Restaurant Impossible - Shade Tree Customs and Cafe Update - Open or Closed?

Restaurant Impossible Shade Tree Customs and Cafe

In this Restaurant Impossible episode, Robert Irvine visits Shade Tree Customs and Cafe in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Shade Tree Cafe was owned by Ryan Greer and Rich Rael.

They combined passions for motorcycles and food with a workshop and adjoining restaurant.

They are located on the historic Route 66.

The restaurant originally started as a cafe and they decided to expand.

When they first opened the place was crowded.

Customers would queue outside to eat there.

The customers dwindled in the restaurant and they will only see a few customers.

They open at 11am daily but mostly customers arrive in the afternoon.

The workshop side of the business is still successful.

However, they both sides of the business to be successful.

Both Rich and Ryan invested $100,000 into the business.

They also had other investments from friends and family who put money into the business in return for ownership.

There are now multiple owners including Josh Berry, Willy Larson and Jimmie Hughart.

They feel as so many people invested they have to be successful to repay their kindness.

Robert arrives at the restaurant in a motorcycle jacket in a nod to the theme.

He likes the hand painted tables and the bar but thinks it is hidden away.

General Manager George also invested and works at the restaurant alongside a full time job elsewhere.

They are currently losing $4-6000 per month.

Robert wants to see a service and he isn’t impressed with the portion sizes they are serving.

He asks George to see the financial records of the restaurant.

What he sees doesn’t make sense to Robert.

It seems they have underestimated their food and staffing costs.

Robert looks at the menu and finds it simple with burgers and sandwiches.

He wants to sample the menu and orders a number of dishes.

The chicken sandwich was good but the burger had no seasoning.

Robert brands the roast beef sandwich as sad and in general there is nothing unique about the food.

He feels that he could be eating the food anywhere in the country.

Robert checks in with the design team before finishing for the day.

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

They have made great progress overnight in updating the bar.

The design team have paired concrete and wood elements and Robert likes the look they have achieved.

Robert adds new dishes to the menu including a Chimichurri Flank Steak and a Chorizo Burger.

The new design is revealed to the owners and they are impressed with how it looks.

On relaunch night, the customers are let into the restaurant and love the new look.

They also love the new food and promise to return to the restaurant.



What Happened Next at Shade Tree Customs and Cafe?


A few months later, they planned to continue updating the decor and return some of their old decorations.

The outdoor patio was not yet open due to city rules but they were working to get it open.

They were thankful for the show for helping them to focus on the business.

Shade Tree Customs and Cafe closed in November 2015.

They closed due to dwindling customers numbers.

Before closing they had a crowdfunding campaign to raise $30,000 for owed taxes and to cover costs due to declining customers.

Reviews were mostly positive after the show.

Shade Tree Customs and Cafe was Restaurant Impossible season 10 episode 4 and aired on 14th January 2015.

Click for more Restaurant Impossible Restaurants

Next episode - Mystic Treats

Previous episode - Knife and Fork Gastropub

This post was last updated in May 2022.

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