Big Tom's Backyard Grill and Bar - Restaurant Impossible Update - Open or Closed?

Restaurant Impossible Big Tom's Backyard Grill and Bar

In this Restaurant Impossible episode, Robert Irvine visits Big Tom’s Backyard Grill and Bar in Cleveland, Tennessee.

Big Tom’s Backyard Grill and Bar is owned by Tom and Sabrina.

They bought the restaurant in July 2018.

The restaurant is an all-American eatery and the whole family works there.

His mother-in-law makes all the homemade dishes and Sabrina makes all the desserts.

All three of their children, Arial, Ethan, and Logan, serve, bartend, and help out at the restaurant.

Big Tom has been married to Sabrina for 25 years.

They started dating in high school.

The first date they ever went on was to this restaurant.

Sabrina says that Tom is her rock.

Sabrina was diagnosed with MS and Tom took care of her.

Tom says that it was an emotional roller coaster.

Sabrina can no longer see out of her right eye.

She says the pain has become a problem but she just smiles through it.

When they decided to buy the restaurant, they had no clue about the restaurant business.

This was a dream that they had.

Tom worked as a pipefitter on the railroad for 20 years.

Tom says he has worked harder in the restaurant than he ever did while working on the railroad.

They had to take out a mortgage on their home and have spent all their savings on the restaurant.

They are three months behind on their lease, utilities, food bill, and paying the previous owners.

They put a lien on their house.

If they lose the restaurant, they will lose everything.

They are currently living out of their car.

Tom says he is physically and mentally exhausted by the situation.

This has been hard on Sabrina and Tom’s marriage.

Tom says this is killing him so it’s do or die.

Robert arrives at the restaurant.

He says it feels like he is walking into a church.

The restaurant is filthy and has not been properly cleaned in a while.

Robert calls Tom and Sabrina into the restaurant for a brief.

They have owned the place since July 2018.

They kept a lot of the same menu items because they have were popular before.

They did add a few menu items but it largely remained the same.

Before they owned the restaurant, they were doing $2.5 million a year in sales.

The owners bought the business for $200,000.

The original owners wouldn’t let them look at the books before they bought it.

They haven’t made any money since they bought the restaurant.

Tom says he doesn’t know how to break everything down as far as food costs.

They can’t afford to pay everything they have to pay.

Tom had a mild heart attack earlier this year.

Sabrina says that Tom doesn’t let anyone help him.

Robert says that Tom is going to die if he takes on any more stress.

Robert says he wants to see the service.

Tom says that he is overwhelmed and Sabrina hopes it is fixable.

A customer says that the staff is friendly.

People come here because they grew up coming here.

If they weren’t from here, they probably wouldn’t come to the restaurant.

Robert says the family friendly service is a plus.

They are using frozen food.

Robert says he wants every ticket from today’s service calculated.

The food they are cooking has freezer burn on it.

Ethan thinks the restaurant is failing because Tom doesn’t want help.

Robert realizes that Tom is killing himself and is driving his restaurant into the ground.

Robert has seen enough so he shuts the restaurant down.

Robert wants to try the food.

It is very salty.

Robert says that in one bite he’s taken his whole weeks’ worth of sodium.

It tastes like it wasn’t made today.

The chicken is well-cooked but has no flavor.

The Monte Cristo is very greasy.

The coleslaw isn’t coleslaw, it’s just chopped cabbage.

Robert says there is nothing unique or exciting.

Robert tells Sabrina and Tom that they only made $336 this morning.

Tom says that maybe he shouldn’t have bought the restaurant.

Robert says he doesn’t think Tom can do it.

Tom says he is exhausted and doesn’t know what he is going to do.

Robert tells Tom that he isn’t going to fix the mess on his own.

Tom must be part of the process if he wants to be successful once Robert leaves.

Robert meets with his designer Taniya to discuss the design concept.

The staff begins taking everything out of the restaurant.

Sabrina talks to Robert.

She tells him about how this whole time Tom hasn’t shown emotion and that she wants her husband back.

Robert meets with Tom.

He gives Tom homework.

He tells him he must come up with a list of tasks that other people can do so he can focus on Sabrina and himself more.

Robert makes a meal for Sabrina and Tom.

Robert tells Tom to write Sabrina a letter saying everything he loves about her.

He will read this letter to her tomorrow.

Tom realizes he must find a way to give more time to Sabrina.

The next morning, Tom reads the letter to Sabrina.

Tom spreads some of the work load out to his staff.

Robert shows Tom and Sabrina that they have to charge more in order to make money.

Robert shows Tom and Sabrina recipes he believes will sell well on the new menu.

The design team were running behind on finishing the restaurant.

Tom says that this restaurant was killing him.

Robert has taught him how to make the place work by putting his family first.

Sabrina says that this is a new start for them.

Robert brings Sabrina and Tom into their new restaurant.

They are amazed by how great the restaurant looks.

Tom invites customers into the restaurant for the first time since remodel.

On relaunch, the customers love all the changes.

They also love the food, especially as it is cooked from fresh.

Tom isn’t micromanaging the staff.

Tom and Sabrina will spend much more time together.

Sabrina will forever be grateful for Robert’s help.



What Happened Next at Big Tom's Backyard Grill and Bar?


A few months later, sales have increased by 50%.

The customers are loving the fresh menu.

Big Tom is no longer behind on his debt payments, and he’s allowing the kids to do their jobs.

Sabrina and Tom haven’t just gone on one date, they’ve gone on three.

Big Tom's Backyard Grill and Bar is open.

They mixed their old menu and Roberts menu.

Reviews are very positive especially about the atmosphere, food and service.

Big Tom's Backyard Grill and Bar is Restaurant Impossible season 19 episode 7 and aired on 1st July 2021.

Click for more Restaurant Impossible Restaurants

Next episode - Grille No. 13

Previous episode - J's Restaurant

This post was last updated in June 2023.

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