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#1

Dudd

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Posted Jan 19, 2011 @ 11:37 PM

Didn't see a thread for this, so here goes. Obviously this is just a complete ripoff of Kitchen Nightmares, but at least the budget is way more reasonable than the Fox version. No one is going to be getting a completely new kitchen here. That said, by far the star of the show was the male designer. He just absolutely killed me. First of all, those chairs were hideous and old to begin with, slapping a coat of paint on the spindles of the chairs (very badly, I might add) wasn't going to save them. Second of all, his little hissy fit when Robert rented those chairs that looked like they should belong at an outdoor wedding was fantastic. Whining that he was going to walk away from the whole project if Robert didn't use his terrible, drippy, wet paint chairs was awesome, doubly so that when push came to shove and Robert went with his rented chairs (without even a second thought, which was fantastic), he didn't do a thing about it. Then to top it off, they apparently were too incompetent to choose the ten chairs out of a hundred that had fully dried, getting wet paint all over the poor guy who had to sit in one of the non rented chairs. The only bad part about the whole debacle was that I doubt we'll be seeing him back, I bet we're going to see at least one new designer in the future, maybe two since the woman was just as on board with the wet paint, if not as willing to whine about it. Still, some solid snark to start out with.

Edited by Dudd, Jan 19, 2011 @ 11:38 PM.

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#2

hindymom

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Posted Jan 20, 2011 @ 7:31 AM

The guy they first hired to be the exec. chef looked so familiar to me. Was he on Chopped or something?
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#3

taalsi

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Posted Jan 20, 2011 @ 2:51 PM

The guy they first hired to be the exec. chef looked so familiar to me. Was he on Chopped or something?


I'm pretty sure he was, he looked very familiar. I agree with Robert, he shouldn't have shown up if he wasn't prepared to accept the job. That was kind of crappy. Speaking of crappy, both the newly painted chairs and the rental chairs looked shitty. And according to a picture on their website, they still have them the same way. Then there was the blue carpet tiles and the red and white walls. Who thought that would look good together? This was a shitastic makeover. They need to call Gordon Ramsey for tips.

What I was wondering was who's paying for the new executive chef if the owner couldn't even afford to pay himself?

Edited by taalsi, Jan 20, 2011 @ 2:54 PM.

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#4

selhars

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Posted Jan 20, 2011 @ 5:22 PM

OMG. The Villari makeover...that was some mess. I guess there was no way for the owner to pull out of the show.

The painted chairs? are you kidding me? painted spindles, with the rest of the chair just left the way it was? The carpet was all wrong. The walls?

I know it was a family style Italian restaurant and they wanted a change to bring in younger people, but that decor was absolutely wrong for that.

I'm still flabbergasted. The rental place TOLD Robert they only had 100 chairs. Why didn't he ask for new chairs to supplement. Even if they didn't match they'd have been new, and not that painted mess.

I guess the owners had signed a contract saying they had no control and no ability to say no to anything that was done. I can't believe they really liked it. It was horrible.

The decor was NO decor. Folding chairs, white walls and a red stripe on the wall, and red fabric -- oh, yeah, let's not forget the red wall with white plates, and the particle board reception desk.

So sad.

Was the 10-thou budget too tight or were those designers just horrible?

Edited by selhars, Jan 22, 2011 @ 12:32 AM.

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#5

jade76

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Posted Jan 20, 2011 @ 5:42 PM

Those chairs looked better before they tried to paint them. What was the point of just painting the spindles? It made them look unfinished. The ones he rented looked like something you'd sit outside on the lawn with, not a chair you'd find in a restaurant.
I agree if that chef didn't want the job he shouldn't have shown up.
Cutting the menu down was a good idea, and that is about the only good thing they did there. This show is no Kitchen Nightmares.

Edited by jade76, Jan 20, 2011 @ 10:02 PM.

