Restaurant Impossible - Rohrer's Tavern - CLOSED

Rohrer's Tavern Restaurant Impossible

In this Restaurant Impossible, Chef Robert Irvine visits Rohrer’s Tavern and Restaurant in North Bend, Ohio.

Rohrer’s Tavern is owned by Lisa Kendall, who bought the restaurant five years ago.

The restaurant has been open since 1948 and not much has changed since then.

When the restaurant came up for sale she decided to buy the restaurant as she needed a job.

Lisa had never owned a restaurant before and assumed that she would be able to run the restaurant with ease.

She thought that she could turn the restaurant into a popular local hang out but no one is coming to the restaurant and Lisa doesn’t know why.

The restaurant is currently losing $2000 a week and she is unable to pay herself a wage from the restaurant.

Lisa has also spent all of her savings trying to keep the restaurant open and has no college fund for her son.

She is a single mom with a 15 year old son and wants to one day be able to pass the restaurant on to him.

Robert arrives at the restaurant and feels that the restaurant is very dated and he also notices that the restaurant smells very bad.

There is wood everywhere, the flooring is damaged and the decor is in poor condition.

Robert meets Lisa who tells him about the restaurant. She has owned the restaurant since 2009 after her career in real estate declined due to the economy.

The restaurant was initially doing well but in the last year the business has faced a downturn.

Initially she blamed the downturn on the economy and tried to draw customers back with menu changes but this didn’t work.

Despite the restaurant being quiet she continues to spend $3600 a week on food costs and doesn’t know her costs.

She employs nine members of staff but doesn’t pay herself a wage as she puts the money back into the business.

Lisa is currently in $40,000 of debt due to maxing her credit cards and invested $120,000 including her son’s college fund.

If there is no change at the restaurant they will be forced to close at the end of the month.

Robert thinks the Restaurant is failing because Lisa doesn’t understand the business and she is running it the wrong way.

Robert asks Lisa to invite some new customers to the restaurant so that he can observe a service.

He is impressed with their Head Cook Stacy as she has a good handle on the kitchen.

Sadly the food they serve is frozen and microwaved and full of oil and the over attentive servers are hovering over customers.

In order to save the restaurant Robert has a lot of work to do as everything needs to be improved.

Robert tells Lisa that she is too soft on the staff and lets them get away with underperforming.

He wants to taste the food and orders some of the best selling items from the menu. He isn’t impressed with the dishes that he tastes.

After being disappointed with the food Robert meets with Lynn to discuss updating the decor of the restaurant and they are concerned with the slim budget and work that needs doing.

Robert asks all of the staff to help with clearing the restaurant so that the renovations can begin.

Lisa admits to Robert that she is afraid that if she makes too many changes that she will lose the customers that she does have.

Robert tells her that he will give alternatives and will choose a new menu that will bring in new customers.

Robert takes Lisa on a field trip to meet some local children at a football practice.

They tell Lisa the foods that they like and the foods they would like to try at the restaurant.

Robert returns to the restaurant and meets with Lynn to see the progress they are making and he is impressed.

He is confident that the redesign is going to look great but without excellent service they have little chance of success.

Robert meets with the staff to discuss their service as he wasn’t impressed with what he saw during the service. He tells them they need to improve or leave the restaurant.

Lisa seems to be invigorated and now realizes that there needs to be change and she is set to lose everything if she doesn’t lead the change.

She recognizes that her way hasn’t worked so it is time to try Roberts way.

The next day Robert returns and meets with Lisa, who has agreed with everything Robert has to say and is worried she will lose her staff through her bad management.

Robert checks on the progress of the dining room and is impressed with their progress.

Robert works with Lisa to calculate their food costs and find that it is currently 51% where it should be running at 30%. They work together to change the menu to lower the cost.

Lisa can now see where she is losing money and feels to blame for the $104,000 they have lost and promises to change.

The final step of Robert’s plan is an updated menu with less items and he gets to work teaching both Stacy and Lisa the new recipes and new dishes on the menu including the Sauteed Flank Steak and Cod Sandwich.

The staff sample the new dishes and prefer the updates to the existing menu items, saying they have more flavour and are delicious.

The staff help to bring in the table and chairs and set up the tables ready for the relaunch service.

The last thing to do before relaunch is to show the family the new restaurant.

Lisa and Koty are overwhelmed by the changes at the restaurant including the new bar and the brighter dining room.

Lisa was very emotional and burst into tears and Koty promises to bring his friends to the restaurant now that it is so much better.

On relaunch night, the customers love the new dining room and the new atmosphere and the new food is a big hit with customers.


What Happened Next at Rohrer's Tavern?

When Robert revisited sales were up $20,000 in one month and they were drawing in customers from all over the country.

The staff were more accountable with new and better defined job roles and Stacy is still in the kitchen with the support she needs and Lisa has more control over food costs.

They kept Robert's menu but returned a few of their previous customer favourites to the menu by request.

Yelp reviews and Trip Advisor reviews were mostly positive after the filming on the show. There are a few criticisms on service, overpriced food and some disappointing menu items.

Rohrer's Tavern closed on April 25th 2014 posting the below to Facebook -

"This year has not been great for me so far, with the passing of my father, a horrible winter, dismal sales and many circumstances beyond my control, it is with great sorrow that I am announcing the closing of the Tavern.

April 25th will be our last day." . . . " It is my hope that everyone will join us this week for our best week ever, before I shut the doors for one last time."


Rohrer's Tavern was Restaurant Impossible season 5 episode 2 and was aired on November 28 2012.

Click for more Restaurant Impossible Restaurants

Previous episode - Poco's on the Boulevard

Next episode - Bronk's Bar and Grill


This post was last updated in December 2020.

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