Restaurant Impossible - Del's Restaurant - CLOSED

Del's Restaurant Restaurant Impossible

In this Restaurant Impossible episode, Chef Robert Irvine visit's Del's Restaurant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Del's Restaurant is an Italian restaurant that has been operating for 61 years.

The restaurant is owned by Marianne and her brother John Del Pizzo.

The restaurant was opened by their grandfather and the family have been working at the restaurant for all of their lives.

Customers used to line up around the corner but revenue has dropped over the last five years.

Over the last few years around 30 competing chain restaurants have opened in the area that they now have to compete with.

They are now using their own property and money including $950,000 of their retirement funds to keep the restaurant afloat.

Robert arrives and isn't impressed with the cheap black tablecloths and old carpet.

He speaks with the owners to find out more about the restaurant.

They reveal that Marianne is front of house and John runs the kitchen.

In a good year they would make 1.6million gross but they were making just 1% profit after covering the costs.

This year they have only made 1.2million so they have been operating at a loss and are now $250,000 in debt.

They owe money to vendors and they owe on all of their utilities.

They have put in $400,000 of their own money in to try and save the restaurant including $100,000 from a college fund.

Robert invites locals to the restaurant to be able to observe a service.

The diners think the decor is old fashioned, like Grandma's and the carpet is filthy.

Marianne is running around screaming at servers and won't let them do their jobs properly.

Robert decides to taste the food but the food that he samples is poor.

The wedding soup tastes off, the fettuccine Alfredo is tasteless, the gnocchi is like clay and the pesto has no taste.

Robert confronts Marianne that the food is all frozen and microwaved.

She tells him there is no other way than frozen and there is nothing wrong with microwaving chicken.

Robert asks the diners if they are happy to be served frozen and reheated chicken.

She remains in denial and defends the sauce after Robert brands it as canned and tells her the food is why customers aren't returning.

Robert meets with designer Cheryl, who reveals that she wants to create a blend of old and new. Robert tells her that he hates the chairs.

He wants the restaurant to have an Italian theme but for it not to be tacky or have red and green colour scheme.

The staff help to clear out the restaurant, ready for the design team to get to work on the transformation.

Marianne rescues the pictures and fears change and appears to hate everything.

Robert asks the kitchen to cook all of the dishes on the menu and the first thing that Robert notices are that they are huge portions.

John reveals that they put ice cubes in the marinara sauce to cool it down quickly.

However Robert explodes at him because if the machine isn't cleaned the ice cubes will be contaminated with salmonella and it could harm someone.

He checks the machine and it is filthy and tells them to get it cleaned and thrown out any sauce that has been cooled using the ice.

Next Robert does a cook off with John and he will cook a fresh Chicken Parmesanc vs John cooking their current frozen version.

Robert is finished cooking his fresh version 5 minutes earlier and his dish is better tasting than John's frozen version.

A staff meeting is called and the staff reveal that they are embarrassed about Marianne's shouting.

They are scared of her but they can see that they care and want it to be a success.

Marianne is upset and is arguing with staff out the back, being defensive over comments made in the staff meeting.

Robert reads out customers reviews from the internet that comment on Marianne's poor behaviour in the restaurant and that she shouts at her staff in front of customers.

She admits that she has lost it.

Robert meets with the design team, who tell him that they are behind and won't be finished by 6.

Robert asks for more manpower to help with the painting in order to be able to finish on time.

Robert returns to the kitchen and a new Marinara sauce is introduced that is less sugary.

Pn the new menu they have halved the portion size and reduced the prices.

The restaurant makeover is finished on time and it is revealed to the family.

Marianne loves the new decor and her sister Josephine thinks it is beautiful.

On relaunch night, the customers love the new modern decor and are impressed with the new flavourful dishes.

The new sauce is a huge hit with customers as is the wedding soup and many customers promise to return.



What Happened Next at Del's Restaurant?


Three months later and sales were up 10%, they were making 15% income and reviews were better.

Since Robert visited, Yelp reviews are mixed, negative reviews seem to criticise the quality of food and hit and miss service.

Reviews seem to suggest that they have kept the decor and menu that Robert put in place on the show.

The business was put up for sale in early 2014.

Del's Restaurant closed in April 2015, deciding that it was time to close and saying that they had nothing left in them.

Del's Restaurant was Restaurant Impossible season 3 episode 4 and aired on February 29 2012.

Click for more Restaurant Impossible Restaurants

Previous episode - Anna Maria's

Next episode - Woody's Tupelo Steakhouse

This post was last updated in March 2021.

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