitchen new menu items but they struggle and Robert has to teach them basic cookery skills. The next morning he takes the owners to a local radio station to promote the restaurant.

When he returns he is sceptical about the decor and cooking ability of the kitchen. In order to be able to serve a dinner he suggests a buffet, which will allow Robert to monitor the quality, as the food is pre-cooked. Robert is tough on chef Mikey as he wants him to succeed and is forced to help in the kitchen with prep for the relaunch. The revamped restaurant is revealed to the owners and they love the colours and cut out windows. 

On relaunch night, customers are queuing and first impressions of the new decor are great. The gourmet buffet and the new menu is a big hit with the customers and the servers feel more organised in the new dining room. The relaunch is a success and customers are eager to return. The owners hug and appear to be getting on much better.

What Happened Next?

Yelp and Trip Advisor reviews are mostly good since Robert visited the restaurant. Business was up 50% after the show was originally aired and their website has seen a huge increase in traffic. They returned to the original opening hours and only briefly opened for dinner but have been able to open a second location. 

Secret Garden Cafe was season 1 episode 6 and aired on February 23 2011, there were 7 episodes in the season, airing from January to March 2011 and the closure rate for Restaurant Impossible Season 1 currently stands at 86%.

Recipes Featured in this Episode

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