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Restaurant Impossible - The Mad Cactus - CLOSED

The Mad Cactus Restaurant Impossible

In this Restaurant Impossible episode, Chef Robert Irvine visits The Mad Cactus in Strongsville, Ohio.

The Mad Cactus is a Mexican themed restaurant open for over 25 years and owned by Tom Krukemeyer Sr.

They are serving poor quality frozen Mexican food from a dreary dining room and losing thousands of dollars and there has been trouble with charges of illegal gambling at the bar.

Tom and Robert constantly argue in this episode and Tom is reluctant to change.

The previous owner asked him to become a partner in the restaurant at the age of 22 despite knowing nothing about running a restaurant.

The restaurant used to be busy most nights as the choice of restaurant was limited to just four in the local area.

In recent years the number of restaurants has increased to more than 70 and they are struggling with the new competition.

Robert meets with the staff to find out the issues in the restaurant and he discovers that the food quality is different in the day to the evening.

Robert sets a plan of action to work on Tom's management skills, a fresh new menu and decor and to introduce a general manager.

Robert meets with the kitchen staff and discovers that all of the food is cooked during the day and kept warm to be served in the evening, explaining why the food is better during the day as it is cooked fresh at this time.

To turn around the restaurant the menu is given a makeover and all food will be prepared fresh to cook for both the day and evening service.

The interior is given a makeover with new wooden flooring, a new hostess stand and a salsa bar is also added.

The relaunch is a success and the customers love the decor and the new food cooked fresh to order.


What Happened Next at The Mad Cactus?

After Robert visited, Tom claims that Robert was constantly losing his temper at him, his staff and the production team throughout and branded him a hot head.

He claimed that some scenes shown in the episode were set up and from online reviews it appears the Donkey was retrieved from the trash after Robert threw it out.

Business was initially up 20% and the new interior including the salsa bar has gone down well with the customers.

It appears that they went back to their old menu bringing back the lunch time buffet and the steak, taco and wing offers but kept the puffy tacos.

Both Yelp and Trip Advisor reviews after Robert visited are mostly poor with complaints of poor food standards.

The Mad Cactus closed on 21 July 2013 as a number of chain restaurants were due to move into the immediate area.


The Mad Cactus was Restaurant Impossible season 2 episode 12 and aired on November 02 2011.

Click for more Restaurant Impossible Restaurants

Previous episode - Cap'n and the Cowboy

Next episode - McShane's

This post was last updated in January 2020.


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