Restaurant Impossible - Pelican Grill - OPEN

Pelican Grill Restaurant Impossible

In this Restaurant Impossible episode, Chef Robert Irvine visits Pelican Grill in Seabrook, Texas.

Pelican Grill is owned by John and Laura Walker and is open for breakfast and lunch service.

John and Laura are first time restaurant owners have no experience or idea on how to run a restaurant.

They bought the restaurant four years ago after John decided to try something else after being a car salesman for 25 years.

He thought about other business ideas but he kept going back to the food business because he would be dealing with the general public.

John had the support from his family and he has three sons who help out at the restaurant.

Laura has been surprised at how difficult it has been to run the restaurant since they opened.

They bought Pelican Grill for $125,000 and have been putting in money ever since as they are losing $2000 a month.

They haven’t made any profit since they opened and if they don’t start making money they won’t be open much longer as they have spent all of their savings.

Laura has been supporting the family with her full time job at a local college but they are going to be cutting her hours in six months so she needs the restaurant to succeed.

The restaurant will be supporting the family soon and she needs it to succeed.

The kitchen are constantly running out of items and John will regularly go shopping to the grocery store for ingredients, multiple times a day.

Robert arrives at the restaurant and meets with the owners to talk about the restaurant.

He tells them that they overpaid for the restaurant as he doesn’t think it is worth any more than about $20,000.

Laura tells him that she is a Clinical Director at a local college and only works on weekends.

John used to be a car salesman and wanted a change so they took on the restaurant as a family.

They haven’t made any money and are months away from being closed down.

John isn’t able to tell Robert the food costs or what the weekly bills are off the top of his head.

Robert wants to observe a dinner service and the customers are not impressed with the food quality and leave a lot of food on their plates.

Robert wanted to order several items but server Deanna tells him that they are only able to write three items on a ticket.

This leads to customers getting impatient as she has to flip the ticket book during an order and orders have to be repeated.

He promises to fix this as part of improving the service.

Robert isn’t impressed with the dishes that he samples and suspects that it isn’t fresh.

He thinks that head cook Oscar needs more training and needs to have more say over the food.

John doesn’t allow Oscar to use fresh vegetables, he prefers them to use canned foods because he thinks it is faster and cheaper.

He won’t listen to Laura and also ignores Oscar when he asks to cook using fresh ingredients.

John admits that he will go down the road to the grocery store up to 7 times a day to get canned goods for the restaurant.

This has always frustrated Laura that he does this as she knows that it isn’t the right thing to do.

John is asked to collect all of the canned food and there is a lot of it including canned soups and salsa.

Robert tells owner John that he has no emotion and John commits to throwing away the canned goods and cook fresh.

Robert thinks that John is a big problem for the restaurant and there is much positive to build on.

Roberts next task is to work on the outdated and boring decor and he meets with designer Nichole.

He tells her that he wants a white ceiling and the chairs to be replaced.

The staff help the design team to empty the restaurant ready for the transformation.

Robert asks the staff to gather for a staff meeting as a way for everyone to air their grievances and find out about any problems the staff may have.

John thinks he is being nice to the staff but they seem him as a weak leader and he doesn’t see it.

The staff reveal that the servers don't know the menu, the kitchen runs out of product and Laura is rude and hard to work with.

Robert thinks that John is the root of all of the restaurants problems because it all starts and ends with him.

Robert gives the servers the new menu to learn and he will be testing them on it tomorrow.

Any one who doesn’t pass the test will no longer be working at the restaurant.

Robert works with Oscar and Alan in the kitchen to work on cooking techniques and they are capable but they have not been allowed to cook properly.

Robert checks in with the design team and is impressed with their progress so far.

The next day, Robert arrives and checks in with the design team who have made great progress overnight.

On the first day, it was revealed that John rarely washes his hands between being in the kitchen and the dining room.

Robert puts a UV cream on his hands to represent the bacteria spread and it is everywhere.

Even after washing his hands the cream remains on his hands and he finally understands that this is dangerous and cannot continue.

Robert wants to put a stop to John driving to the grocery store to buy canned goods.

It is revealed that he is driving 300 miles a week to pick up canned goods and this is over 15,000 miles a year that is unnecessary.

Robert tells John that he needs to get a restaurant supplied to deliver food to them and promised to show him how to place a produce order.

Robert tests the servers on the menu with anyone who doesn't know the menu being stopped from working the evening service.

Despite the nerves the staff knew the menu and all staff are allowed to work by Laura.

Robert shows John and Laura how to order the correct amount of food so that they don’t lose money.

He also encouraged them to use one supplier to save money and get consistency with the products they order.

The designers have finished with the transformation and it is time to reveal it to the owners.

The new restaurant is revealed to the owners who think it is beautiful and love the new bar.

On relaunch, the customers love the new decor and food and the owners are much happier.



What Happened Next at Pelican Grill?


Between filming and airing, the restaurant had to close for 8 days as someone drove their truck through the front of the restaurant.

Robert revisited in April 2012 and business was up 40%, they had also extended their opening hours to include a dinner service.

A lot of staff quit including the Head Chef but they have all been replaced with new staff.

Yelp and Trip Advisor reviews are mixed after Robert visited.

In August/September 2013, the restaurant was sold to new owners.

Yelp and Trip Advisor reviews appear to be mixed since the new owners took over.


Pelican Grill was Restaurant Impossible season 3 episode 7 and aired on April 25 2012.

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This post was last updated in February 2021.

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