Restaurant Impossible - Ristorante Barolo - CLOSED

Ristorante Barolo Restaurant Impossible

In this Restaurant Impossible episode, Chef Robert Irvine visits Ristorante Barolo in Aptos, California.

At Ristorante Barolo he meets owners Giovanni and Cristina, who bought the hotel ten years ago for $2.5million.

The hotel came with an attached restaurant and for the first 5 years it was a successful with takings of $60,000 a month.

The couple are constantly arguing and are under so much stress and pressure due to the restaurant.

With the economic downturn and the rising costs of maintaining the old building, they are now struggling to keep the place open and have been forced to sell their house and move into the building.

They are also struggling with health issues and with Gionvanni being diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver Cristina was forced to take over running the hotel and restaurant.

Robert arrives and brands it one of the most unique buildings he has ever been asked to help, it is a beautiful place but it is filled with clutter.

Upon meeting the couple he discovers that they are experienced in the industry as experienced and successful restaurant flippers.

They reveal that they made over $3 million in their first 5 years of trading but had to put all the money back in for costly repairs to the building.

Giovanni reveals that he doesn't know anything about the financials of the restaurant and doesn't know who is in charge.

After his diagnosis Cristina had to do everything in the business but she does resent him and finds it difficult when he shouts at her.

Robert observes a dinner service and Cristina is nervous as there are many items missing from the menu.

After 20 minutes there is no food on tables, servers don't check on diners and return after a long time to tell them that the menu items are unavailable leading to customers leaving the restaurant.

Those that do receive their food are disappointed - the calamari has no flavour, the fish isn't fresh and the pasta tastes like it is from a box and as a result food is comped.

Giovanni is asked to sample the sample that a customer complains is raw and doughy and initially he says it was great.

He and Robert argue about the gnocchi with Giovanni going back and forth as to whether there was flour in the dish and eventually admits it needs to be changed.

In the kitchen Giovanni is angry and shouts at everyone when food is brought back or when Cristina is in the kitchen including his brother who was brought in to help when he was ill.

Robert tells him that he is going to eventually give himself a heart attack and it is reveled that brother Artillio came over from Italy to help out the family.

Artillio tells Robert that it is probably better if neither of them were in the kitchen and he is frustrated that his recipes are changed by Giovanni.

Robert asks them to prepare four dishes to showcase thier cooking skills but none of the food is seasoned.

The veal picatta is salty due to the capers, the saltimbocca has burnt breading, the vodka penne has strong salmon taste and the bolognese tastes like dog meat with overcooked pasta.

Robert meets with designer Cheryl who compares the decor to a thrift shop and they clear our the restaurant.

Rovert sits down with the owners to air their issues and their are faults on both sides with Cristina leaving bills and papers around the restaurant due to the state of her office.

Her office is cluttered with hoarded items and it isn't functioning. There is another adjoining room that is filled with clutter and Cristina is in denial as to how bad it is.

Cristina tells Robert that it has got out of control as she has no time as she is running both the hotel and restaurant alongside helping their 7 children. She tells Robert he might as well put bars on the windows as she has no time for herself.

Robert sends the pair off to relax whilst he takes care of the restaurant and he meets with Cheryl to see the progress of the makeover. They are unable to remove the light fixtures but are instead giving them a makeover.

Robert reveals that he has found professional organiser Jessica to help with the clutter and they will work on freeing space to be able to regain the office space that she needs.

In the kitchen he reveals they will be making fresh pasta to go with the new dishes that he will be introducing including a new bolognese.

Three hours later they have cleared the desk and chair area of the office but there is much more to do! He asks Giovanni to pick six valuables that Robert will have appraised.

Robert takes the antiques to auctioneer Doug to value the items but they are only worth a few hundred dollars rather than the thousands Giovanni believed.

He encourages him to build a relationship with Doug and sell the items rather than buying items he can't afford. Giovanni agrees to sell the items they took to be valued.

In the office an area is cleared after 8 hours but Jessica will need to return to finish the job.

The decor is revealed to the owners who love the new look of the restaurant with no clutter and a simplified modern decor with an updated bar and light fittings.

The family arrive and they also love the new decor of the restaurant.

On relaunch night, the customers love the new elegant decor and are glad to see the back of the gaudy artwork. The Hoffman's from a previous Restaurant Impossible are also there for support.

The service is much quicker and there are no missing menu items. With Artillio being promoted to Head Chef, the food leaves the kitchen quickly and is well received by the diners.

The customers love the home made pasta and the new menu dishes and are impressed with the service time. The previous diners from the initial service are very impressed with the changes.

Daughter Andrea is happy with the changes to the family with her father hugging her for the first time in years and she can see the change in her mother too.


What Happened Next at Ristorante Barolo?

Robert revisits and business is up 37% and Cristina was in the process of stepping away from the restaurant when she suffered a stroke.

Ristorante Barolo closed in May 2013.

Yelp Reviews after Robert left were mostly poor with complaints on poor service and cold, bland food being served.

Trip Advisor reviews are few but mixed.

They still own the hotel side of the business and this remains open.


Recipes in this episode

Pork Bolognese Pappardelle


Ristorante Barolo was Restaurant Impossible season 3 episode 10 and aired on May 16 2012.

Click for more Restaurant Impossible Restaurants

Previous episode - Pappas Restaurant

Next episode - University Grill

This post was last updated in December 2019.


Share this post

No comments:

Post a comment

Comments will be moderated prior to being published. Those with spam links, offensive language or of an offensive nature will not be published. All comments are the opinion of the commenter and do not represent the opinions of the website owner.