In this episode Robert comes to the aid of an owner who saw success at first which lead him to opening a second location. When that second location was failing, the first one was been neglecting. The second location lasted 6 months, and now the first location is on the verge of closing down as well.
Dinner Bell Restaurant | Click here for their facebook page
Here are some of the issues Robert had to address in this episode.
- Bland decor including mismatched chairs and tables.
- Health code violations done by servers
- Frozen undercooked catfish
- An owner who thinks his food is not only good but better than a lot of places (I can tell by just looking at it that it’s not)
- An owner who is so frustrated he is ready to punch Robert
- A kitchen in serious need of a deep clean
- Improper storage of meat in the kitchen
- Food that was not properly cost
🍽️ The Recipes
Fried Catfish | Click here for the recipe
Filets of catfish coated in flour and corn meal, then pan dried on each side.
On April 15, 2013 the Dinner Bell closed it’s doors for the final time.
Here is a message on facebook from the owner:
“To all of our Facebook friends and family. After 5 years of being in our Rivergate location, I have decided to close the Dinnerbell restaurant. Monday, April 15 will be our last day of operations. We will open at 10:30 AM and close at 3 PM. This was an incredibly hard decision for me to make. But with today’s economy and rising cost of food, we’ve found it very hard to survive. This is a difficult time for me, my family and our employees, we ask for you to keep us in your prayers. Thank you for many great memories!”
In the end I think it’s the food cost that killed him. He didn’t want to charge what needed to be charged in order for them to survive. The prices went back down after Robert left.
The whole experience was not enjoyable for the owner or his staff. Here is a quote from one of his staff members:
“My name is Terrilynn I’ve worked at the Dinner Bell for years and honestly it is the best job I have ever had!! It’s terrible that this “tv show” came in and ruined our business!! I promise y’all that that everyone there puts their hearts and souls into the food and service. It was a mistake in my opinion to bring in Robert Irvine he intimidated all of us and was incredibly mean. It was all for tv ratings on their part not to help us in any way like they said they were. He made us cry he treated us like dirt and really didn’t “do” anything himself like it shows on tv his personal chef does it all. I just think its a shame that those people came in and ruined a great little mom and pop restaurant that people love to come and eat great good’! We now have our old menu back and same great service so please come and see us and give it a try I promise we will blow you away.”
The person who wrote this is the waitress who Robert yelled at for placing the ice scoop back into the ice. I will give her the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the scoop. She was nervous and I make mistakes when I am nervous. Of course that is what is going to make it on the TV show. So I can feel for her frustration.
Although I don’t think you can say the show ruined the business as the owner was ready to shut the place down but the Restaurant Impossible publicity is at least keeping it open for now.
The show makes Robert look like super man, handling on the problems – when in fact he has a chef that is doing a lot of the work getting the kitchen prepared. That is part of reality TV. They don’t show us all the behind the scenes things, making people look larger than life. That is what I would expect, so I don’t fault Robert there.
The show always makes it seem like everyone hated the food in the beginning and then loves it after Robert has come in. But I found a review from someone who says their experience at the grand re-opening was not so positive.
This is taken from Urban Spoon:
“I went to the grand reopening of the Dinner Bell last night. The food was awful!!! I had mashed potatoes(runny) black eyed peas and their braised beef tips. If you could find some meat in there I miss my guess. After the show rapped up all the owner was doing was telling people this was not his menu and he was going back to his. They ran out of food the place filled with smoke from burning food. The food looked all the same. The only thing that was good was the squash bisque. We went there once when it first opened up and swore we would never go back. Only went back because the show was doing a make-over. There is also nothing on the menu for lighter fare only grease laden fatty food. This place needs to go out of business!!!! My husband ordered shrimp and cheesy grits and after waiting 45 minutes they decide to come to us and say they are out of it. Owner kept blaming the show for running out of food. Isn’t he in charge of his restr?”
From the sounds of it, the owner wasn’t too thrilled either, even though the show made him look happy in the end. He was telling customers he was going back to the old menu – the comments from the employee above confirm that. This reviewer blames the owner for them running out of food. Actually I heard that the food is ordered a head of time by the Robert’s crew. So the responsibility should be placed on them.
If you want more Robert Irvine recipes, here are some of his available cookbooks:
This cookbook contains 111 recipes many with complete timelimes and several that are gluten free. An example of the kind of recipes you will find are Lime-Cured Shrimp and Roasted Corn Chowder, Porcini-Dusted Pork Chops with Cremini Mushrooms and Golden Raisins over Horseradish-Scented Potatoes.
In this book Robert shares his personal stories (including cooking for First Lady Laura Bush) and cooking philosophy. There are also recipes to be had like Black Angus Beef Tartare with Toasted Brioche and Fried Quail Egg, Roasted Duck with White Bean Ragout.
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