Restaurant Impossible - Off Street Cafe - OPEN

Off Street Cafe Restaurant Impossible

In this Restaurant Impossible episode, Chef Robert Irvine visits Off Street Cafe in Cerritos, California.

Off Street Cafe is owned by an ex mother in law Rose and daughter in law Robin who struggle to run the restaurant together.

Rose purchased the restaurant after being approached by the previous owner to buy it.

She asked hairdresser Robin to become her partner in the restaurant when she was married to her son but they later divorced.

When the restaurant first opened, they were very successful and takings were good, so they were able to pay back the $400,000 loan on the restaurant.

Rose had an accident and Robin was left to run the restaurant whilst raising two young children.

As the income declined the debts crept back up and they are now in debt to the sum of the $100,000.

Robert arrives and isn’t impressed with the outdated dining room decorated with christmas lights.

He asks the pair to sit down and talk about the problems at the restaurant.

They talk about how they came to run the restaurant and that they are behind with the payroll.

Rose tells him that she had a boating accident and requires regular surgery that sees her out of action for six months at a time.

Robin was then forced to take over and she doesn’t know about running a restaurant.

She admits that her and her husband have invested their retirement income and have not been paying themselves.

Robert wants to sample the food and asks for a menu. He orders a shrimp dish and watches the service carefully around him.

The service is poor with unhappy looking servers who ignore the customers needs. One customers is waiting to pay and wants the cheque but their hand is ignored.

One server is rude to a customer and Robert says he would fire a member of staff if they acted like that in his restaurant.

Robert asks them to staff and calls over the servers after seeing them all stood together by the service window.

Robert tells one that he thought they were rude and had an attitude. He tells them that one guest who was trying to pay with a credit card was totally ignored.

Robert can tell that Robin’s heart isn’t in being a manager and tells her she either wants it or doesn’t.

Robin admits that due to the repetitive nature she turned off. She also hates having to repeat herself to staff who don’t listen to her.

Robert says it sounds like they have all given up on each other and that needs to end today.

Robert thinks that there is nothing appealing about the food from what he has seen with the pasta, open beef sandwich, liver and the fried chicken salad.

Some of the food is also burnt and they have attempted to hide it by covering it in sauce and the portion sizes are huge.

They are clearly losing money on the dishes as the portions are so large and customers are likely to ask to take leftovers home.

Robert meets Alex in the kitchen who admits that they don’t sell much off the vast menu but they keep buying the produce and keep a large inventory at all times.

They are wasting thousands of dollars on produce that ends up going to waste as the dishes don’t sell.

Robert feels that he needs to tackle the lack of leadership, adjust the attitudes and lastly a menu that makes them money. The pricing needs adjusting and the decor needs updating.

Robert meets with designer Taniya and he tells her that he doesn’t like the booths, the colour, the lighting, carpet or the chairs.

He wants her to change everything about the restaurant, he wants a $100,000 renovation done for just $10,000.

They empty out the restaurant to be able to start getting to work on the renovations.

The renovation has hiccups as they need to hire a machine to take up the carpet.

Robert asks them to put a flag next to the top five selling items on the menu and they only get two out of five correct.

They have no idea what is selling and this is why their freezers are full of produce that isn’t selling.

Robert plans to create a menu of their best selling items and a number of new dishes that he will add.

He explains that they can purchase local, fresh fish for less than frozen fish. It can be made into two dishes – California Fish and Chips and Fish Tacos with Corn Salsa.

Robert checks in with Taniya, who had delays as it took 4 hours to lift the carpet and explains they don’t have the money to recarpet so she is going to paint the floor.

She wants to do a French country, shabby chic style decor for the dining room.

The next day, Robert arrives and the team have been working all night on the decor.

He wants to work on Robin’s management skills and the attitude of staff.

Overnight, Robert had researched the restaurant and found a number of negative reviews online about the service in the restaurant.

Customers claimed to be ignored and saw the waitresses chatting to another rather than serving them.

They all blame each other for being rude and food is left in the window.

Robert tells them that they all need to step up and work together or the restaurant will close.

He suggests that they write down what has gone wrong and have a meeting each week to discuss them.

Robert asks the staff to learn the new menu so that they can work on improving their service skills during a mock service.

Next, he checks in with Taniya and the progress of the renovations. They have spray painted the chairs and reupholstered the booth.

Tom tells him that the bar is finished and just needs a repaint and he is working on paneling for the walls.

Robert is going to test their service skills but what he hasn’t told them is that one of the tables had the author of one of the poor reviews he read out earlier.

The service is much better and Robert asks them to return for the relaunch and to give them a second chance.

At 4.30, the floor still isn’t dry so they can’t bring the furniture back into the restaurant.

Robert is in the kitchen whilst the staff practice the new menu.

After a small delay the restaurant is finished and the new look is revealed to Rose and Robin.

They are over the moon with the newly designed restaurant and a revamped hostess trolley.

On relaunch night, the customers love the new decor and the new fish dishes are a big hit with the customers.



What Happened Next at Off Street Cafe?


Off Street Cafe is open and they appear to have kept most of Roberts menu changes but in June 2014, they changed the decor.

Both Yelp reviews and Trip Advisor reviews are very good with compliments to both the service and the food.

Robert revisited the restaurant in a Revisited special in June 2019 and helped Robin to regain control of the staff and develop her management skills.

If you plan to visit the restaurant please visit their website for opening hours, menu etc.


Off Street Cafe was Restaurant Impossible season 2 episode 9 and aired on September 14 2011.

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This post was last updated in December 2020.

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