Besse's on Clear Lake - Restaurant Impossible Update - Open or Closed?

Restaurant Impossible Besse's on Clear Lake

In this Restaurant Impossible episode, Robert Irvine visits Besse’s on Clear Lake in Tomahawk, Wisconsin.

Besse’s on Clear Lake is owned by Brenda Besse.

She grew up in the restaurant business and always wanted to own a restaurant.

Her dad ran a successful restaurant for over 20 years.

When she opened the restaurant she named it after her dad’s restaurant as it had a good reputation.

Initially they were profitable but they have since experienced a downturn.

Sometimes they have less than 20 people in the restaurant.

They have even had 0 customers in the restaurant for a service.

This has forced her to let go of staff and she has not had a paycheck in more than 2 years.

Brenda is just one month away from closing the restaurant.

Robert arrives and thinks that the exterior is great.

It is rare for a restaurant to have such a beautiful lake view.

Inside of the restaurant is disappointing with a poorly designed bar.

The bathroom is also far too close to the eating area.

Robert meets Brenda and finds out they are a steak house that also serves seafood.

She tells him that she has been open for 15 years.

Brenda bought the restaurant for $300,000.

She still owes over $200,000 from the start-up loan she took to open the restaurant.

She is also $200,000 in debt from other loans for the business.

Robert finds out that she is basically bankrupt with only $9.50 left.

Robert sends her to get some financial documents.

He discovers that she has been drinking white wine throughout their discussion.

He thought it was just water.

She does not know why she is spending so much money.

Brenda is afraid to raise prices as she worries that it might drive her customers away.

Robert wants to see a service so he can find out the issues at the restaurant.

He has invited 50 locals along so he can see a busy service.

The customers are let in for the service.

The service is slow as they are understaffed and the kitchen is quickly swamped with orders.

Cindy and Mindi are the cooks but they have had very little training.

Brenda is too busy serving to manage her business properly.

A grill catches fire and they try unsuccessfully to put it out without a fire extinguisher.

They are forced to clean the grill as the fire was caused by a greasy grill.

They end the service before there are any more disasters.

Robert wants to taste the food and orders some dishes from the menu.

The chicken livers are not good and the pork chops are unseasoned.

The lobster and steak dishes are also under seasoned.

Robert gives them feedback about the food and the service in the kitchen.

The cooks complain that was how they were trained.

They think that the customers should season their own food.

On talking with each other it is clear that her staff do not respect her enough as their leader.

Robert brings in the design team of Taniya and Tom to see what they are working with.

They are appalled by the toilet situation, the bad bar and the view that isn’t taken advantage on.

The staff and team soon begin to empty out the space ready for the revamp.

Robert sees Mindi being emotional and takes her aside to encourage her.

Robert tells Brenda that she has to be ready to step up.

Taniya and Tom pitch the idea they have for the space and Robert loves it.

He leaves them to get started and goes into the kitchen.

Robert uses similar ingredients and creates new recipes to make their dishes taste better.

He starts with the chicken liver dish and teaches them about costs and how it should be priced.

Cindy and Mindi both complain and need help to keep up with making the meals from scratch.

Robert sits with Brenda to find out why she has not changed anything about the business for years.

She is emotional and tells him why she was drinking when they first met.

He challenges her to think of what she has done wrong and how she can make it better.

The next day Robert meets with Brenda to find out how she faired with the challenge.

She went beyond what he asked.

She not only identified how she can make her business better but also costed her remaining dishes.

She can now see how much she was losing and Robert is impressed.

Robert checks with the design team and a lot has been done.

The wall separating the bathroom from the main restaurant is still waiting to be built.

Robert brings in chef Eric Raymond to meet the cooks and Brenda.

He will be training them and helping them design the new menu.

Brenda accepts this change by throwing her old menu away.

Robert takes them through some new dishes.

He teaches them to cook steak properly and new meatloaf and pork chop dishes.

A few hours later and the restaurant renovation is not finished.

The furnishings are still outside 45 minutes before the relaunch.

They have to rush to get it all together.

Brenda is waiting outside with her father.

Robert takes Brenda in first and she is shocked to tears.

The space is more open and brighter with whites and warm colours.

There is a new bar and a mirror to reflect the beautiful view of the lake.

This means that more tables will experience the view.

The bathroom entrance is now separated by a wall.

On relaunch, the customers are let in.

The regulars love the changes to the space and they also love the food served to them.

They give great reviews of the decor, service and the food.

Brenda is more confident and is interacting with her guests.

The kitchen is working well together, especially with the extra help.

What Happened Next at Besse's on Clear Lake?

A few months later, it is revealed Eric was able to find them a fulltime chef to help in the kitchen.

Brenda has paid off $40,000 of her debt and gives herself a pay check.

Besse's on Clear Lake is open.

Reviews are mostly positive with some negative comments on some food items and service.

They created a new menu with a combination of new dishes and those from the original menu.

The building was listed for sale before the filming of the show and remains for sale for $325,000.

Besse's on Clear Lake was Restaurant Impossible season 15 episode 13 and aired on 31st August 2019.

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