Restaurant Impossible - Caseyville Cafe - CLOSED

Caseyville Cafe Restaurant Impossible

In this Restaurant Impossible episode, Chef Robert Irvine visits the Caseyville Cafe in Caseyville, Illinois.

Caseyville Cafe is owned by Diane Emery and her daughter Robin Gordon, who bought the cafe three years ago.

They have always wanted to own a restaurant and bought the restaurant for $60,000 and spent an additional $30,000 on renovations and kitchen equipment.

When they first opened the restaurant they were breaking even but now they are losing around $7000 a month.

Robin thinks that the main problem at the restaurant is that Diane hired other family members to work in the restaurant as she feels responsible for them.

Both owners are overwhelmed by the business and if nothing changes at the restaurant they would be closed in three to four months.

Robert arrives at the restaurant and discovers that the restaurant is dirty and smells old. He hates the banquet chairs and he can smell the carpet.

Robert meets with Diane and Robin to talk about the restaurant and he learns that they have no restaurant experience.

Diane had been in the scrap metals business and thought she could succeed as her mother had four successful restaurants.

Diane doesn’t know the figures of the business for the first and second year after their purchase and Robin says that there was no profit but they ensured that the staff were paid.

They have not paid themselves a wage since opening the restaurant.

The owners don’t know the food costs, the revenue or the expenses so they are set to make a loss before they even begin.

Robin is tough with the staff and has fired employees for bad behavior and showing a bad attitude, but Diane rehires them as she feels sorry for them.

Diane knows that she is too soft on the staff and it is affecting her daughters ability to assert herself as a boss to the staff.

Robert wants to observe the restaurant in action so he watches a service.

In the dining room there are issues including dead ants and roaches and Diane’s service leaves much to be desired. He describes her as having as much charm as a brick wall.

In the kitchen he sees the cook Michelle putting her hands in her pockets and the staff serve stinking chicken to a customer.

Robert notices that they use a household stove and there is also a lack of respect for the new Head Cook Al, who started working there just seven days ago.

Robert is furious as the kitchen staff don’t seem to care and the kitchen is a health hazard as a result and even worse the owners don’t have a clue.

Robert shuts down the service and refuses to taste the food due to what he has observed in the kitchen.

Robert’s first task is to get to the bottom of the animosity between the cooks so he speaks with Steve and Al.

Steve is extremely negative and his attitude rubs off on others. He is only interested in coming in and getting paid.

An argument breaks out between Steve and Al and Al is forced to fire him. He tells Robert that he never usually uses his temper but his negativity was getting too much.

Robert meets with designer Lynn to discuss the redesign of the restaurant and put forward ideas with a lower budget as Robert needs to replace kitchen equipment.

Robert meets with the staff to lay down the law that they need to start listening to the owners and tells the owners that their homework is to decide who stays and who goes.

Robin feels that they are sacrificing a lot to make sure that all of their family have a job and they do not appreciate this.

She tells the staff that if anyone is not interested in staying and working hard to make the restaurant a success then they need to walk away now.

Another cook Debby decides to walk away at this point and the remaining staff help to clear the dining area for the designers.

Robert speaks with Lynn to give her the bad news, she will need to lose $1500 from the budget so that he can replace equipment.

After speaking with a local kitchen equipment distributor he buys them a six range burner to be delivered later in the day.

Robert meets with the owners to give them some homework of dividing the duties between them. He also asks Robin to not have an exit strategy in place to not leave Diane alone at the restaurant.

The next day, Robert heads straight to the dining room to see what progress has been made overnight.

Next, he meets with Diane and Robin to see what they have decided overnight and they are working together well.

Overnight, the staff updated the kitchen and now Robert plans to update the Menu.

Robert teaches Diane, Robin and Al two new dishes, Chicken Fried Steak and Sauteed Shrimp, Spicy BBQ, Apple Slaw.

The dishes will fly out of the kitchen as they are fast and profitable. The staff sample the dishes and are impressed by the taste.

Robert meets with the staff to try and put an end to the gossiping between the staff and plays a game with them.

Diane speaks with the staff and emphasizes again that there will be change at the restaurant and they need to change too.

The dining room is finished and it is time to introduce the new dining room to the owners. Diane and Robin are amazed with the changes that have been made.

On relaunch night, the customers love the new decor branding it refreshing. They also praise the new delicious food and vow to return.


What Happened Next at Caseyville Cafe?


A few months later, the customer numbers were up, the service had improved and they had begun to repay their debts.

Caseyville Cafe closed in January 2014.

They had reverted back to their old menu prior to closing but had kept the other changes and appeared to have improved the service.

South Main Diner opened in it's place and reviews are very good.

Caseyville Cafe was Restaurant Impossible season 5 episode 11 and aired on March 13 2013.

Click for more Restaurant Impossible Restaurants

Previous episode - Maniaci's Italian Bistro

Next episode - Soup to Nuts Diner

This post was last updated in December 2020.

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