Restaurant Impossible - Maniaci's Italian Bistro - CLOSED

Maniaci's Italian Bistro Restaurant Impossible

In this Restaurant Impossible episode, Chef Robert Irvine visits Maniaci's Italian Bistro in Mohnton, Pennsylvania.

Maniaci's Italian Bistro is a family owned restaurant and is currently owned by three brothers Geoff, John and Tim.

Their mother opened the restaurant 18 years ago as she needed something to do after she had raised her sons.

Geoff worked at the restaurant first and later his other brothers came to join him at the restaurant.

Their mother sadly died five years ago following a battle with cancer.

None of them were prepared for her death and she was the glue that held the restaurant together.

They have been losing roughly $4000 each month for the past three years and the brothers have run out of money to invest in the restaurant.

A competing Italian restaurant has just been opened nearby causing business to decline further.

Robert arrives and finds a dirty dining room with stained ceiling tiles and plenty of clutter and dust.

He meets with the brother to talk about the restaurant and they reveal that the restaurant started 18 years ago as a sandwich shop.

She expanded the business to include a dining room and around nine years ago they expanded the bar area.

The brothers are currently running the restaurant together and there isn’t one person in charge.

Geoff takes care of the books, Tim makes up the recipes for the menu and Jon takes care of the bar.

The decline in business started a few months after their mother passed away and the losses range from $2-4000 each month.

They have invested $100,000 of their money to keep the restaurant afloat.

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

Many of the guests complain about the food including the salad dressing and some send food back to the kitchen.

They also aren’t impressed with the dining room with many noticing how it has been neglected.

One of the owners is in the bar and is getting drunk with the customers and Robert asks Tim to respond to customers complaints.

The staff aren’t being managed and Tim is in denial about the issues when customers complain about the restaurant.

In fact he makes the accusation that there is a conspiracy against him and the restaurant.

Tim’s wife also works at the restaurant and she delicately tells Tim that she doesn’t like the house dressing either and tells Robert that Tim is stubborn.

Robert thinks that Tim is a big part of the problem as he is delusional and thinks he can cook.

Robert asks Tim to prepare a few of the top selling dishes they serve and he thinks it is sub standard and can tell they are using frozen chicken.

Robert meets with the designer Cheryl and the rest of the design team and they discuss ideas for the transformation.

The staff helps the design team to remove the tables and chairs from the restaurant.

Robert meets with the staff to find out what the issues are at the restaurant.

Some of the staff think that either Tim or Geoff is the leader but most think that there is no leader at the restaurant.

Robert checks in with the design team and they have made some changes to their plans since they last spoke and Robert is impressed with their new plans.

After the staff meeting Robert wants to meet with the brothers to hear what they have to say about the restaurant.

John takes a lot of the blame for problems at the restaurant but Robert tells them that they are all in part to blame.

They all need to be more professional at the business and he gives them homework to make a plan for management.

The next day, Robert checks in with the owners and is impressed with the progress they have made so far.

He meets with the owners to see what they have decided about management at the restaurant.

The brothers agree that Geoff will take on the leadership responsibility and the others will take orders from him.

John had told Robert the previous day about the new Italian restaurant that has opened and that they are now competing with.

Robert wants to compare what the two restaurants are offering so he asks them to make three dishes from the menu.

Meanwhile, he dashes down the road to the competing restaurant to pick up the same dishes from them.

He blindfolds the brothers and they taste the dishes to see which they prefer.

There are three wins for Maniaci’s, three for their competition and three undecided.

There is no clear winner between them and they weren’t blown away by the food from their competitor.

The issue isn’t that they are better, the issue is that they are so similar from a customers perspective it doesn’t matter which restaurant you go to.

Robert meets with the kitchen staff to teach them how to cook some dishes correctly.

He teaches them new menu items using fresh produce including a Chicken Parmesan and Branzino with Roasted Tomatoes and Olive Oil Poached Mushrooms.

Robert asks the staff to taste the new dishes and they are impressed with the flavour.

The design team have finished in the dining room and the new look restaurant is revealed.

They have changed everything their mother put into the restaurant.

They have added more wood, sectioned off the bar, ripped up the carpet and repainted the walls.

The brothers are amazed by the change in the restaurant and reassured that it marks a new start for them.

On relaunch night, the customers love the new decor and food and the brothers are much happier.


What Happened Next at Maniaci's Italian Bistro?

The brothers were still getting a surge of customers in the months following the show.

Sales in the restaurant were up $15,000 in the first month and there was $6000 in sales from the bar.

Reviews after the show were mixed with some branding the food excellent and others saying it was average.

Maniaci's Italian Bistro closed in April 2014, a year after filming, posting the below on Facebook -

"Maniaci's is sad to report that after almost 20 years, we will be closing our doors for good on April 5th.

We have tried our hardest to keep up with rising costs and rough times; but, unfortunately, we have not been able to overcome all of the obstacles.

We want to thank all of our loyal customers that have been with us through the years and, also, the newest customers.

We don't always know what God's plans are, but we will continue to follow the path he leads us down. We appreciate all of the support we have had from all of you over the years.

We will be having a final goodbye event for all of our customers on Saturday, April 5th.

Please stop in anytime after 6 pm to wish us well and hang out with the Maniaci family for one last time. We look forward to seeing you April 5th."


Maniaci's Italian Bistro was Restaurant Impossible season 5 episode 10 and was aired on March 10 2013.

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Next episode - Caseyville Cafe

This post was last updated in February 2021.

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