Restaurant Impossible - Oleander Bar and Grill - CLOSED

Oleander Bar and Grill Restaurant Impossible

In this Restaurant Impossible, Chef Robert Irvine visited Oleander Bar and Grill in Olean, New York.

Oleander Bar and Grill is owned by Kelli Truman and her daughter Abbi.

Kelli didn’t want to own or run a restaurant but she got involved in owning restaurants and property and thought she would be able to sell this restaurant at a later date.

She opened the restaurant as her daughter Abbi had worked there since she was in High School.

The restaurant has only been open six months but they are losing money every day and if things don't change they will lose the restaurant in the next three months.

They are planning to remodel the above apartment for Abbi but if the restaurant fails she will lose her home too.

The relationship between the two is the main reason for the failure of the restaurant.

There is tension as Abbi didn't tell Kelli she was pregnant and she feels that the timing isn't ideal as she needs her in the failing business.

Robert arrives and thinks the dining room is plain but the bar is nice looking.

He meets with Kelli and discovers that she is the owner and Abbi is the General Manager.

Kelli has owned the property for seven years but has leased out the space to other restaurants.

Two years ago, she and Abbi decided to open Oleander Bar and Grill after failing to sell the empty building.

In order to open the restaurant they took out a bank loan of $100,000, credit card debts of $27,000, $10,000 from her 401k and she invested her savings of $15,000.

They don’t know the revenue figures or the bills that they pay but they will be closed in 3 months if things don’t change.

They don't know how much revenue and bills they pay. It was a matter of 3-months before the restaurant shuts down.

The imminent failure of the restaurant is affecting their relationship and Kelli feels that Abbi doesn’t listen to her and Abbi is exhausted from being in the restaurant all of the time.

Robert asks to see a dinner service to see how the restaurant runs and what the issues are.

He quickly learns that no one in the kitchen knows how to cost the menu items and no one knows how to run a restaurant.

Robert thinks the restaurant is outdated with hardly any menus available.

The customers aren't impressed with the food as it is cold, soggy and drenched in sauce.

The portion sizes are huge and the dishes that Robert had are disappointing.

There is so much produce in the walk in and they are grossly overstocked for the number of customers that they have.

The chef blames the poor food on a lack of motivation as he hasn’t been paid for the last 5 weeks.

Robert asks him to cook another dish and it wasn’t terrible and he thinks it is only a training issue and issues of pay.

Abbi was working hard but she didn’t step up in her role as General Manager and hold people accountable for their mistakes in service.

Although she is working many house she isn’t working smart for the time she is in the restaurant.

Robert meets with designer Taniya to discuss plans for the renovation of the restaurant and the staff help to empty the dining room.

Next, he meets with Kelli and Abbi and gives them homework to write down what they disagree about in the restaurant and they will address the issues the next day.

The next day, Robert meets with Kelli and Abbi in the upstairs apartment to discuss the homework from the previous day.

They discuss the issues they have listed and Robert comes up with solutions to the issues causing friction between the pair.

They agree to put everything behind them and move forward starting anew.

Robert meets with Abbi to fix the issues with costings of the menu and to fix the current issue that they are making a loss on every dish they serve.

He shows her how to cost the dishes and to make sure the portions are the correct size.

Robert also creates a menu with correctly costed dishes to make them a profit.

He trains the kitchen staff on the new menu including a Pork Chops with Apple Bacon Salad and Pittsburgh Salad.

Cook Tim admits that he has learnt more in two days than during his culinary training and they all feel more confident.

As the designers wrap up the decor and reconstruction in the dining room Robert meets with bartender Jane.

They discuss the inventory and there is a little test to check her ability and she shines behind the bar.

The newly redecorate restaurant is revealed to Kelli and Abbi and they are impressed with the new design of the restaurant.

On relaunch, the diners love the new refreshing atmosphere and new food, with the customers promising to return to the restaurant.



What Happened Next at Oleander Bar and Grill?


After Robert visited, Kelli told local media that she loved the new decor of the restaurant but it was too soon to know what effect the show would have on sales.

Oleander Bar and Grill closed in November 2013 posting on their Facebook page,

"We would like to thank everyone for their support these last few years. Today, is The Oleander Bar and Grill's last day of business. Come in one more time for specials on beer and food. Cheers, See you there!"

Reviews after the show were average or negative.


Oleander Bar and Grill was Restaurant Impossible season 4 episode 6 and aired on August 29 2012.

Click for more Restaurant Impossible Restaurants

Previous episode - Valley Inn

Next episode - Poco's on the Boulevard

This post was last updated in January 2021.

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