Restaurant Impossible - Josephine's Cooking Update - Open or Closed?

Restaurant Impossible Josephine's Cooking

In this Restaurant Impossible episode, Robert Irvine visits Josephine's Cooking in Chicago, Illinois.

Josephine’s is owned by Josephine and her son Victor.

She has owned the restaurant for 30 years and Victor bought in to the restaurant in 2008.

Her son was forced to step in to help and they have a rocky relationship.

The pair are constantly arguing in the restaurant.

The restaurant has a lot of history and used to have a line out the door to get in.

A lot of famous people have visited the restaurant.

Well known visitors including Danny Glover to Hilary Clinton.

They visited when she ran it with her husband.

Robert arrives and he is confused by a different name on the banner outside.

Inside the carpet is awful, the ceiling is dirty and all the fans are both dirty and dusty.

One long wall is devoted to all the famous people who have been there.

Robert sits with the owners and they explain the confusing signs.

The new name, Josephine’s was a recent change after wanting to dedicate it to his mother.

The banner is still in the old name of Hard Time’s.

Victor says his mother is well known in the community and has a street named after her.

They are in serious trouble financially and lost $90-100,000 in the last year.

Josephine re-mortgaged her house without her husband’s knowledge so they could keep their business afloat.

Robert wants to see service and Josephine is cooking.

The service is slow which means the food goes cold waiting to be served.

They then have to microwave it before sending it out so it is hot for the customers.

Customers are left waiting for their food and most dishes still arrive cold.

Victor is not solving problems or helping as he spends too much time greeting the customers.

Robert calls the owners to hear feedback from the customers.

They believe that the service is the biggest problem of the place.

Robert asks Josephine to make her best dishes for him.

She makes a burger, mac and cheese and a chicken and waffle dish.

Robert likes the food but thinks that it is mediocre and could be better.

Robert gives them feedback and tells them they need a unique menu.

He thinks that she needs to leave the kitchen because of her old age.

The design team for the restaurant is Taniya and Tom.

They are brought in to view the space and see all they have to work with.

They do not think they can salvage anything so they will be stretching their limited budget.

They get the staff and volunteers to empty the space out.

Josephine cries as she sees it all pulled apart.

Robert wants to check what Victor actually does in the restaurant.

He inspects the freezer and finds improperly stored items and food that has gone bad.

Robert gives him a talking to semi-privately and tells him that he is not doing enough to support his mother.

He is given a challenge to get a new head cook so his mother does not have to work so much.

He spends most of the night making calls.

The next morning he has to meet the electricity company who came in to cut off the power because they owe on their bills.

Josephine was able to help him and get an extension on the debt.

Victor gets his staff to empty the freezer and do some cleaning.

Robert comes in and Victor has already found a new chef, who has over 30 years of experience.

Robert tests the new chef asking him to make a dish that can go with the theme in the restaurant.

With Robert watching closely he makes a great dish that Robert loves.

He congratulates Victor on getting someone good and adds the dish to the menu.

Robert gets the staff together so they can be whipped into shape by Victor to get service up to par.

Robert visits Josephine to discuss Victor’s role in the restaurant.

He says that she needs to trust him and Victor needs to be given space to actually work.

The new chef is brought in and introduced to Josephine.

She is sceptical at first but accepts her new replacement in the kitchen.

Robert takes all three into the kitchen to demonstrate the dishes from the new menu.

This includes a burger and a mac and cheese with collard greens.

Josephine loves it all after tasting the dishes.

The team are working fast to put in the final details with all the photos being put back up.

Outside, the community along with Josephine and Victor are waiting.

They see that the outside banner has been changed to the new name.

They are taken in and they see the space has been modernised with warmth and better organisation.

They are both moved to tears and they hug Tom and Taniya when they come out.

Josephine is happy to invite the customers in and they are astounded by the changes made.

On relaunch, orders start coming in.

They are prepared newly trained servers, new kitchen staff and a new cook.

The food is coming out fast and hot with no microwaves involved.

The customers love the taste of the new menu items.

Josephine is the hostess of the new space, greeting her guests and not in hiding in the kitchen.

Victor is managing and helping staff both in front of house and in the kitchen.

Josephine is happy to see her son more active.



What Happened Next at Josephine's Cooking?


Two months later, it is revealed that sales have gone up 40%.

New staff have been hired.

Josephine returned to the kitchen to train new cooks.

Josephine's Cooking is open.

There are mixed reviews after the show.

There are some complaints about food prices and service and compliments to the food quality.

Two months after filming the episode they opened at a second location.

Josephine's Cooking was Restaurant Impossible season 15 episode 1 and aired on 20th July 2019.

Click for more Restaurant Impossible Restaurants

Next episode - McLanks Family Restaurant

Previous episode - Copper Steer Steakhouse

This post was last updated in January 2023.

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