Restaurant Impossible - Mama Campisi's Restaurant / Mama’s on the Hill - OPEN

Mama Campisi's Restaurant Restaurant Impossible

In this Restaurant Impossible episode, Chef Robert Irvine visits Mama Campisi's Restaurant / Mama’s on the Hill in St. Louis, Missouri.

Mama Campisi's Restaurant is owned by Andrea and Lance Ervin.

Andrea has always been in the restaurant business her entire life.

One day she visited Mama Campisi for lunch and noticed it was for sale.

They contacted an agent and put an offer on it, which was accepted and the restaurant was hers.

Andrea loves her job and loved being around the restaurant until two years ago when she experienced a devastating blow.

She thought that the business was perfect, they had many customers and takings were good.

Cheques started bouncing to vendors and when they looked into the finances they were shocked.

Two employees were stealing money from her and they stole around $70,000.

The two employees were her most trusted, they had access to her home and had looked after her children.

After the theft she wasn’t the same and her personality changed.

As a result the restaurant became an issue in her marriage and her relationship with her children.

She now only has three or four months before she will have to close the restaurant.

The restaurant has become a chore for Andrea and she is always exhausted.

She is going through the motions. She comes in for the day and goes home to bed.

Robert arrives and is surprised to see an ATM in the restaurant.

He thinks that the ceiling and flooring look good but he doesn’t like the old world Italian style of the decor.

There is also no clear theme for the restaurant and it needs bringing back together.

Robert meets the owners for a brief to discuss the restaurant.

Lance says that he has another business that he runs so he is in and out of the restaurant.

They bought the building and business 9 years ago for $250,000.

They have put around $100,000 into the business and are currently $600,000 in debt.

There is a lot of competition in the area with 26 other restaurants.

The customers see their restaurant as the home of toasted ravioli and this is their USP.

The restaurant made $60,000 in their first year and five years later they were hitting $1million.

Two years ago there was a large theft from the restaurant by staff and the restaurant declined.

Andrea had to step away from the restaurant for health grounds and has had a hard time trusting anyone since.

She has little motivation for the restaurant and is just going through the motions.

She has kept the restaurant due to the current financial situation and she thinks she would be a failure if she loses it.

Lance is upset as they have five children and she isn’t able to be there for them as she should be.

Robert thinks that Andrea is showing depressive behavior as she is constantly crying and worrying about the restaurant.

He is concerned that even their high takings in the previous year isn’t enough to make her happy at the restaurant.

Robert asks to see the service to find out the issues at the restaurant.

Despite the toasted ravioli being their specialty there are numerous complaints on the dish from diners.

One diner says that the dish is dry and another says it isn’t the best they have ever had.

Robert meets Lauren, Andrea’s daughter who also works at the restaurant as a server.

She tells Robert that the relationship is strained between her and her mother and her other siblings.

Andrea doesn’t seem to want a relationship with them and this makes them sad.

Robert isn’t sure if it is just the stress of the restaurant and thinks that fixing the restaurant might not fix their relationships.

Robert sits down to sample the food and tries several items from the menu.

He wasn’t impressed especially with their signature dish, which looks and taste awful.

Robert discovers that 90% of the food that he tastes is either frozen or canned goods, which is more expensive than cooking from scratch.

Robert met with his designer Cheryl and the rest of the design team to discuss plans for the restaurant.

Cheryl thinks that the restaurant is dull and boring and wants to bring in a rustic Italian vibe.

She has acquired a number of free wooden pallets that she plans to use.

He asks the staff to help him removing the furniture from the restaurant so that the design team can get to work.

Robert asks the staff to meet him across the road to talk about the current state of the restaurant.

They say that Andrea doesn’t trust them after the theft and she tries to do it all herself, which grinds the restaurant to a halt.

Robert advises her to use a system of checks and balances that will double check the figures so she can believe in the staff again.

She also has to allow the staff to be able to do their jobs as there is no restaurant without them.

Robert asks the staff to write down one task that Andrea shouldn’t be doing and someone else should be doing.

Robert asks Andrea to get her books for him as he will be going over her finances to see if there is anything there that has been missed.

Robert is confused by the records as the income, profit and loss don’t match up to what they reported in their tax return.

It turns out they haven’t actually made the money that they thought they have in their last three years.

He can’t make anything match up with the computer at all so he advises Andrea to bring in an accountant.

They need to have accurate record keeping and a system that avoids further theft.

Robert tells Andrea that she should go home and spend time with the children.

Robert meets with the design team and is impressed with their progress so far but encourages them to work quickly.

The next day, Robert arrives at the restaurant and checks in with the design team.

They have made good progress overnight and they encourage them to finish in time for the deadline.

Robert meets with Andrea to show her how she can lift some of the weight from her shoulders by giving out jobs to other people.

She decides to distribute the jobs to others so she can move forward and enjoy being at the restaurant.

Robert shows Andrea some ways to control their food costs by controlling what they buy and the portion sizes.

By cutting food costs they will make more profit and it will help with her current financial situation.

Robert calls the family together as they are all hurting.

He hopes that in time the relationships can be repaired.

Andrea promises to change and sort things out.

Robert leaves the family to talk whilst he checks in with the design team.

After checking in with the design team he goes into the kitchen.

The kitchen staff are trained on some new dishes including a rabbit bolognese and some improved recipes, including their toasted ravioli.

The design team are finished and it is time to reveal the new restaurant to the family.

They are overwhelmed by the changes, feel blessed and see it as a new beginning.

On relaunch night, the customers love the new decor and the new atmosphere.

The food is a big hit and gets excellent feedback from the customers.

They also compliment the service too and promise to return.



What Happened Next at Mama Campisi's Restaurant / Mama’s on the Hill?


A few months later and business is up.

They were able to pay some of the vendors but then they needed to make repairs to the restaurant.

They have modified Roberts menu and returned some of their customer favourites.

They plan to upsell wine and they have returned to a more traditional toasted ravioli recipe.

Reviews are mostly positive with praise for the decor, service and dishes including the toasted ravioli and linguine.

Mama Campisi's Restaurant was Restaurant Impossible season 7 episode 1 and aired on 23rd October 2013.

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Previous episode - Aponte's Pizzeria

This post was last updated in May 2021.

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