Gaston's Bistro - Restaurant Impossible Update - Open or Closed?

Restaurant Impossible Gaston's Bistro

In this Restaurant Impossible episode, Robert Irvine visits Gaston’s Bistro in Orland Park, Illinois.

Gaston’s Bistro is owned by Yaser and Nader Elkayyal.

Yaser says that his father instilled in him and Nader’s heads that you must do whatever it takes to take care of their family.

Nader says that the bills are piling up.

Yaser began trying new things to try to bring in business.

He changed it to full service.

Yaser started working three times more and got paid a lot less.

Gaston’s Bistro is a French restaurant.

They bought the restaurant in 2002.

Nader was 22 years old and wanted to own a restaurant.

However, their knowledge of running a business was zero.

Yaser loves to cook.

He grew up watching his parents cook but never did it himself.

The original owners is from southern France and had a very limited menu.

When they first opened, they had a successful restaurant.

Over time the business started dwindling.

Yaser says that the chain restaurants coming to the area took their business away.

Nader says around 2015 or 2016, things started to get scary.

The bills started to pile up.

They had to take out a small loan to catch up on the rent.

Then they had to start getting bigger loans to stay on top of everything.

Yaser expanded the menu and changed the restaurant to full service.

This didn’t help at all.

Yaser and Nader both have children now.

Nader wanted to leave the business.

They are around $120,000 of debt.

They only have a few months left before they close for good if nothing changes soon.

Some days, Yaser doesn’t even have time to go home.

He says that sometimes he works 200 hours a week.

Robert arrives at the restaurant.

Robert thinks that the ceiling looks like it’ll cave in.

The ceiling ducts are rusted and the tables and chairs are old.

Robert says he would never know that this is a French restaurant.

Robert calls Yaser and Nader into the restaurant for a brief.

Nader doesn’t know the numbers.

Yaser says that customers love the food.

Robert asks Nader to go get the numbers from 2019.

Yaser says that the food cost is around 35%.

Robert asks how they know the food cost but they don’t know the revenue.

Nader comes back with the numbers.

Robert says it doesn’t make sense at all.

He says they are actually at 50% food cost.

Robert says he wants to see the service.

He says this restaurant is like a diner with an identity crisis.

There aren’t any dates or labels on the food.

The mistakes in the kitchen keep piling up.

One of the problems is that the portion sizes are too big.

Robert asks the customers if they would come back.

The customers say that they wouldn’t come back.

Server Alyssa has worked there for six and a half years.

She says that the biggest issue here is that Yaser keeps trying too many new things.

She thinks it is taking away from what they actually are.

Robert tells her to create a list of everything Yaser has added to the restaurant.

Robert ends the service and wants to try the food.

Robert orders the ribeye quesadilla with salsa, meatloaf, crab cake dijonnaise, beef bourguignon, and roast duck.

The meatloaf’s texture feels slimy and like canned dog food.

Robert thinks that dog food would probably taste better than that.

The beef bourguignon is one of Robert’s favorite classic dishes.

However, it’s too tough and chewy and very dry.

He started coughing because the beef is so dry.

The duck is also dry and overcooked.

The beef quesadilla is nicely toasted on the outside but the beef is very chewy.

There’s no crab in the crab cake dijonnaise.

Robert calls Yaser and Nader over to him.

Yaser says they’ve expanded the restaurant to keep up with the chains.

Robert tells Yaser that he can’t cook.

Robert gives them a one out of ten for the quesadilla.

He says he feels like Yaser is delusional.

The food is why customers aren’t coming to the restaurant.

Robert says this isn’t about putting Yaser down, this is about bringing him back to his family.

Yaser says that this is a rude awakening.

Robert meets with Tom and Lynn to discuss the design concept.

The staff begins taking everything out of the restaurant.

Robert says he is just giving Yaser and Nader a reality check.

Robert presents Alyssa’s list of things Yaser has done.

Robert creates a way to show that what Yaser has done isn’t good for the restaurant by adding weird things to French onion soup.

Yaser says he doesn’t want to taste it.

Robert says that this is what he is doing to the restaurant.

He asks Yaser to make the chicken bowtie pasta.

Yaser realizes that simple dishes cooked well would be better.

Robert shows Yaser and Nader that food cost should be around 25% instead of 50%.

The next day, Robert meets with Yaser and Nader.

They present Robert with their homework of coming up with ways to bring down food cost.

Yaser told his wife about the bills.

She asked him if he needed her help.

He told his wife that she is helping enough by raising the kids.

Yaser also talked to his kids.

They are upset they don’t get to see them as much.

Robert says that Yaser should tell his kids he loves them and to hug them.

Yaser says that talking to his wife and kids has opened his eyes a lot.

He realizes that he must spend more time with his family.

Robert shows Yaser the basics of cooking.

As Yaser was cooking with cold pans, he was basically just steaming the vegetables.

Robert says that the more fun you have, the better the dishes will turn out.

Yaser tries the dish they made together.

Yaser says he doesn’t really like salmon but the dish made him a salmon fan.

This is the first time Robert has seen passion come out of Yaser.

Robert meets with Yaser and Nader in the kitchen.

Robert has created a classic French menu and will teach them the recipes.

These recipes are low on food cost.

They begin putting the finishing touches to the restaurant.

Robert has showed Yaser what he was doing was wrong.

He brings Yaser and Nader into their new restaurant.

Yaser says that the restaurant looks beautiful.

Yaser and Nader invite the customers into their new restaurant.

On relaunch, the customers are loving the food.

Yaser says he hasn’t been this happy in the kitchen in a long time.

Yaser’s wife says she can see a difference in Yaser’s attitude.



What Happened Next at Gaston's Bistro?


Since Robert’s visit, sales are up 35%.

Nader is back working at the restaurant two days a week, soon to be full-time.

Yaser now goes to his daughter’s soccer games and has finally taken his son fishing.

Gaston's Bistro is open.

Reviews are very positive with praise for the food and reasonable prices.

Gaston's Bistro is Restaurant Impossible season 19 episode 13 and aired on 19th August 2021.

Click for more Restaurant Impossible Restaurants

Next episode - From Across the Pond

Previous episode - Mexican Village

This post was last updated in July 2023.

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