Restaurant Impossible - Mamma D's - CLOSED

Mamma D's Restaurant Impossible

In this Restaurant Impossible episode, Chef Robert Irvine visits a family-run restaurant called Mamma D's in Pikeville, Pennsylvania.

Mamma D’s is owned by Luigi Desiato, who bought the restaurant 15years ago.

It was initially a sports bar but about 8 years later they changed it to an Italian restaurant because that was what they had always wanted to do.

The restaurant is losing several thousand a week and as the restaurant declined Luigi tried to make it an attraction.

He added a vineyard, beer store and a farm, investing $1 million in the property. The farm has two donkeys, pigs, couple of sheep and lots of chickens.

Business has been up and down and the farm and vineyard was not as popular as he had hoped.

If anything it put off more people as they didn’t like the idea of seeing farm animals whilst they were eating in the restaurant.

They are currently losing $10,000 a month and Luigi is at risk at losing everything.

Robert arrives and immediately notices the smell of farm animals and describes it as the most bizarre first impression of a restaurant.

The place is cluttered, there are chickens flying about, the bar is dirty and the pigs are smelly.

Robert questions why you would rear pigs and donkeys right next to a restaurant.

Robert speaks with Luigi as he is tending to his goats and he explains it was his dream to have both a farm and a restaurant so why not combine the two.

His dream came from his travels in Europe where he visited a farm that also fed people and he liked the atmosphere of chickens under the table and animals around.

Robert meets with the rest of the family, his wife Liz and their son Nick. Nick has been to culinary school and has stepped in to help in the kitchen.

The restaurant suffers from poor sales during the week and Liz thinks people don’t realize that it is a restaurant, winery or a farm.

Robert knows that he has a lot on his plate here and needs to see a service so he invites some guests to see the restaurant in action.

The restaurant has two kitchens and Robert asks Luigi to run the front kitchen and Nick will man the back kitchen.

Robert orders dishes that need to come from both kitchens and they struggle to get the dishes to leave together from the kitchens and diners are left waiting for food.

One customers hot peppers are swimming in a bowl of oil, anothers clams are sloppy and another says she would not come back.

Robert orders food from both kitchens and the difference in taste is very noticeable.

Nicks food overall could be much better and the seafood pasta from Luigi’s kitchen was greasy. Some of the seafood and the gnocchi was also raw.

Robert tells Luigi that he needs to decide between being a restaurant or having animals, both together do not work and he can’t help whilst there are both.

Luigi tells Nick to cut corners and forget everything he's learnt in school but Robert feels this has stunted his growth and ability to push out food.

Robert meets with designer Cheryl and tells her that there needs to a wine shop and a new decor with a changed ceiling, chairs and the stained carpet needs to be changed.

She feels that this is going to be an expensive makeover but she will save money where she can and the dining room is emptied.

Cheryl and Tom reveal that they will be taking some of the available materials such as barrels and repurposing these.

Next, Robert wanted to test Luigi and Nick’s kitchen skills including knife skills and some basic cookery techniques.

Nick shines and impresses Robert whereas Luigi is struggling with the basics. Robert wants Luigi to see how capable that Nick is in the kitchen.

Robert checks in with Cheryl and Tom and is impressed with their progress and suggested a few ideas.

Robert returns to Luigi and tells him that animals and restaurants don’t mix due to the risk of spreading disease.

He tells Luigi to consider having professional handlers removing the animals by 8am the next morning.

Luigi tried to extend this deadline to 3pm but Robert declines and walks away for the evening.

Robert returns the restaurant the next day and on the drive over he considers what to do about marketing the restaurant.

When he arrives he notes that the animals are gone. In the dining room progress on the redesign is slow and Robert is unsure they will be finished on time.

Luigi reveals that the previous night they had moved the animals to his home in a new area he has created with an electric fence to keep the animals on their land.

Despite the animals being moved off site the smell from the animals remains. Robert dons some protective clothing and sprays lime on the area to get rid of the smell.

Robert works with Luigi to help him make better use of his time. He was spending nearly a hundred hours a week working on site with little time dedicated to the restaurant.

He needs to choose his focus and as a result he tells him he can no longer be a chef and Nick will run the restaurant.

Robert tells Luigi to start delegating duties and he could focus on marketing the business with more time on his hangs.

Robert asks Nick to prepare him a dish from scratch in 30 minutes and Robert thinks that it was delicious and he is worthy of being made the Executive Chef.

Instead of working alongside Luigi he will now be reporting to him as the boss and they begin to prepare for the evening relaunch.

Robert takes Luigi out to promote the restaurant and he shines in his role of marketing and advertising the restaurant to potential customers.

There is a rush at the last minute to make the 6pm deadline and with 5 minutes to go the new restaurant is revealed to the family.

They are amazed by the new look to the restaurant with the bright colours and the new wine store and Chef’s table.

The old, dark dining room has a new modern Italian feel and most importantly all the clutter is gone.

On relaunch night, the customers love the newly updated decor and feel it is warm, welcoming and bright and they praise the food.

Nick needed a little encouragement from Robert but soon steps up communicating with the staff and sending food out quickly.



What Happened Next at Mamma D's?


Reviews after Robert visited were mostly good.

He didn't keep Roberts menu and reverted to a menu using fresh ingredients from the family's farm.

A year on and business was better than it was but still a struggle due to the economy of the area.

Mamma D's closed in October 2013.

Mamma D's was Restaurant Impossible season 2 episode 8 and aired on September 7 2011.



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This post was last updated in December 2020.

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