Restaurant Impossible - Villari's - CLOSED

Villari's Restaurant Impossible

Chef Robert Irvine travels to Palmyra, New Jersey, to save a 60 year old family restaurant from the brink of closure.

The restaurant opened in 1948 and Paul Villari 3rd took over from his father 15 years ago but the numbers have dwindled as the customers are dying off.

Paul has been unable to bring in new customers and is close to losing the family business.

Paul spends 20 hours, 7 days at a week at the restaurant and his mother Helen is hoping that the restaurant can be restored to it's former glory.

Robert arrives and Paul tells him that he had two customers in for dinner and is no longer paying himself a salary.

Robert reveals that first impressions are terrible, the walls, carpets and ceiling are filthy, there is a foul smell and there is nothing to attract younger clientele.

He removes the neon lights, the wall of signs and the artificial flowers.

Next he meets the staff are accuses them of being complacent about the dirt and discovers that they don't have an executive chef for their huge menu.

He asks the chefs to all cook one dish and each dish is different.

Robert wants to promote Justin but his priority is his real estate career.

The design team are brought in, they rip up the carpet and remove the hostess stand.

Robert tests the staff on the dishes, choosing them from sight and the staff fail to recognise the dishes and don't know how they are cooked.

Robert isn't happy with the chairs, the paint job is sloppy and the paint is wet.

Robert loves the mural of the family that cost just $200 and the walls have been painted in a light tone and carpet tiles are installed.

Robert auditions 4 local chefs for the Executive Chef position by giving them an hour to cook a menu of three dishes and chose Michael, who then turns down the position.

This led to a dash after Christina who accepted the position.

A smaller menu is created with just 15 items, a combination of new dishes and updated classics.

Robert is forced to hire chairs for the relaunch but they don't send enough and he is forced to also use the old chairs.

Standards start off poor as wine glasses are found to have marks on them and time is running out for the relaunch.

The revamp is revealed and the family love the new look of the restaurant.

On relaunch night, the kitchen is in chaos as the orders pour in and the serving staff struggle to keep up.

The guests love the new food but one customer is the victim of wet paint!

The relaunch is a success and the customers are happy.

What Happened Next at Villari's?

Yelp and Trip Advisor reviews since filming were mostly poor, with complaints of overpriced beer and poor service.

They kept Robert's new menu for just 60 days after his visit before returning to their previous menu.

They claimed that the show did not bring enough custom from the publicity of being featured on the show and that customers wanted the old menu back preferring more simple food and lower prices.

They changed the name to Jerseys Pub 73, under the same ownership but Villari's closed in May 2015.

Recipes Featured in this Episode

Clams Casino

She Crab Soup

Eggplant Cannelloni

Villari's was Restaurant Impossible season 1 episode 1 and aired January 19 2011.

Click for more Restaurant Impossible Restaurants

Next episode - Mainelli's

This post was last updated in November 2019.

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