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#6

CTown Will

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Posted Jan 20, 2011 @ 9:50 PM

I've seen the chef that passed on that job 4 times on Food Network. He was on chopped, I saw him in the front row of the audience of either the next food network star or the next iron chef, and on some other show I don't remember, and now this. He's probably somebody's brother-in-law at FN.

That place looked awful. I wonder how much they get for being on the show. That was a one and done for me.
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#7

orchidgal

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Posted Jan 20, 2011 @ 11:20 PM

So now Robert is a successful restaurateur? And the tale spins on.

I too recognized the male executive chef to-be from Chopped. Wonder who he has pictures of.

Agreed, the design sucked. Hopefully they will have different designers in future episodes.

I really felt sorry for the owners, but they needed to let go of the past and a lot of that menu. The portraits of the grandparents were just creepy in the restaurant. They belonged at home. (Reading over my shoulder, my daughter just said, "probably not there, either; more like a museum.")

Not sure if I will be around to watch or not. But then again, there is always the train-wreck feature, so who knows?
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#8

notyomomma

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Posted Jan 23, 2011 @ 3:11 PM

The chairs were hideous. Hated the design.

I did like RI testing the sous chefs by having them all make the same dish and that graphically pointed out the need for consistency in flavor and presentation. The menu redo was certainly a plus that needed to be done.

My hometown is losing one of our venerable classic romantic destination restaurants on January 30th. Pepin's is closing to be replaced with a Hooter's. It is sad to see a multi-generation family owned restaurant fail in these tough economic times, but Pepin's had not updated or altered its menu in 30 years and the younger families never embraced their dated and tired fare.
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#9

Major Misfit

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Posted Jan 23, 2011 @ 7:04 PM

I've seen the chef that passed on that job 4 times on Food Network. He was on chopped, I saw him in the front row of the audience of either the next food network star or the next iron chef, and on some other show I don't remember, and now this. He's probably somebody's brother-in-law at FN.

HA! I thought that scene with him "agonizing" over taking the job was fakier than your average FN fakery and obviously, I was right.

Good lord. What a shame for the people who own that restaurant. If their website photos are to be believed, I can't understand why they're still using those awful painted chairs.

Where did that $10,000 go anyway? For carpet tiles and shitty fabric and a "focal point" wall of dollar store plates?
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#10

dirtyhippiegirl

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Posted Jan 23, 2011 @ 9:37 PM

R:I is the poor man's KN.

At least the rented chairs kind-of went with the decor. I actually preferred the the bar area (which I don't think they did much/anything with?) to the dining area. Wonder what they did for chairs after that night? You can't rent 'em indefinitely...
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#11

Shnuglet

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Posted Jan 25, 2011 @ 1:21 PM

I'm with you guys. The redecorating was a disaster, although I did like the enlarged old photos of the family that were along one wall. They should have done that along all the walls in both rooms to create a theme, and then painted/carpeted the rest of the place in a neutral color. The white will just get filthy in no time, anyway. I'm guessing they didn't do anything to that horrible dropped ceiling. Like somebody's basement rumpus room in the 70's.

Painting the chair spindles was absolutely brainless in terms of both design and time management. But those chairs were beyond saving, I think, so I'm not sure what else they could have done. Maybe painted all the wood black so they would have kind of blended into the depressing Naugahyde parts and just become a shape. Then they could've spraypainted them, too, if the cushion parts came off.

And ha, the exterior still looked like hell.

I did enjoy where they showed the way a restaurant works, like the consistency issue, how they choose a menu (did they ever mention designing/printing a new one for opening night?) and when he quizzed the servers on whether they recognized a dish and could describe it so it sounded like something you would order.
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#12

Sandstar

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Posted Jan 27, 2011 @ 1:59 AM

Well, I'm glad I checked the show out. I liked this episode, and I may check out the first one on ondemand.
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#13

Nilo

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Posted Jan 27, 2011 @ 4:21 AM

How on earth was Mainelli's able to stay open as long as it did? And how was it turning a profit of $2,500 a night a while back? How did they go from that to a walk-in with no food, a cook who didn't know how how to cook (seriously), biohazards like 9-day old sliced eggplant and visible mold on the cooking surfaces? I don't understand this at all.

