Restaurant Impossible - Pasion Latin Fusion - CLOSED

Restaurant Impossible Pasion Latin Fusion

In this Restaurant Impossible episode, Chef Robert Irvine visits Pasion Latin Fusion in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Pasion Latin Fusion is owned by Elvis and Monica Bencomo.

The couple opened Pasion Latin Fusion around two and a half years ago.

Elvis was the Chef and felt he needed to step up his game as far as his career.

They got the opportunity to buy the restaurant.

To get the restaurant going, Elvis requested financial support from his brother, Orlando Bencomo.

Pasion fusion has a combination of foods from Argentina, the Caribbean, and Mexico.

The problem is that the customers loved their food but that they don't have enough people coming to the restaurant.

Monica thinks they have some of the best food and service in town because people say so, although she is confused why they are failing.

They are behind on bills and rent and to keep up with the payroll has been difficult for them.

Elvis works between sixty-five to seventy-five hours every week.

Running the restaurant has also effected their personal lives.

Things are at the critical point for Elvis and Monica, and it's Robert's job to rescue them.

Robert arrives at the restaurant and notices rotten smell, two different tile floors and a horrendous looking fabric chair.

He thinks all in all it doesn't look like a restaurant to him.

He meets with the owners for a brief about the restaurant.

They tell him that they have been married for five and a half years with a one year old son.

Elvis was born in Mexico, loved Mexican dishes so he took his time to study at culinary school.

His brother Orlando is the key investor in the business to the tune of $35,000.

Elvis has only run a restaurant as far as the kitchen goes but never ran a complete restaurant.

His wife Monica has ten years of experience in customer service and only a year of experience as a restaurant server.

They are currently losing about $3,000 each monthly and they got behind on taxes and bills.

Monica goes to school full time.

They've been living off her student loans and mounting debts, making Elvis spend all his time in the restaurant.

Robert requests to see the service at the restaurant.

The customers have problems with the menu.

When he looks in the kitchen, he sees Elvis's passion but his ambitious menus get mixed reviews.

Robert samples the food for himself and isn’t impressed.

He promises to help create a new menu and teach the kitchen staff how to prepare the dishes.

Robert meets with his designers, Taniya and Tom.

They discus and share ideas on the best plan to fix the bland and dull decor.

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

Robert talks to Elvis so he sees that the menu is very confusing to the guests and they may not understand what the items on it are.

He tells him that items on the menu should be inviting and not intimidating.

The customers admit that they often feel embarrassed calling the waiter every five minutes for the meaning of complex terms on the menu.

This makes them feel uncomfortable and like they wouldn't want to return.

Robert gathered the staff to talk to them about how they see the business is running.

He asks them to be honest so that he can fix the issues with the owners.

They say that Elvis spends all of his time shopping at the grocery store and making his complicated menu.

They feel like no one is running his business.

If Elvis wants to focus on food, then the front of the house needs someone running it.

Robert eliminates Monica from the front house role because of her full-time schooling and also their one-year-old boy.

He promotes Orlando to take up the role of front of house manager.

Before the end of the first day, Robert checks with his designers to see the progress made so far.

Robert is impressed with the progress made so far.

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

The design team have had many delays overnight especially with the dining floor.

He encourages his designers to think outside the box and find an alternative solution because the restaurant can’t afford to open late.

Robert leaves them because he's got a menu to finish.

Monica and her husband Elvis have time to think and talk about their changing roles the previous night.

Robert speaks with them to be sure they are ready to take up the new roles.

Robert asks Elvis to meet him in the kitchen to show him a couple of dishes that will go on the new menu.

The session is a success for Elvis and the kitchen staff and they feel confident in the food they will be serving for relaunch.

As Elvis and other kitchen staff were prepping for the night reopening, Robert prepares a little surprise for him.

Robert drives Elvis down to a huge grocery store to do live cooking for customers to grab their attention.

He hopes that it will entice them to the grand reopening later that evening.

They all love the new food and promise to be at the grand reopening.

They drive back to the restaurant, and Robert goes straight back to the dining area to check on the progress made.

While the crew works to finish the dining room, Robert goes over the running of the front of the house with Orlando.

He trains him on how to smile and to engage the guest in the front of the house.

He feels like he is ready and is motivated for the relaunch.

The dining room is finally finished and Robert reveals the new restaurant to the owners.

They amazed at the changes that Robert’s team has made to the restaurant and can’t believe how great that it looks.

On relaunch, the waiting customers are let into the restaurant.

Orlando couldn't do better as the front house manager.

The guests love the new menu, service and are impressed with the new, refreshing look of the restaurant.



What Happened Next at Pasion Latin Fusion?


A few months later, sales are up 40%.

They have tweaked some of Robert's recipes but have kept his small plates.

Orlando has improved his management style and Elvis is working less hours.

After appearing on the show, a truck crashed into the restaurant causing significant damage.

Pasion Latin Fusion closed in May 2017 as owner Elvis wanted to spend more time with his family.

Reviews were mostly positive after the show.

Pasion Latin Fusion was Restaurant Impossible season 8 episode 3 and aired on 19th March 2014.

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Previous episode - Tootie's Texas BBQ

This post was last updated in October 2021.

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