Restaurant Impossible - Stella's Italian Restaurant - CLOSED

Stella's Italian Restaurant Restaurant Impossible

In this Restaurant Impossible, Chef Robert Irvine visited Stratford, Connecticut, to save Stella's Italian Restaurant.

Stella’s Italian Restaurant is owned by Michael who bought the restaurant 15 years ago.

He asked his mother Camille to help him at the restaurant as she has excellent managerial skills.

Camille has worked in the restaurant business for all of her life and has been a manager for more than 10 years.

Michael also had experience of owning a restaurant when he purchased Stella’s, although his previous restaurant was smaller.

Michael invested around $700,000 in the business and he also asked his sister Robin to take care of the catering side of the business.

The catering business is currently propping open the restaurant and is the only reason that they have not closed.

As the local economy began to suffer they started to lose customers and Michael started working a 90 hour week, trying to do everything himself.

Camille doesn’t think this is the way to run the restaurant but Michael won’t listen to her.

Michael hid a lot of the financial problems from Camille and she is concerned about his health, as he is unable to switch off from the restaurant.

Robert arrives and isn’t impressed with the decor as the booths close off the restaurant and make it appear smaller.

He also isn’t impressed with the small bar and the open kitchen where he can see stacks of dirty dishes.

Robert meets with the owners to talk about the restaurant and they tell him that in their prime they were making $700,000 gross each year.

The catering business accounts for 30% of their trade and Michael isn’t able to tell Robert the food costs.

Camille has invested $10,000, the current debt is around $510,000 and the weekly revenue is $10,000.

Michael doesn’t know how much his bills are each week and he only has one more month that he can afford to stay open.

Robert asks to see a service to find out the problems at the restaurant.

The food is poor as they attempt to cut corners including failing to properly drain the pasta so every dish ends up watery and the customers find the decor dated.

The kitchen staff have a bad attitude and it is clear that Michael has no control of the staff.

Robert calls a staff meeting to talk to the unruly staff and it is clear that there is a lack of management.

Robert samples the food and agrees with the feedback from the customers that the food is poor.

Both Michael and the cook Jerry agree that there needs to be changes made to the menu.

Robert meets with the designer Taniya to discuss the renovation to the dining room.

Next, he meets with the family to discuss food costs and they are losing a lot of money each year by incorrectly costing the menu.

This also applies to the catering side of the business, they are making a loss on each job.

On the last catering job they did they actually made no profit and lost $20.

For homework at the end of the first day, Robert asks the cooks to make twelve new pizza specials and cost the dishes to make a profit.

The next day, Robert arrives and meets with the design team, who are making great progress.

Robert meets with the owners and asks Michael to write down what he does each day and Camille to write down what she would do differently.

It is clear from his answers that Michael has taken on far too much and Camille has some great ideas for the restaurant.

Robert plans to redistribute some of the daily tasks that Michael does to be able to lighten his load.

Michael will be in charge of the kitchen and Camille will be in charge of the front of house.

Robert gets to work on the new menu and he adds two new dishes to the menu. A Tuscan Shrimp and a Eggplant Parmesan.

He teaches both Michael and Jerry how to make the simple dishes and Michael is impressed with the taste.

Back in the dining room Taniya is having problems with the tabletops and she doesn’t know if the oil paint Is going to dry before the reopening.

The cooks reveal the new pizza specials and Robert gives them a hand to price the dishes correctly.

He also works with Michael on costing his menu by visiting a local restaurant to learn about their prices.

The renovation is complete and Robert reveals the makeover to the family and they are overwhelmed.

The biggest change is moving the booths into the atrium and the restaurant is more open and appears bigger.

On relaunch night, the customers love the new bright decor and the new menu and Camille steps up as General Manager.



What Happened Next at Stella's Italian Restaurant?


In the months after the show was filmed, sales were up 20% and Camille was more involved with the restaurants finances.

Michael has continued to develop his management skills and the customers love the new food and decor of the restaurant.

The restaurant went out of business in August 2014 and reviews prior to closure were mostly positive.


Stella's Italian Restaurant was Restaurant Impossible season 4 episode 4 and aired on August 08 2012.

Click for more Restaurant Impossible Restaurants

Previous episode - Italian Village

Next episode - Gusanoz Mexican Restaurant

This post was last updated in January 2021.

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