Restaurant Impossible - Frankie's - OPEN

Frankie's Restaurant Impossible

In this Restaurant Impossible episode, Chef Robert Irvine visits Frankie's Restaurant in Three Rivers, Michigan.

Frankie’s is owned by two old friends Jay Woehrmyer and Tina Wyman, who bought the restaurant 13 years ago.

Before owning the restaurant Jay was an Area Director for a major fast food chain.

He was going to be Tina's mentor by running the business with her for the first six months to a year and after this become a silent partner.

He did not work on a regular basis at Frankie’s for the first ten years they owned the restaurant and did not mentor Tina.

Around three years ago Tina asked Jay to come onboard and work there full time.

However, this hasn’t worked out well. He hasn’t taught her anything and Tina feels like Jay treats her like an employee rather than a partner.

The relationship is so strained that the pair now barely speak to each other and won’t be in the same room as each other.

Jay and Tina agreed that Jay's wife Debby would come in and act as a buffer between the two.

But the tension between them became so bad that Debby eventually quit too.

Frankie's struggled financially and was in $335,000 debt with Tina being forced to put her house up for sale to be able to stay afloat.

Robert arrives at the restaurant and notices the train based decor and isn’t impressed.

He says that he hopes the food isn’t as bad as the decor.

Robert asks to meet the owners to get a brief overview of the restaurant.

He learns that they are lifelong friends and they purchased the restaurant for $600,000.

They both put $75,000 into the business 13 years ago.

When they purchased the restaurant it was making $750,000 gross each year.

It made good money until three years ago when their former manager left and Jay was called in.

Tina explains that Jay treats her like an employee and Robert doesn’t know what to do as neither party will speak to the other.

He tells Jay that he has to apologize to Tina for the way he has treated her and for not helping her as much as he should.

Robert wants to observe a dinner service to find out what the issues are at the restaurant.

In the dining room Robert isn’t impressed with the dishes that he sees the customers receiving.

They aren’t too impressed with the dishes themselves either.

In the kitchen Robert sees microwaves everywhere as they microwave all of their food.

He also sees the cook Jay putting raw beef on top of the cooked meats on a pizza and other food safety issues.

The staff reveal that none of them are professional chefs and there is a lack of basic cooking skills and as a result they reheat everything.

Due to the food safety issues that he has seen he shuts down the kitchen.

Robert takes a break from the kitchen and meets with designer Cheryl and builder Tom to discuss the renovation.

They call the staff to help empty the restaurant ready for the design team to get to work.

Robert returns to talk to Jay about the issues in the kitchen and he tells them that they have no basic cooking equipment.

In fact they don’t even have pots and pans to cook with.

Robert speaks with Cheryl to let her know that she will have $1200 less to work with as he needs to buy equipment.

Robert meets with the staff as he wanted to discuss the animosity between the owners and how it affects the staff.

He asks the staff to write down what they think the biggest problem at the restaurant is.

They think that the biggest issue is bad management and poor communication.

Tina makes it clear that she is ready to mend the rift but Jay isn’t budging.

Robert goes into the dining room to find out how the design team are getting on and he is impressed with their progress.

He returns to the owners and gives them a homework task to write about what they expect from each other at the restaurant.

The next day, Robert checks in with the designers and is again impressed by their progress.

He meets with the owners and they discuss the expectations that they have from each other.

Tina would like Jay to listen to her and he should be able to get money when they are in need and not to borrow more money.

She also wants them to meet at least once in a week and more often if they need to.

Jay would like respect, trust and an open mind for change from Tina.

Robert concludes that it seems best if Tina runs the kitchen and Jay runs the front of house.

They agree to put their differences aside and to start afresh for the sake of the restaurant.

The kitchen equipment arrives and they meet in the kitchen.

Robert takes Robert and head cook Courtney through some simple, fast dishes including a Sauteed Strawberry, Sausage and Shrimp Salad.

They loved the flavour and appearance of the new dishes and would be proud to let them go out.

One of the primary complaints by the staff was that there was no leadership and they couldn't make a decision together.

To tackle this Robert set up his obstacle course for decision making for both to tackle.

The tasks required that they had to make decisions together and for the first time they made a decision without getting angry at each other.

There is a major breakthrough in the burger on a plate v burger on a paper disagreement.

Tina admits the plate is fine, she doesn't really care but she was frustrated that he didn't have that conversation with her.

Tina walked up to Debby to apologize for all the hard feelings the past years.

Debby accepted the apology, said she will return to Frankie's Restaurant and they shared a warm hug.

Robert's team finished the dining room with a country/industrial theme that is revealed to the owners.

They are overwhelmed at the amount of change that has been made.

On relaunch night, the customers love the new look of the restaurant and the dishes are also a big hit with the customers.



What Happened Next at Frankie's?


After filming sales were reported to be up 39% and the beloved onion rings are still on the menu and selling well!

Some of the changes weren't well received by the regular customers.

Reviews on both Yelp and Trip Advisor were mixed after Robert visited.

Frankie's is open but it was sold to new owners Amy and Mike Lutz in October 2015.

The reviews are mostly positive after it changed ownership.


Frankie's was Restaurant Impossible season 4 episode 7 and aired on September 05 2012.

Click for more Restaurant Impossible Restaurants

Previous episode - Gusanoz Mexican Restaurant

Next episode - Paliani's Restaurant

This post was last updated in January 2021.

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