Restaurant Impossible - Wagon Wheel Family Restaurant - CLOSED

Wagon Wheel Family Restaurant Restaurant Impossible

In this Restaurant Impossible episode, Chef Robert Irvine visits Wagon Wheel Family Restaurant in Smyrna, Delaware.

Wagon Wheel Family Restaurant is owned by Patty Gallegos who bought the restaurant with her husband.

The family is run by three generations of the family with her, her daughter Sheila and grandchildren Jessica and Joshua all working at the restaurant.

Sheila is a server and has worked there from day one in different roles.

Jessica is also a server when she is home from college and Joshua is a full time cook in the kitchen.

Patty’s husband sadly passed away six years ago and she was left to run the restaurant alone.

Her staff won’t listen to her even though she has tried and neither do her family members.

They arrive late to shifts if they turn up at all and when they are there they don’t seem to care about the restaurant.

Patty reveals that she wanted to close the doors of the restaurant as she is frustrated by the lack of help and doesn’t want to do it alone anymore.

Sheila is frustrated by her mother and also doesn’t want to be in the restaurant anymore.

Both the family and restaurant are falling apart and desperately needs Roberts help.

Robert arrives and compares the decor to a trappers lodge.

The restaurant is open for breakfast and there are around 10 customers.

Robert asks to meet with Patty before observing the service.

She tells Robert that she has owned the restaurant for 24 years and has struggled since her husband passed away.

After he passed away they decided to only open the restaurant for breakfast and lunch and stop the dinner service as she could not handle it alone.

She doesn’t know some of the financial figures for the restaurant as it has been too overwhelming for her.

She knows that she owes $15,000 on the credit card, has spent her savings of $150,000 and has borrowed $20,000 against her house.

Sheila has also put in some of her own money to help save the restaurant.

Jessica plans to come home after she graduates in the summer and will work at the restaurant full time to help the family.

They desperately want to keep the restaurant in the family but thinks that some of the issues are due to the family.

Her grandson is sometimes late to his shift and sometimes does not turn up at all. Sheila admits that she is often late too.

The staff listened to her husband but they don’t listen to Patty and don’t think she is consistent either.

Robert wants to observe the service and there are problems in the kitchen.

After speaking with the customers he discovers that they have all been left waiting for their food.

Robert tastes the food from the menu and finds that it is disgusting. In the kitchen he is left questioning what some of the food is.

Robert calls a meeting with the staff and when he suggests that Sheila may be the cause of the restaurant failing she gets upset and walks out.

Robert goes out to speak to her and tells her that she can’t keep walking away from problems, they need to be tackled head on.

The restaurant serves local delicacy muskrat but the rest of the menu is frozen.

The cooks in the kitchen haven’t been trained properly and have no idea how to create a menu from scratch.

Robert meets with designer Lynn and the rest of the design team to discuss ideas for the transformation.

The staff help to empty the dining room of tables and chairs.

Robert has to come up with some ideas on how to get Patty out of debt and to start making money.

He knows that she needs to open for a dinner service even if it is only a few nights of the week but she doesn’t have people she can rely on to help with this.

She hired a new cook, Chip about a month ago to cover breakfast and lunch but Robert isn’t sure if he can handle dinner too.

Joshua and Sean need a leader with a strong culinary background or it is never going to work.

Robert checks in with Lynn and Tom and is impressed with their ideas and progress so far and encourages them to be ready for relaunch.

Sheila is causing issues in the kitchen as she doesn’t know where she stands with her role at the restaurant and she wants to be involved.

For their homework, Robert asks Sheila to write down what she wants at the restaurant and how Patty upsets her.

He also asks Patty to do the same in regard to Sheila and how she upsets her.

The next day, Robert arrives and first checks in with the design team and is pleased with what he sees.

He plans to check in with Patty and Sheila but has noticed that Joshua, Patty’s grandson has not turned up for his shift.

Sheila and Patty talk through their differences and agree to put things aside as the business needs to succeed and Patty needs to put her health first by making tough decisions.

Joshua finally arrives late and Robert tells him that he has to decide whether he is in or out with no more turning up when he feels like it.

He decides to leave, this was a hard decision to make but it wasn’t fair on the family as he has lost his ambition and wants to do something else.

This leaves the kitchen down to just one cook and needs to find out if Chip can lead the kitchen.

He challenges Chef Chip to cook him the best dish he can in 30 minutes and he cooks a salmon dish that impresses Patty so he is promoted to Head chef.

Robert is confident that alongside leading the kitchen he could also lead a regular dinner service.

Robert teaches Chip new dishes for the menu including a Reuben sandwich and corned beef for their new dinner service.

Robert asks Patty to consider removing muskrat for the menu but she is firm it has to stay.

The transformed dining room is revealed to the family and they are overwhelmed by the changes.

On relaunch night, the customers enjoy the new dishes and promise to return.



What Happened Next at Wagon Wheel Family Restaurant?


After filming both Sheila and Patty stepped away from running the restaurant and Jessica took over day to day operations after her graduation.

Jessica reports that the changes were well received and reviews after filming were mixed.

Wagon Wheel Family Restaurant closed on September 7th 2014.

They closed as owner Patty's health was declining and they later sold all of the contents of the restaurant.

They posted the below on Facebook,

GOODBYE & FAREWELL from the Wagon Wheel. It has been a remarkable experience to “Grab the Wheel” since Restaurant Impossible featured us on their makeover show over a year ago.

In that time there have been many ups and downs. Most likely, you had never heard of the Wagon Wheel Restaurant, or if you did, the reviews may have been unfavorable.

We set out to change this trend. We tried everything from social media and printed flyers to standing by the highway with a sign.

All had limited results. Out of necessity we reached out to local artists and something strange happened.

People started to come. With a limited staff and budget we didn't have much to offer but a place to shine, and shine they did.

Over the past year of comedy shows, open mics, acoustic nights, and full band shows, there has been a resurgence of business and interest in the restaurant. We would like to thank all of the artists and patrons that have made this possible.

Your support is amazing, which also makes it difficult to say goodbye. But due to the owner's health conditions, we will be closing on September 7.

Although this is the end of the road for the Wagon Wheel, Don't be sad! Let's make these last few weeks a time to remember!

Wagon Wheel Family Restaurant was Restaurant Impossible season 6 episode 6 and aired on May 19 2013.

Click for more Restaurant Impossible Restaurants

Next episode - Pinehurst's Country Lodge

Previous episode - Bryan's Smokehouse

This post was last updated in February 2021.

No comments:

Post a comment

Comments will be moderated prior to being published. Those with spam links, offensive language or of an offensive nature will not be published. All comments are the opinion of the commenter and do not represent the opinions of the website owner.