Restaurant Impossible - Sullivan's Grill - CLOSED

Sullivan's Grill Restaurant Impossible

In this Restaurant Impossible episode, Chef Robert Irvine visits Sullivan's Grill in Fruita, Colorado.

Sullivan's Grill is owned by Ginny Sullivan, was a loan officer at a telecom company.

She got bored and wanted to do something more exciting so she bought the restaurant.

The first year of the restaurant was good and she was able to pay her bills and herself a salary.

The business in the second year declined and she now owes $450,000 to various creditors including the banks, vendors and her parents.

Five years ago, her husband sadly passed away and she has had to grieve whilst struggling with the failing restaurant.

She is unable to borrow any more money and she is close to having to close the restaurant.

Robert arrives and finds that the decor is old, outdated and uninviting.

He meets Ginny who tells him that she bought the restaurant four years ago when it was a Mexican restaurant.

They inherited a Mexican menu when they bought the restaurant and kept some of the original menu items, whilst also adding new Irish themed dishes.

She has no experience at all in the restaurant trade and she paid $375,000 for the business.

She took out a second mortgage on the family home for $60,000 and the rest of the money was borrowed from the bank and her parents.

Ginny has two teenagers and she hasn’t been able to pay herself in two and half years.

Since her husband passed away she has been living off of social security benefits.

Robert wants to watch a service to see what the issues are at the restaurant.

He notices that they do have some customers who appear to be regulars but no one is eating anything.

The regular customers only come for coffee and therefore aren’t spending much money at the restaurant.

Those that do order food aren’t impressed, the presentation is poor and so is the taste.

Robert confirms this by trying some of the food that they offer and he is not impressed.

They were famed for their green chili’s but the chili that Robert is served was watery.

He tells Ginny that there is no money to be made if that is the food that they are sending out.

Robert asks to meet the head Chef Rose, who has been at the restaurant for more than 8 years and before Ginny bought the restaurant.

Rose is defensive of the food that was served and says it is because she has no control in the kitchen.

In the kitchen, he sees that there is caked on grease on all the surfaces and the kitchen is filthy.

Robert gives her a new challenge of creating him a dish of anything wants, using her own recipes rather than those she has been given.

But again the food she serves to Robert is poor and this time she blames the lack of ingredients available to her to be able to make something good.

Robert goes into the kitchen and points out many of the ingredients that she could have used to make him a great dish.

He also points out there are a lot of canned or prepared items in the kitchen.

To prove the point he makes a steak and salad and Ginny prefers his to the one Rose made but she still thinks hers was better.

Robert makes it clear to Ginny that Rose needs to step up or she needs to be gone as they will not survive if she does not change.

He lays out to Rose that she needs to step it up if they are to take the restaurant to the next level and stop it from closing.

Robert meets with designer Cheryl and the rest of the design team to discuss ideas on how to transform the restaurant.

He asks the staff to help with moving the furniture out so that they can get to work.

Robert speaks with Ginny and she tells him that she is overwhelmed by the restaurant as she spends 80 hours a week in the restaurant.

She doesn’t get a lot of time to spend with the family due to the amount of time she spends in the restaurant.

Robert asks her to write down what she does at the restaurant everyday so he can find some things that can be cut out so that she can spend more time with her family.

Robert thinks that they need to promote someone to assistant manager to ease some of the stress from Ginny.

He speaks with the staff who want to do whatever it takes to take some stress off her, even if it means extra work and not for extra pay.

Robert asks Ginny to go home for a while to spend some time with her children whilst he works on things at the restaurant.

Shortly after, he received a phone call from Rose to say that she is unwell and unable to work at the restaurant for the service.

The kitchen is closed for the evening, ready to be deep cleaned overnight.

The next morning, Robert arrives and first heads into the kitchen, which has now been cleaned and is sparkling.

Next, he checks in with the design team who had made great progress overnight and he pushes them to continue to be finished for the relaunch.

Rose arrives at the restaurant but to tell him that she will not be well enough to work on the relaunch evening.

Although she doesn’t elaborate on her illness Robert doesn’t want anyone to put their health on the line, it is more important to be in good health.

Robert thinks this is a disaster as they have a kitchen but no menu or chef until Ginny reveals that one of the remaining staff is a qualified chef.

Scott graduated from a top culinary school and is happy to take over in the kitchen from Rose.

Robert works with Scott to teach him the new Southern menu with new dishes including a Braised Pork Green Chili and Seared Rib Eye with Tomato Pan Sauce.

After learning the new menu, he teaches the other two members of the kitchen staff and Robert is confident he can lead the kitchen.

Robert checks in with the design team for the last time and it is nearly finished.

Scott begins the prep for the evening service and Robert reveals the newly transformed decor to Ginny and her children.

The dining room has been given a huge makeover that included knocking down a wall to open up the space and Ginny is overwhelmed by the changes.

On relaunch night, customers love the new menu and love the improvements to the food.

The customers promise to return to the restaurant.



What Happened Next at Sullivan's Grill?


With the loss of her husband and the improvement in business, Ginny decided it was a good time to sell the business.

Sullivan's Grill closed in January 2012.

Ginny is currently a Vendor Manager at Comcast.


Sullivan's Grill was Restaurant Impossible season 2 episode 17 and aired on January 04 2012.

Click for more Restaurant Impossible Restaurants

Previous episode - Wildcat Café

Next episode - Hoffman's Bistro

This post was last updated in February 2021.

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