Restaurant Impossible Follow-Up — Woody’s Tupelo Steakhouse (Tupelo, MS)

(Last Updated On: September 16, 2012)

In this episode, Robert is headed to Tupelo, Mississippi to help out at Woody’s. This place was once a happening joint serving the likes of Elvis Presley. Now they are losing thousands of dollars a month and they haven’t figure out how to stop the bleeding. That is why Robert is here.

Woody’s Tupelo Steakhouse | Click here for the restaurant’s website
This restaurant has problems on all levels – food, management, decor, and service. Robert really had his work cut out for him. Compliance seem to fill the entire restaurant. It seems they starting to go down hill, and no one could figure out how to stop the slide, so compliance set in. Basic problems like no staff schedule, no assigned sections for servers, and general bad organization, made the service slow and the server tired and confused. The servers didn’t have the right attitude but as often it does, it starts with the management. You train people to give good service, then good service is more likely to happen.

Fixing the decor ending up being a major headache, all because of the table tops. They were using table clothes to cover a padded table top. This was costing them $1,000 a month in cleaning the table clothes. Robert wanted then to go. So they orded a material that was part concrete. The problem was this material wasn’t food safe. Robert got black marks on his hands by just touching them. So they had to seal the tops before using them. They ran into a lot of problems trying to cut the tables, but their design team was able to figure out the problem but it was too late.

The restaurant owner was proud for using a high quality steak. Robert showed them in a side by side taste test that the choice he purchased was just as good and cheaper than what she was buying. This goes to show that you don’t need the top of the line steak, you just need the knowledge on how to season and prepare that steak well. I have no problem buying a choice cut from any grocery store, because I know if I prepare it right, it will be delicious.

The Recipe

Catfish Sandwich with Remoulade | Click here for the recipe
Robert only shows them one recipe in this show and it is for a catfish sandwich. Catfish is a cheap fish that they can make it good and lower the restaurant’s food cost. The catfish is covered in corn meal and deep fried. The sandwich has a remoulade spread on it. The remoulade is a spread that contains ketchup, mayo, vinegar, capers, horseradish, celery, onion, anchioves, and spices.

The reviews I read online since Robert’s visit were mixed. Still some complains about some of the same problems – bland food and slow service, but there were enough positive reviews that I think this place has done a good job at turning things around. I think a positive sign is that their facebook page has over 2,500 fans. While it doesn’t appear Robert had much time to work on improving the food, it seems he gave the restaurant new life and better organization. Overall it seems this restaurant has benefited a lot from the good kick in the pants, Robert provided.

If anyone has been here since the show aired, let me know what you thought of the place.

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.

17 Replies to “Restaurant Impossible Follow-Up — Woody’s Tupelo Steakhouse (Tupelo, MS)”

  1. grey's girl says:

    I loved this and i want for Robert to come to my home town that is in Iuka, Mississippi. I love to watch Robert on his missions to help failing restraunts and I want to meet Robert in person I would love for him to come and cook for me and help restraunts in Iuka, Ms and I hope that Robert will read this and come. I LOVE YOU ROBERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!YOU ARE THE BEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. I just finished watching the recording of this episode. It seems this episode was more on management correction than food correction. I hope the staff can pull it off. I did note during the taglines that two of the servers were fired. I wonder which ones.

  3. TurdFergison says:

    The 2 girls that they say were fired ,were not fired they quit, they were more like seasonal help. My guess is that when the business boomed right after the filming it got to be too much work. The two waitresses that were most prominently shown in the episode still work there….But there new found local celebrity seems to be going to their heads. One even screamed at her boss “If you thought that Restaurant Impossible sh!!+ was bad you aint seen nothin” dun dun dunnnnnnn the drama unfolds.

  4. Only about 50% off the Restaurants that Restaurant Impossible make over actually make it in the end.It is hard to repair things in 2 days (and the crew being so rushed all the time.)
    My husband and i always try to predict which restaurant stays open and which one closes down.As soon as the show ends we look it up online.

  5. @Marie that is really not true according to the website Robert has to date done 38 restaurants and 35 of them are still in operation. now some have gone back to the old style but for the most part they do make some great changes.

  6. Woodys is still open and going strong. I work there and make great money and the food is amazing!

  7. yes is very delicious food

  8. Larch Miller says:

    I live near Guzanos and we used to go their alot, but not so much lately. After I saw the episode I ate lunch there and had the tacos. They were good. The service was good, but they have dickered with the decor hanging buddhist prayer flags all over. You are struck by the place looking like a laundry yard. Not a good look.

  9. Eric Samuelson says:

    Thank you for your comment. Sad to see the place isn’t looking as good as it was.

  10. Seems to me a restaurant that has only some tweaking and hasn’t kept up with the times with dated decor and not so enticing food could succeed with a remodel and better food receipes and maybe some organizational or staff changes. Some restaurants however are a much bigger problem and success is less likely. For example, Joe is unemployed and has no skills. He thinks to himself,what I need is a cash cow! I’ll cry to my dear aunt Betty and talk her into loaning me the buy the failing restaurant down the street! Joe sits back and wonders why the restaurant isn’t making money. Money gets tight so he hits up aunt Betty again, mom and dad and any old friends he thinks might invest! Surprising how many people think all you have to do to succeed is buy a restaurant without any restaurant knowledge or experience, Some couldn’t manage their own finances before they took ownership and couldn’t even fry an egg! This situation is truely restaurant impossible with four days training and new decor!

  11. allison Ward says:

    i was so looking forward to eating at Woody’s in tupelo. The place looked great as you walked in. But after we were seated is when it all started to go downhill. To think Robert Urbine had been there and tried to teach them better. It was like he never had been there. The food was horrible and cold and over priced. The service was so slow it was over an hour and half before we recieved cold food. Not wasting my time going back.

  12. Eric Samuelson says:

    Sad to the hear that!

  13. Erin Harland says:

    I’m looking forward to the Mother’s Day Brunch and will report back after my first visit. I love the show restaurant impossible!

  14. Eric Samuelson says:

    We would love to hear about the experience.

  15. Nine people in my family ate at Woody’s today for the Mothers’ Day brunch and we had a truly great dining experience. Everyone in my family was pleased with the variety of well prepared meats, vegetables and desserts. One of my favorite dishes was the slow cooked lima beans with ham hocks. The strawberry shortcake was fabulous!

  16. Eric Samuelson says:

    Great to hear that you had a wonderful experience.

  17. Fran miller says:

    Since viewing the Restaurant Impossible changeover our comment after visiting us at the owner seems to still have an attitude. I mean the one who is very heavy I guess she is the daughter. The wait staff was okay and the food was better than expected but I found that there were still some issues of dust and dirt in the restaurant. The service was somewhat slow but the food was interesting in the choices. Felt that the menu prices were a little high for the area and it just look like there was a bad attitude for the servers and the hostess that we had. Would not go back again

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