Edited by Nilo, Jan 27, 2011 @ 4:23 AM.

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#14

BlacqueMomba

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Posted Jan 27, 2011 @ 7:12 AM

How on earth was Mainelli's able to stay open as long as it did? And how was it turning a profit of $2,500 a night a while back? How did they go from that to a walk-in with no food, a cook who didn't know how how to cook (seriously), biohazards like 9-day old sliced eggplant and visible mold on the cooking surfaces? I don't understand this at all.


I was completely surprised that they even had dinner service. In my neck of the woods the health department woud have been called long ago by a family member of an employee. How awful to have a full dining room and have to shut down. I had the misfortune of working for an employer who hardly had menu items on hand. It's just embarrassing. We finally put up a note on the front door of what we didn't have so people wouldn't have to waste their time coming in. Predictably the place is no longer in business.

Even with the renovation disaster and the questionable cooking skills I will probably keep watching for the trainwreck factor.
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#15

Nilo

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Posted Jan 27, 2011 @ 1:33 PM

What family member? All family members seemed to be working there. But seriously, a 90+ item menu, and nothing in the walk-in? And a cook who doesn't know how to make any of the dishes? Was the restaurant seriously open before the show came to town? Or had it already closed and the chef run away?

The one thing Mainelli's had going for it was the enthusiasm and dedication of the cook and dishwasher. Chef Robert gave both of them a pretty good start but, seriously, if you have to tell the main cook not to store cooked meat in direct contact with raw, there's a problem. I get that she wasn't formally trained, but hello, one doesn't need CIA training to know that.

Anyway, they both did seem determined and their new dishes did seem doable and impressive. The tag at the end said they were still open 5 months later.

I want Chef Robert's gnocci.
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#16

PoorKitty

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Posted Jan 27, 2011 @ 3:08 PM

I don't understand why the owner of Mainelli's didn't immediately go to the newspaper and demand a retraction of their erroneous reporting of the restaurant being closed. I'd have thrown a fit and gotten some free advertising. But I guess that's expecting too much from a moron that doesn't get why people think his place is closed when there's a freaking closed sign on the front of his building!

The family seemed nice, but that didn't excuse them from keeping the place clean and sanitary. It wasn't as if they had anything else to do since they had no business. Also zero excuse for the health code violations that amounted to things pretty much everyone, non-cooks included, knows not to do unless they were raised in a Darfur refuge camp.

Robert Irvine's food did look good and he seems pleasant enough, so I'll keep watching.
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#17

Major Misfit

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Posted Jan 27, 2011 @ 5:37 PM

I failed to see much of a difference in the place after Irvine and his juvenile designer left. Beside the flooring, it looked exactly the same. And what with those tables they were polyurethane-ing two hours before the place re-opened? The smell aside, how would they even be considered usable when they weren't even dry?

And the place is a "family-style" restaurant. None of those dishes he created (allegedly I should say -- who knows with him), save for perhaps the Caesar salad, would ever be found in that kind of place that usually places quantity on a higher scale than quality.

I'm used to the fakery of all of TFN's line-up but this show really bugs me more than the others. Maybe it's the embarrassing bargain-basement budget or the crappy Trading Spaces quality of the workmanship ("let's paint the chair spindles/ceiling tiles...let's visit the photocopier store!") or the poor acting skills of Irvine or the ridiculously blatant rip off of Gordon Ramsey's US show which was pretty awful to begin with. Who knows. Doubtful I'll be back for more.

Edited by Major Misfit, Jan 27, 2011 @ 5:37 PM.

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#18

chessiegal

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Posted Jan 27, 2011 @ 5:48 PM

I've never seen Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares, but first imitation I thought of was the show "Restaurant Makeover" that aired on FN years ago. It was a quality show. I see it is rerunning on The Wealth Channel now.
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#19

taalsi

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Posted Jan 27, 2011 @ 8:39 PM

And the place is a "family-style" restaurant. None of those dishes he created (allegedly I should say -- who knows with him), save for perhaps the Caesar salad, would ever be found in that kind of place that usually places quantity on a higher scale than quality.


