Restaurant Impossible - Gratifi Kitchen and Bar - CLOSED

Restaurant Impossible Gratifi Kitchen and Bar

In this Restaurant Impossible episode, Chef Robert Irvine visits Gratifi Kitchen and Bar in Houston, Texas.

Gratifi Kitchen and Bar is owned by Kevin Strickland.

Kevin has spent seven years in public accounting and got burned out at his job.

He decided to buy a restaurant because he realized that he was obsessed with food.

Kevin bought into an existing restaurant called Ziggy's Healthy Grill but he doesn't have a culinary background.

He thinks that he understands food as he buys it, serves it and teaches his dishes.

Ziggy's was a cafe style restaurant and there was no growth so he decided to make it more upmarket.

After a few months of brainstorming names he settled on Graifi for a play on words for Gratify.

He chose this name as he wanted the customers to have a gratifying experience.

They changed the name but barely changed the menu far enough from the original.

Kevin got further and further into debt and currently owes around $1 million.

Kevin isn’t only losing money but he is at risk of losing his staff.

Relationships have broken down between the staff and there is a hostile atmosphere.

Kevin is seen as the bad guy at the restaurant due to the poor relationship between him and the staff.

Kevin is emotionally, physically and financially exhausted by the situation at the restaurant.

He is optimistic that this can change with some help from Robert.

Robert arrives at the restaurant and can see that it is filthy.

The bar is overcrowded and cluttered and is also unclean.

Robert meets with the owner for a brief and he tells him that he has owned the restaurant for six years.

He tells him that he opened the restaurant as he was fed up of his career and had no experience.

Kevin paid $600,000 for the restaurant and invested $300,000 and it is currently losing $8000 a month.

He owes his vendors $60,000 and he is $24,000 behind on his taxes.

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

However, upon inspecting the kitchen he decides to shut it down and refuses to serve food from there.

Kevin refuses to take responsibility for the state of the kitchen.

Robert talks to the kitchen staff to get their side of the story as to why the kitchen is in a state.

It goes back and forth as the staff blame the owner and the owner blames the staff.

Robert begins to question whether the restaurant is a lost cause and cannot be saved.

Kevin and the staff agree to work together and clean the kitchen together.

Whilst they are cleaning Robert decides to meet with his design team.

He meets designer Lynn and they share ideas and plans on how to renovate the restaurant.

Robert asks the staff to get to work emptying the restaurant of the furniture.

It is clear to Robert that there are a lot of things going on at the restaurant.

He gathers the staff across the road to talk about the goings on at the restaurant.

It is clear that no one is happy at the restaurant and whenever something goes wrong they blame each other.

There is no leadership, the service is poor and so is the food.

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

He is pleased with the progress that they have made overnight and encourages them to continue to be finished on time for relaunch.

Robert heads into the kitchen to check on the progress of the cleaning.

The kitchen is immaculate.

Robert asks to meet with Kevin to test his knowledge about food.

He prepares some dishes and asks Kevin to taste them.

Robert wants Kevin to give him feedback on the taste of the dishes.

It is clear that he isn’t as much of a food expert as he claimed and he has more to learn.

Robert teaches Kevin and the kitchens staff a new dish that he will be adding to the menu.

They create two different versions of the same dish and Kevin said that he has learnt a lot during the session.

Kevin also feels more confident and ready for the relaunch later that evening.

Despite having a new menu and the design team being close to finishing, Robert is still worried about Kevin.

He has noticed that Kevin tends to nod along with his comments and is complacent and not stepping up as a leader.

Robert speaks with Kevin and tells him that they need to work on his leadership skills.

The first thing that Robert wants him to do is to get him to apologise to the staff for his past behaviour and commit to change.

After this, the design team are finished with the redesign of the dining room and are ready to reveal it to Kevin.

Kevin is delighted by the changes that they have made to the dining room.

He can’t believe how warm and inviting the dining room now looks.

On relaunch, the customers love the new look of the restaurant.

They also feel that the service has improved and that the food is delicious.

Many of the diners promise to return to the restaurant again.

Kevin feels renewed and reinvigorated after seeing so many happy customers at the restaurant.



What Happened Next at Gratifi Kitchen and Bar?


A month later, both new and old customers love the changes.

The decor and the menu are both a big hit with diners.

The bar is functioning better and the staff are happier.

They have kept Robert's menu and made a few tweaks.

The kitchen has kept up the cleaning schedule.

Gratifi Kitchen and Bar closed in July 2016 and Kevin said he wanted to take a break from the industry.

Yelp reviews were mostly average/poor whereas Trip Advisor reviews were more positive after the show.

Gratifi Kitchen and Bar was Restaurant Impossible season 8 episode 5 and aired on 2nd April 2014.

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Previous episode - Mama Della's NY City Pizzeria

This post was last updated in November 2021.

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