Restaurant Impossible Follow-Up — La Stanza (Philadelphia, PA)

(Last Updated On: April 13, 2013)

In this episode, Robert is helping a young 24 old restaurant owner who is lacking in experience and knowledge. This episode also features one of the more difficult challenges in designing a huge, dark space.

La Stanza | Click here for the restaurant website

A parking garage turned into a restaurant. In this day and age it’s usually a restaurant that is demolished to make room for a parking lot. La Stanza is ran by a woman in her mid-20s with no previous experience in running a restaurant. This lack of experience is what really has been hampering the place. Because of this her head chef has had to step up and take on more than he probably should. I think this resulted in some of the food not being the quality is needs to be. Robert did enjoy some of the sauces he ate, but other aspects needed some work. I think when people get over burdened that is when details start to fall by the wayside. So at this restaurant I don’t think it truly was the food being a problem, but how the restaurant was being ran caused to food to suffer.

The Recipes

Philly Cheese Steak Stromboli | Click here for the recipe
This is an Italian take on the popular Philly dish, a cheese steak inside of a stromboli.

Tempura Sardines with Tonnatto Sauce | Click here for the recipe
Fresh sardines that are breaded in a tempura style batter. I don’t think I ever seen a fresh sardine before. It is served with a Tonnatoo sauce with features chicken stock, dairy, tuna, squash, zucchini, and seasonings.

Meatball Tom Toms with Parmesan Cream | Click here for the recipe
These meatballs contain three different types of meat: beef, veal, and pork. They are served with a Parmesan cream sauce

open sign
The experience seems to have made a positive impact on the restaurant. I have seen a couple resturant try to hide that the experience every happened. La Santza proudly gives credit to Robert for helping make their resturant better right on their website. However they didn’t necessarily keep all of Robert’s changes. I only found one of the recipes above (the meatball tom toms) to be still featured on the menu. Food wasn’t this restaurant’s main issue. According to the South Philly Review, Robert didn’t spend much time working on food and felt the chef was good.

Since the show aired, La Santza has gotten a lot of postive feedback online. On websites like Yelp, the restaurant received 4 or 5 on every review since the show, except for one 3 star review. And in a world where people are quick to give negative feedback, I would say that is pretty good.

If you want more Robert Irvine recipes, here are some of his available cookbooks:
Impossible to Easy: 111 Delicious Recipes to Help You Put Great Meals on the Table Every Day
Mission: Cook!: My Life, My Recipes, and Making the Impossible Easy