Restaurant Impossible - Hillbillies Restaurant - OPEN

Restaurant Impossible Hillbillies Restaurant

In this Restaurant Impossible episode, Chef Robert Irvine visits Hillbillies Restaurant in Murphy’s, California.

Hillbillies is owned by Jami Saul and she is assisted by her mother CC Costa.

Jami has been running the restaurant for three years as it was her dream.

She worked for a caterer for seven years before moving on to own her restaurant.

In a tourist city known for wine and upscale cuisine, Jami decided to make her cuisine more of a down-home cooking style.

The business had been on a downswing, contrary to what Jami had hoped owning a restaurant would be.

CC is exhausted as she has always funded the business trying to support her daughter.

Jami is frustrated at the state of the business.

Robert arrives at the restaurant and doesn’t like the dusty room, the tacky lights, hanged laundry, the old wagon and grim carpet.

Robert meets with Jami and CC for a brief about the restaurant.

Jami was tearful as she’s scared for her restaurant.

She bought the restaurant for $7000 and has invested around $100,000 to $200,000.

The business had been successful at first with about 40,000 customers each quarter.

This has now dwindled to about 12,000 customers.

Most of the customers were out-of-towners who’d come for tourism or skiing in the wintertime.

CC believes the reason for the decline in customers compared to other restaurants was because they serve Californian cuisine.

Jami explains that the reason she hasn’t closed down the restaurant was because she doesn’t want to give up on her dream.

Robert observes how the service at Hillbillies is being run.

The customers do not like the outdated design and also the dirty, grungy and grimy look it has.

Robert traces the reason for the financial downturn of the restaurant to the lack of a computer system to track each sale.

He goes to check out the state of the kitchen and meets Steve Dodge, the cook of the restaurant.

Steve has been working at the Hillbillies for three years and as a cook for 15 years.

The regulars at the restaurant seem to like the dishes served to them.

The Hillbillies serves a rare dish which is unique to the restaurant and not served elsewhere in Murphys.

The dish is a dish made with frog legs and eggs, which some of the customers enjoy a lot.

Robert sees that most of the food and ingredients they use in the kitchen are frozen.

He tries to figure out the cause for the decline in Jami’s business as the regulars seem to like the dishes the restaurant serves.

Robert orders for some of the food the restaurant offers from Jessica, one of the servers.

The dishes served were mostly frozen and tasteless.

Some dishes were overly seasoned, which Robert was also disappointed with.

Robert meets with his designer, Lynn Kegan, to discuss the changes needed for the restaurant.

Lynn reiterates that it will be tough as most things in the restaurant needs to either be replaced or repaired.

Robert calls on the staff and gives them a talk before they begin with the refurbishment of the restaurant.

The staff begin to empty the restaurant and Jami feels this is a fresh start for her restaurant.

While the work is progressing, Robert calls the staff and owner of Hillbillies outside to discuss the reason for the failure of the business.

Robert finds out that the staff has no respect for Jami and there’s also a theft problem.

Robert traces the issues back to the lack of leadership skills on Jami’s part.

Back at the restaurant, the restaurant is empty and Lynn explains that the plan for the new theme of the restaurant is to play on the name.

The next day, Robert arrives with the plan of changing Jami into an effective leader.

Robert orders Jami to do some exercises and uses that as a basis to teach her about leadership.

Jami calls on her staff to demonstrate what she has learnt so far.

She orders her staff to do some exercises while being blindfolded, trusting her directions, which took a while but Jami finally got the hang of it.

Jami feels empowered and her staff begin to trust her decisions more.

This will improve leadership and cooperation between Jami and her staff.

Robert decides to teach Jami and her cook, Steve, a new and unique dish which tourists and locals alike would not find anywhere else.

He teaches them how to make a great steak sandwich marinated in hoisin sauce that is served with coleslaw.

Jami now understands why Robert called her food mediocre and thinks that the new dishes fit her restaurant perfectly.

Robert lectures Jami on her finances and how to keep track and control of it.

He encourages Jami to punish her staff when necessary as she is a now an effective leader.

The design team has finished the restaurant redesign.

Jami hopes that this would be a start to a brand new life, a brand new restaurant with a brand new leader and a brand new team.

Robert reveals the new Hillbillies to Jami and her mom and they are so shocked with the new interior of the restaurant.

They think the decor was beautiful, the tables and chairs matched and the palettes are amazing.

Jami wept joyfully as she feels like she has been given a second chance at success in the restaurant business.

Jami and CC meet Lynn and Tom who were responsible for the refurbishment of the restaurant and were very grateful for the work done on the restaurant.

On relaunch, the customers come into the restaurant and are amazed by the new look of the restaurant.

They think that the restaurant looks more spacious compared to before.

They love the amazing and delicious meals that they were served.

Jami was speechless and her staff were busy working but were happy with the service.

CC feels certain that the new version of her daughter’s restaurant is going to be successful.



What Happened Next at Hillbillies Restaurant?


A few months later and Jami still loves the new design of the restaurant.

Customers love the new and old dishes on the menu with the frogs legs remaining a firm favourite.

The Hong Kong sandwich that Robert added is also a big seller.

Jami thinks her leadership skills have continued to improve.

Jami hasn't borrowed any more money from her mother and has set up a payment plan to pay her back.

Hillbillies Restaurant is open.

Reviews after the show are mostly positive with praise for the atmosphere and food.

Hillbillies Restaurant was Restaurant Impossible season 7 episode 12 and aired on 29th January 2014.

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This post was last updated in July 2021.

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