Restaurant Impossible - WhaBah Steakhouse Update - Open or Closed?

Restaurant Impossible WhaBah Steakhouse

In this Restaurant Impossible episode, Robert Irvine visits WhaBah Steakhouse in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

WhaBah Steakhouse is owned by Donnie ‘Perky’.

He named the restaurant after the sound of a motorcycle.

He took over the restaurant from his family eight years ago.

Perky has no restaurant experience and worked for 25 years as a carpenter.

Donnie runs it with his sister Took and his daughter Nicole, who is a full-time nurse but helps part time with the books.

The former motorcycle themed restaurant was initially successful.

They had a number of live shows and bands and there were long lines to get in.

They opened a second location after making over $1m in a year.

However, business declined and they sold the second location as they could not sustain both.

Perky started getting depressed and Nicole called Robert for help.

Robert arrives the restaurant with his design team to get started as soon as possible.

They need the extra time because the restaurant is four times the size of a regular restaurant.

The restaurant is so large as it is a converted warehouse.

They like the wooden tables, the open plan kitchen in the middle of the restaurant and the stage with black drapes.

Robert leaves his team who are confused on where to start with the huge space.

He meets with the owners who tell him the theme of the restaurant, their background and the financials of the restaurant.

They are $250,000 in debt and they could lose their house if the restaurant closes.

Robert can tell Perky has lost his passion and he says he feels insulted.

Robert shows him all the things in there that make the restaurant look horrible.

Perky and Nicole found the interaction hard but appreciate it if it will help them.

Robert wants to see a service to find out the issues at the restaurant,

The service starts and customers give some feedback on how the restaurant has really declined from what it used to be.

Robert looks around and sees dirty glasses and unhygienic handling of drinks.

There is grease on several surfaces in the kitchen and dirty trays are being used to cook.

He reprimands all of them before leaving and Perky is forced to shut down the service and send customers home.

Later that day Robert checks back in with his design team to plan how to redesign the space.

They plan on moving some major elements like the kitchen to improve the space.

The restaurant is then emptied by the staff and the design team.

Robert meets with the staff to find out the real issues with the restaurant.

They complain of inconsistency in the kitchen and poor management and leadership.

Robert shows them all that he found in the kitchen including questionable food items.

He tells the staff that they are as much to blame for the state of things as the owner.

Robert makes Perky fire all his staff and they will have to reapply for their jobs the next day.

Later that night, they are behind on the renovation work as they had to spend a lot more time cleaning.

At the end of the day, Perky is worried but Robert reassures him.

The next day, there has been a lot of progress made overnight.

The cleaning is finished and the tables have been sanded and look brand new.

Robert sees that Perky is feeling a lot better than the previous day and they meet with staff.

The staff are to reapply for their jobs and convince Perky to rehire them.

The staff all plead their case to Perky

They are all rehired but some are on their final chance with her.

By 1pm the team are behind and were supposed to be finished the kitchen.

There is still a lot of work to do with 5 hours left until the relaunch.

Robert is forced to set up a temporary kitchen in a tent outside so he can demonstrate some dishes for their new menu.

He demonstrates a steak dish, highlighting the low cost and plating to elevate the dish and make a high profit.

The kitchen staff love the food and cannot believe how little it costs and how much money they can make.

The team are lowering the ceiling over the bar with some suspended shipping pallets.

They rush to complete the finishing touches and manage to get it finished about 30 minutes late.

However, a pipe bursts and floods the new space.

They have to call a plumber and customers are left waiting outside.

The plumber arrives over an hour later and the drain is clogged with grease.

He unclogs it and they are finally ready 3 hours later than planned.

Robert apologises to the customers about the delay.

He takes Perky and Nicole in first and they are astounded to see the new space.

The dining room is now open, bright and upscale.

The wood looks a lot better and the stage has been removed.

They are happy with the changes and Perky’s family love it all too.

Perky says a special thank you to Nicole for calling the show to help turn things around.

It is late but customers are let in.

On relaunch, they love the look of the restaurant.

They think it is more comfortable, brighter and there are some great dishes coming from the kitchen.

The family are happy with how the customers are all happy and enjoying themselves.



What Happened Next at WhaBah Steakhouse?


Three months later, it is revealed Perky is still struggling to bring business back to the restaurant.

The locals are resistant to the change but Perky is still optimistic.

She thinks good employees are hard to find and is struggling to fill positions.

They returned to a reduced version of their original menu with some of Roberts items also added to it.

WhaBah Steakhouse closed in May 2015.

They closed after failing to reopen after a remodel.

Reviews after the show were mixed.

WhaBah Steakhouse was Restaurant Impossible season 11 episode 1 and aired on 18th March 2015.

Click for more Restaurant Impossible Restaurants

Next episode - Valentino's and Italian Bistro

Previous episode - Be'ne Pizza & Pasta

This post was last updated in December 2022.

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