Don Luis - Restaurant Impossible Update - Open or Closed?

Restaurant Impossible Don Luis Restaurant

In this Restaurant Impossible episode, Robert Irvine visits Don Luis Mexican Restaurant in Billings, Montana.

Don Luis Restaurant is owned by Carmen Guerrero-Salazar.

The restaurant is frozen in time since her husband died three years ago.

She is now buried in debt as the restaurant has declined over the years.

The family restaurant is just months away from shutting its doors.

She will have to let go of the past in order to save this failing restaurant.

Carmens daughter Raquel works at the restaurant as a server.

Carmen met her husband Luis at a dance at the Elks Lodge.

They had a strong connection from the beginning.

They opened the restaurant in August 2002.

Luis was the chef and Carmen ran the front of house.

In 2017, Luis sadly passed away after a heart attack.

Carmen and Raquel were devastated by the loss.

Carmen just shut down completely and let Raquel deal with her feelings.

Raquel says that her mom was there but it wasn’t her.

Carmen didn’t change the menu.

Since Luis has been gone, the restaurant has not been the same.

Carmen is in around $430,000 of debt.

She hasn’t made a mortgage payment in six months and has a lot of credit card debt.

Carmen says she doesn’t know what to do and she is very scared.

Robert arrives at Don Luis and isn’t impressed.

The walls are chipped and need repainting.

There are mismatch panels on the ceiling.

Robert says this restaurant feels like a knick knack store.

He thinks it looks sad and rundown.

Carmen sits with Robert to discuss the state of the restaurant.

Carmen says it is a Mexican restaurant because Luis was from Mexico.

Carmen owns the building and bought it for half a million dollars.

She has not paid her taxes since 2016.

Back in 2009, their revenue was $14,000 and they were making $6,000 profit a week.

Carmen tells Robert that nothing has changed since Luis died.

Luis liked the decor so Carmen never thought to change it.

Carmen says that she knows that he’s watching and feel like it is his legacy.

Carmen says she doesn’t want to change it and can’t explain how it makes her feel.

Robert asks her how it would make her feel if a tax collector came in right now.

Carmen says she doesn’t know and runs into the kitchen crying.

Robert says he understands that she is trying to keep his memory alive but something has got to give.

Robert tells her that she’s living in the past and needs to create new memories.

Carmen will have to create a legacy that honors him.

She says she wants to do things right.

Robert says he wants to see the service to see how the restaurant runs.

Robert has invited some locals to fill the restaurant.

They are socially distanced and the orders are rolling through.

The kitchen is completely unprepared for the orders.

The cooks are lost and uncertain about the menu.

They seem to move well in the kitchen.

Carmen says she runs the back of the house and the front of the house.

In reality, she isn’t running either with any success.

The customers are struggling with the oversized menu.

After an hour some of the customers start to get their food.

There are many customers that are still waiting for food.

Robert says Carmen is trying to save her husband’s legacy but instead she is running it to the ground.

He tells Carmen that the whole restaurant is a mess.

Robert needs to understand where Carmen’s head is and where the food is at.

He orders a few items off of the menu to try and isn’t impressed.

The chicken is overcooked and dry and the pasta is overcooked and wet.

All of the food is unseasoned and there is no passion in the dishes.

Robert thinks that Carmen is scared to make any of Luis’ dishes.

Carmen says that this was a scary experience.

Robert meets with his design team of Taniya and Lynn to discuss the design concept.

The mural is overtaking the entire restaurant.

Due to COVID, they have no volunteers to help them.

The staff begins taking everything out of the restaurant.

Taniya says she is 100% confident in her design plans.

Robert says he has to use the emotion and turn this into something great.

The staff say that they don’t think Carmen knows the dishes very well.

They think she never got to grieve after Luis passed away.

Robert is going to talk to Carmen about this.

Carmen admits that she sits alone at night, thinking about Luis.

She feels like she doesn’t have anyone to talk to.

Robert tells her that she is stuck in 2017.

Robert still isn’t convinced that Carmen is ready to take the next step.

They only have eight hours until relaunch and Robert isn’t sure they’ll finish on time.

Carmen is worried that her staff isn’t capable of making it a successful restaurant.

Robert tells her that if she doubts them then they will never be able to do it.

Carmen walks off as she doesn’t want to take things off of the menu.

She says that Robert better make sure that her cook is ready to be head chef.

Robert tells her that she has no idea how amazing the restaurant will be once he leaves.

He also tells her that if she can’t handle it, then give it to someone else.

Robert is giving her a chance and she needs to step it up.

Robert has created a menu that will honor Luis.

He shows Carmen how to make the recipes.

Robert tells Carmen to teach the staff the importance of upselling.

The design team puts the finishing touches on the restaurant.

The time comes to show Carmen her new restaurant.

Carmen says the restaurant is so beautiful.

Robert brings in Raquel and she says it’s beautiful as well.

Robert hangs up a picture of Luis on the wall.

On relaunch, the customers arrive and love the new look restaurant.

They also love the new food and can see the improvement.

Carmen trusts the kitchen and is now checking in with customers.

Raquel hasn’t seen her mom this happy in a long time.

Carmen says it’s important for her to move on and do things that are good for her and her daughter.

What Happened Next at Don Luis Restaurant?

A few months later, they are still losing money due to the pandemic.

Carmen has embraced her new leadership role.

She is now trusting the kitchen to try new recipes and specials.

She believes that Luis would be proud of the changes she made to the restaurant.

Don Luis is open.

Reviews are mostly positive with praise for the food and service.

Some customer favourites were returned to the menu at the request of customers as they felt the new menu was too small.

Don Luis Restaurant was Restaurant Impossible season 18 episode 1 and aired on 7th January 2021.

1 comment:

  1. What would Restaurant Impossible say about bringing back customer favorites to the menu. Do you think he would agree that he didn’t take into consideration that the menu was not handled correctly. This is Billings, Montana. Not LA, New York or Miami.


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