Restaurant Impossible - Kalico Kitchen - CLOSED

Kalico Kitchen Restaurant Restaurant Impossible

In this Restaurant Impossible, Chef Robert Irvine visits Kalico Kitchen in Douglas, Michigan.

Kalico Kitchen is owned by Catherine Wilt, the longtime owner of Kalico Kitchen.

Catherine Wilt has owned and run Kalico kitchen for the last thirty five years.

Four years ago, Catherine stepped out of business because of health issues and turned it over to her son, niece, and nephew.

A year ago, when she returned to the restaurant she found out that the restaurant was $446,000 in debt.

Donny believed that it's all her mother's fault that the restaurant is failing.

Donny thinks that it is so because she consistently talks down to people.

She also fires them without reason and hasn’t given full control of management to him.

Donny has put thirty years of his life into the restaurant.

If it fails, he will have absolutely nothing to fall back on because he doesn't have money, a house or a car of his own.

Catherine believes that the restaurant's been a blessing and at the same time a curse.

She feels like it is taking away her family.

Robert arrives at the restaurant and finds that there is dust everywhere including on the ceiling fans.

The decor is also falling apart with holes in walls and broken window frames.

He meets Catherine and Donny for a brief about the restaurant.

She originally bought the restaurant for $120,000 and currently owes about $460,000.

She has lost her truck and will probably lose her house, which is tied to the restaurant.

Robert discovers that Catherine and Donny can't even look at each other and that is a concern.

Robert wants to observe a service to find out what the issues are at the restaurant.

It doesn’t take him long to see that the dining room is being managed poorly.

He goes into the kitchen and sees that the kitchen equipment is caked in dirt.

The fryer is caked in grime as are the fryers and there is also dust everywhere in there.

Robert looks around and sees that the whole kitchen is filthy.

He sees a number of health violations that would see the kitchen shut down if they were inspected.

He asks the cook Christopher when he last cleaned in the kitchen and he says it was last cleaned last summer.

Based on what he has seen Robert shuts down the kitchen and will no longer serve any food.

Robert says that it is one of the worst kitchen and dining room that he has ever seen and doesn’t want to taste the food.

General Manager Scott says that they are doing the best that they can and says he can’t afford to have it cleaned properly.

Scott says that he cleans but there is no evidence of much cleaning.

Catherine is ashamed of what Robert found in the kitchen.

Robert asks the staff to gather for a staff meeting to hear what issues that they have.

All of the staff say that they have an issue with the way that Catherine talks down to them.

Robert asks the staff to clean the kitchen and tells them that it is going to be a tough two days.

In the kitchen Tom discovers that the grease has seeped under the kitchen tiles.

Robert meets with his designers Taniya and Tom to discuss the changes that are to be made to the restaurant.

Robert asks the staff to help empty the restaurant ready for the design team to be able to get to work.

Robert asks the staff to come upstairs one by one where he records things that Catherin has said to them during their time at the restaurant.

When the dining room is emptied he invited Catherine and Donny in to see the empty restaurant.

They share a hug and Donny says that it is the first time that they have hugged in around a year.

The restaurant has a buffet service.

Robert wants to find out if it is worth keeping it in place so he looks into it’s takings.

The buffet only makes them around $50,000.

If they were to replace it with 12 seats they could make around $108,000.

This would help pay down the debt that they owe.

After this, Robert checks in with the design team to check on their progress.

He encourages them to work as fast as they can to complete the transformation.

Robert meets with Catherine and plays the clips that the staff members recorded earlier.

She feels terrible and is remorseful for the awful things that she has said to members of staff at the restaurant.

Catherine promises to do her best to resolve the issue and tells her a good first step would be an apology letter.

Robert returns the next day and hopes that attitudes are ready to change at the restaurant.

The previous day Robert discovered that the kitchen tiles were rotten and needed replacing.

The job to replace them however took longer than planned and they are still wet.

Until they have dried Robert is unable to put the kitchen equipment back into the kitchen.

This will lead to delays in being able to prep for the relaunch service.

While he waits for the floor to dry he checks in with Catherine to see if she did the homework he had asked her.

She has written an apology letter for the staff and is ready to read it to the members of staff.

Before this Robert briefly checks in with the design team to see their progress in the dining room.

He is impressed but encourages them to speed up to be finished in time for relaunch.

Catherine addressed her staff but she doesn’t really apologize for her actions.

Robert notices the sudden quietness when he asked them to confront Catherine about her insulting tones.

Catherine is eventually given a second chance after she apologizes to all of the staff members.

She promises not to talk to the staff in the same manner ever again.

Robert tells his crew and the staff to return the kitchen equipment now that the floor is dry.

For marketing, Robert talks a couple of the staff to talk about the new restaurant downtown.

Since Robert was unable to try Donny's food the previous day, he asks him to prepare a quick and simple dish.

Robert tastes the dish and it confirms that Donny cooks well.

He called some other cooks to join them and he trains them to prepare the dishes on the new menu.

The food now has a new and unique, spicy taste that the customers will love.

Robert invites the family in to see the completed dining room and they love the new design.

On relaunch night, the chefs do an excellent of sending the food out to customers quickly.

The customers love the new decor and food, with clean plates being returned to the kitchen.

The customers also promise to return to the restaurant.



What Happened Next at Kalico Kitchen?


Three months later, business has increased ten fold to $2000-3000 a day.

The kitchen staff are now making sure to clean the restaurant and the staff are happier.

They have started to return some of the old favourites to the menu in an updated form.

Unfortunately the relationships between Catherine and Donny and with the staff have not improved.

Kalico Kitchen closed in December 2013.

They closed after the restaurant was put into foreclosure and seized by the bank.

They also owed other $10,000 to utilities and they also owed rent.

They had recently failed a health inspection after one of the cooks reported concerns to the health department, which led to them being closed down.

Reviews after the show filmed are mostly poor with complaints on both the food and service.

Kalico Kitchen was Restaurant Impossible season 6 episode 10 and aired on 14th July 2013.

Click for more Restaurant Impossible Restaurants

Next episode - Edibles Restaurant & Pub / Hurley's Bar and Grill

Previous episode - Angelo's Family Restaurant

This post was last updated in May 2021.

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