Restaurant Impossible - Bryan's Smokehouse - CLOSED

Bryan's Smokehouse Restaurant Impossible

In this Restaurant Impossible episode, Chef Robert Irvine visits Bryan's Smokehouse in Lufkin, Texas.

Bryan's Smokehouse is owned by Lynn Bryan, who bought the business for $460,000 15 years ago despite having no experience in the restaurant business.

When they first opened the restaurant business was booming with takings of $400,000 but the glory days are over and they are struggling to stay open.

She has made a number of business mistakes including hiring untrustworthy staff and giving second chances to people that are down on their luck that hasn't always worked out.

There are a number of competing barbecue restaurants including chain restaurants that have opened in the area and she is struggling to compete with them.

Lynn is in debt, is burnt out, lacking motivation and she is hiding the true scale of the financial difficulties from her husband.

She walked away from the business for three years after she became burnt out from the restaurant, leaving staff to run the restaurant and business declined by $300,000 a year.

Lynn's husband supports her financially as he works a full time job to pay the bills.

Robert Irvine arrives at the restaurant and is disappointed with the drab, dark atmosphere of the dining room.

Lynn is ecstatic when Robert arrives and is pleased to see him and excited for his help.

He wants to see the BBQ pit and is disappointed at the hickory wood they use, believing they could get more flavour from using different varieties.

Robert wants to observe a service and during the service they run out of ribs, one of their signature dishes.

Some of the diners admit that they no longer come to the restaurant as regularly as they used to due to the decline in service and food standards.

Both Lynne and the staff have no idea what they are doing causing issues with tickets and Lynn doesn't know how to run a restaurant and often breaks down in tears.

Due to the issues with the service, many of the dishes are served cold and customers aren't happy.

Robert meets General Manager Bobby, who is fresh out of the military and has no restaurant experience.

Robert samples the food, a number of barbecue dishes that he has brands as slop on the plate when he sees them.

He thinks the barbecue sauce on the pulled pork tastes like it has come straight out of a bottle and the pulled pork is bland without no smokey flavour.

The mac and cheese is greasy with no creamy cheese sauce and the ribs are tasteless and served with the same plain sauce.

Robert meets with designer Cheryl, who will be renovating the dining room. Robert tells her that he hates the dloor and he hates the tables.

The staff empty the restaurant of all of the furniture whilst Robert reveals his plans for relaunching the restaurant to Lynn.

To prove to Lynn that the meat is the issue judge Grady will taste different meats from different restaurants in a blind taste test

He talks about the origins of barbecue, it being the food of poor people making the best of cheap cuts of meat and when he judges their meat it scores very low in comparison.

Next he works with Lynn to improve her management skills by getting her to see the error of her ways for hiring staff based on feeling sort for them.

She needs to hire workers for their skills and experience rather than due to pity from their sob stories.

Robert also wants Lynn to reveal the true scope of the financial situation the restaurant is in with her husband to be able to share the burden.

He meets with Cheryl, who reveals the Southern chic style that she is going with for the decor of the restaurant and Robert wants a service area and a dining area.

Robert adds/changes two new menu items - the pulled pork and a fried pickle sandwich and improves other dishes by increasing cooking time and using different woodchips.

For relaunch, Robert reveals they will be a quick serve restaurant and reveals the new way for serving food and taking orders etc.

On relaunch night, the customers love the new menu and decor and the new unique dining style.

What Happened Next at Bryan's Smokehouse?

After filming the episode, business was initially booming before slowing down to levels before the show.

She kept most of Robert's changes but returned the Po Boy sandwiches and Bobby no longer works at the restaurant.

Lynn later claimed much of the episode was scripted and made derogatory comments about the locals.

Bryan's Smokehouse closed in January 2014 after the owners decided to pursue other careers. New owners took over in February 2014.

Yelp reviews both before and after the sale are mostly negative.

A number of diners were willing to give the restaurant a second chance but from reviews it seems that they weren't impressed and many preferred it before.

Bryan's Smokehouse was Restaurant Impossible season 6 episode 6 and aired on May 26 2013.

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Previous episode - Mom & Dad's Italian Restaurant

This post was last updated in October 2020.

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