The second review on this page is by someone who was at the grand reopening and seems to agree with your statement.
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#20

FuschiaGoddess

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Posted Jan 27, 2011 @ 10:32 PM

An article on the Mainelli's makeover from the Providence newspaper: Reality Isn't Always "Real"
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#21

Sandstar

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Posted Jan 28, 2011 @ 12:36 AM

And the place is a "family-style" restaurant. None of those dishes he created (allegedly I should say -- who knows with him), save for perhaps the Caesar salad, would ever be found in that kind of place that usually places quantity on a higher scale than quality.



Remeber kids: never try. That way, people can't keep punishing you for your mistakes for the rest of your life. Sure, they'll call you lazy, but you don't have to worry about being perfect.

As for the portions, they didn't have any food in the walk-in. They had to buy all the food with money from the renovation. So he MAY HAVE decided that having enough food for all the people coming to the re-opening might've been SLIGHTLY more important that giving a smaller number of people a large amount of food.
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#22

Pepper Mostly

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Posted Jan 28, 2011 @ 2:54 PM

I'm used to the fakery of all of TFN's line-up but this show really bugs me more than the others. Maybe it's the embarrassing bargain-basement budget or the crappy Trading Spaces quality of the workmanship ("let's paint the chair spindles/ceiling tiles...let's visit the photocopier store!") or the poor acting skills of Irvine or the ridiculously blatant rip off of Gordon Ramsey's US show which was pretty awful to begin with. Who knows. Doubtful I'll be back for more.


Right? My thoughts exactly. I knew it was a Kitchen Nightmares ripoff, but geez, guys, try and put some original spin into it. Its a carbon copy, right down to "you're going to kill somebody!" and "SHUT IT DOWN! NOW!" Irvine does not have Ramsay's charisma or cred. I do not need to see him shouting at the decorator, either. I heard about the ceiling tiles what, five times? All the phony drama is a downer, and so unnecessary. As the Pro Jo article says, it would have been more interesting to address the real struggle, not see Irvine storming around chewing the scenery. It would have been more interesting to spend a few minutes with the decorator and see how she addressed the issues facing her without Irvine breathing down her neck, or without being forced to utter a litany of prices. She knows the budget is limited. So why not have someone on who's excited about the challenge of decorating on a shoestring, a person with ideas? But no. We have to see her shrug her shoulders and offer one expensive idea, so Irvine can shout some more. "That's too expensive! Think of something else!" And rushing to get the tables out of the dumpsters? Stupid. Stupid. Stupid show.
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#23

fostersmom

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Posted Jan 28, 2011 @ 3:32 PM

I'm watching the Mainelli's episode now. Even if they aren't happy with the over scriptedness or the way they were depicted, they got a much needed makeover. The before shots looked dirty and dingy. They obviously couldn't afford new flooring or paint or tables if they could barely afford food. The decor isn't top notch, but the after shots look clean. They can always change the menu Chef Robert put out.

An article on the Mainelli's makeover from the Providence newspaper: Reality Isn't Always "Real"


After reading this, I can see where some of their problems stem. It's an Italian restaurant. We all know the price of pasta. A kids menu with $8 meals is crazy. You can get your kid a steak and a side for $5 or $6 at a steak house, I'm surely not paying $8 for twelve cents worth of pasta and a fifty cent meatball. Spaghetti and meatballs is $9. You could feed your whole family the same dinner at home for that price. No one wants to leave a restaurant and feel like they've been ripped off.
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#24

wonderchica05

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Posted Jan 31, 2011 @ 7:06 PM

I enjoyed this show. Yeah, maybe it's overscripted, but cmon. Most things are these days. I liked the two cooks from Mainelli's. I thought they both had a good attitude and seemed to really enjoy what they were doing.
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#25

Elli DC

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Posted Feb 1, 2011 @ 1:02 PM

Mainelli's was the first episode of the show that I caught, and I have to disagree with many of the posters here, and say that I really enjoyed it, and the few differences between RI and Ramsay's KN elevated the show. I LIKED that they had a very strict budget, and had to make the call to buy food instead of tables. It shows the actual struggle when you don't have much money to go around, and the Gordan Ramsay fairy isn't going to be around to redo the whole damn place.

