Restaurant Impossible - Cap’n and the Cowboy - CLOSED

Cap’n And The Cowboy Restaurant Impossible

In this Restaurant Impossible episode, Chef Robert Irvine visits Cap'n and the Cowboy in Port Charlotte, Florida.

Cap’n and the Cowboy is a steak and seafood restaurant owned by Nick Scaringella.

Nick has a long history of working at the restaurant as he started working there at the age of 13.

He started as a dish washer and by the time he was 17 he was running the kitchen.

Four years ago, the former owner Rob wanted to sell the restaurant.

Nick wanted to buy the restaurant as he had put a lot of sweat into running the kitchen and felt invested in the business.

The asking price was $225,000 and he put down $20,000, borrowed $50,000 and the remaining he pays in rent payments to cover the mortgage.

Nick is supported in the kitchen by his girlfriend Tamar, who has also worked there for 15 years.

She also worked up through the restaurant, she started as a server and is currently the restaurant manager.

After Nick took over the business he noticed that business was starting to decline due to the struggling local economy.

The restaurant is currently losing $25,000 a month and he can only stay open for another two weeks.

Since owning the restaurant Nick hasn’t been able to pay himself from the business.

Tamar says that it is hard to see Nick suffering. He is constantly depressed, lacking energy and having trouble sleeping.

Robert arrives and isn’t impressed with the decor and thinks that it screams that no one cares about it.

He asks to meet the owners and they discuss the issues at the restaurant.

Nick and Tamar tell him that Nick bought the restaurant four years ago.

He put the cash into buying the business as he had worked there so long.

Robert discovers that he doesn’t own the building, he rents it and only owns the equipment.

He is behind on the rent that covers the mortgage payments of the restaurant.

Nick has maxed out all his credit cards and is on the verge of bankruptcy.

He is currently living with a friend as he can’t afford to have a house anymore.

In the first year of business they broke even but he stopped managing the figures and doesn’t know the figures for after this.

Nick isn’t able to tell Robert the food and labour costs and neither him or Tamar have been paid in a long time.

Robert wants to see a service so that he can see what the issues of the restaurant are.

He immediately notices that only out of seven tables have a menu on their table.

When the diners are eventually able to see the menu and order what they want many of the dishes are unavailable as they don’t have them in.

Nick doesn't keep track of his inventory so he runs out of items regularly and customers are unable to order dishes on the menu.

When they do receive the food they are able to order it isn’t right and doesn’t taste that good.

Robert samples the food, he can tell that Nick is cutting corners and this is clear in the crab cakes with no white crab meat.

Robert finds out that Nick’s brother Michael helps out in the kitchen to help them with keeping staff costs low.

Nick thinks the food is excellent and Robert tries to show him that it’s not good.

Robert leaves the kitchen to meet with designer Krista and the rest of the design team.

He asks Krista for help with the decor and accidentally breaks a cactus. Both are unimpressed with the current tacky cowboy theme.

Robert asks the staff to help the design team to remove the furniture and items from the dining room.

Next, he meets with the staff to tell them his plans for the restaurant.

The first thing he does it that he takes the staff to nearby Laishly Crab House to show them how a restaurant should be run.

This restaurant is similar to their restaurant in what it offers and he hopes it can help for the owners and staff to improve based on seeing the competition.

It is a Tuesday afternoon and the competition restaurant was packed.

They meet with the owners who reveal that they are on top of their records and inventory so they are able to adapt to the business needs.

They sample the food and think that it is high quality and delicious, especially in comparison to their own restaurant.

Robert and the staff return to the restaurant and checks in with the design team.

He isn’t impressed with their progress so far and encourages them to speed up to be finished in time for relaunch.

Before the end of the day he meets with the owners again to let them know that tomorrow will be a tough day and they need to be able to handle the pressure.

The next day, Robert has the biggest tasks to tackle ready for the restaurant to be able to relaunch.

He plans to teach Nick how to run the kitchen and back of house operations and will show Tamar how to run the front of house.

First, he checks in with the design team who are even further behind on the transformation of the restaurant.

Robert checks in with Nick and he tells him that Tamar hasn’t shown up to the restaurant yet so he would be unable to show her the front of house until she arrives.

Due to this he starts with Nick first and trains him in the kitchen on how to prepare new dishes that will be added to the menu including a new corn chowder.

They also learn updated recipes of existing dishes including Crab Cakes and Coconut Shrimp with Mango Horseradish.

Nick enjoyed the session with Robert and feels confident ready for the relaunch that evening.

Tamar arrives at the restaurant and Robert gives her a pep talk and encourages her.

She feels better after their chat and ready for the front of house training he is to give her.

Tamar responds well to the training and feels more confident in her ability to run the front of house.

Back in the kitchen Nick is getting to work on prepping for the evening service so that they can speed up service rather than starting from scratch at opening.

Robert shows the servers the new menu so that they can learn it for the relaunch service.

With not long to go until the doors open, the design team have finished in the dining room and it is time to reveal it to the owners.

Robert reveals the new restaurant and they have replaced the dark decor with a bright decor.

There is a new bar made from an old boat and a new hostess stand.

On relaunch night, the customers love the new bright, modern decor and the new food.



What Happened Next at Cap’n and the Cowboy?


Cap’n and the Cowboy closed in August 2012 despite being successful after their relaunch.

It appears that they had problems with the landlord and Nick was offered a job opportunity.

In 2013, Nick was a chef at newly opened Tortuga's restaurant which specialises in seafood.


Cap’n and the Cowboy was Restaurant Impossible season 2 episode 11 and was aired on September 28 2011.

Click for more Restaurant Impossible Restaurants

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Next episode - Mad Cactus

This post was last updated in February 2021.

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