The menu redo was cool, and the chef and dishwasher both seemed really excited about the food. Robert, in his other show "Dinner Impossible" normally has to teach non-chefs how to put food together, so he's got that experience. It was nice not hearing endless amounts of bleeps from his mouth, and he is a more people-person.

Oh and I thought the end design was nice.
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#26

Haveahabit

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Posted Feb 2, 2011 @ 2:36 AM

Irvine does not have Ramsay's charisma or cred.


What's up with this? Has Robert Irvine ever even owned a restaurant? Has he even ever lied about owning a restaurant?
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#27

DakotaJustice

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Posted Feb 2, 2011 @ 10:40 PM

Mainelli's was the first episode of the show that I caught, and I have to disagree with many of the posters here, and say that I really enjoyed it, and the few differences between RI and Ramsay's KN elevated the show. I LIKED that they had a very strict budget, and had to make the call to buy food instead of tables. It shows the actual struggle when you don't have much money to go around, and the Gordan Ramsay fairy isn't going to be around to redo the whole damn place.


OMG I searched for the thread to this show on TWOP so I could post exactly what you said. Especially about the budget and having to include everything including food within that budget!

Edit to add, i'm watching a different ep and I also have to say i love how Robert makes everyone help out with the cleanup/restoration instead of just showing up the next day and having everything gleaming...even getting into hazmat suits to clean mouse poop. I mean - nothing is going to be as great as the Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares from the first few seasons on BBC but this is way better than the US Fox KN for sure!

Edited by DakotaJustice, Feb 2, 2011 @ 10:54 PM.

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#28

orchidgal

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Posted Feb 2, 2011 @ 11:22 PM

This last episode with Rascals was doomed to fail from the start. I guess you just can't cure a hoarder? And how in the world wasn't that place closed down by the health department?

This show really does have that train wreck factor going for it, doesn't it?
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#29

rebl rn

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Posted Feb 2, 2011 @ 11:35 PM

I don't remember what city/county/state Rascals was in but I never ever want to eat in ANY restaurant in that jurisdiction. The fact that that place was open is, frankly, criminal.
I work in public health and I know how underfunded and understaffed most/all public health departments are, and I know way too much about how restaurants fall through the cracks - we have restaurants where I live that haven't been inspected in years. But at least around here when there's a complaint a place IS investigated, and if there has never been a complaint filed by someone - guest, employee, family, neighbor, I would be absolutely shocked. And the most cursory of inspections would have the place shut down, at least temporarily.

And I am not shocked that the place is closed. Really, when Robert said at the beginning of the show, "You do not deserve to be a restaurant owner," the next line should have been, "Goodbye" and then a phone call to the health department placed. Then FN could have donated the $10,000 they would have used on that renovation to charity.

Does Robert or anyone else with the show have any sort of behind-the-scenes blog or anything? I would love to know his thoughts about this one. I'm sure he thought it was a waste of time too but "the show must go on".
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#30

bybrandy

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Posted Feb 2, 2011 @ 11:49 PM

I mean I just don't see how anybody thought that wasn't throwing good money after bad. There was no indication at all that they were motivated to get or keep the place nice. I mean that place was horrific. I said, "I wouldn't eat there even after the renovation" because you know if it got like that that things would be slipping and quickly.

But of course there is always the chance that this is a case of reality TV being anything but. Here is an article claiming just that. The comments are not to be missed.

I was inclined to believe the article about Mainelli's. I'm less inclined to believe this. There are just too many inconsistencies in what the owner is saying here.

Edited by bybrandy, Feb 3, 2011 @ 12:38 AM.

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