You've all seen the TV version, now get the inside scoop from people that have actually eaten in those nasty restaurants you've seen on Kitchen Nightmares, Restaurant Impossible and Bar Rescue. Plus, find out if those places are still open!
Leone’s in NJ. Former s—box now serves the best pizza for miles Source
Leone’s Is Still Open!
“I only miss the Margarita nights”
The Mad Cactus was on an episode of Restaurant Impossible and it was so disgusting even long time customers were turned off. It was open for about 28 years but it was so dirty on TV and you KNOW they cleaned like crazy before they appeared on TV and it was still so bad no one wanted to ever go back. It is currently a Christmas tree lot, and I don’t think many people care anymore. I only miss the Margarita nights.. if anyone had not seen the mad cactus episode of kitchen nightmares I would suggest it Source
Mad Cactus Is Closed!
“I’m honestly curious how he keeps the place open sometimes”
Live in Denver, where a pizzeria called Pantaleone’s that was on the show is located. I have eaten there off and on for almost 25 years believe it or not. The pizza was always good, very expensive and often unavailable (because of the odd hours and habits of the owner). The owner is a cantankerous guy that seems not to care much about what his customers think of his place. After the show, you can see that the menu is more standardized, but honestly I see no change in the place. I’m honestly curious how he keeps the place open sometimes. If he just hired a delivery person and gave two shits about customer service, this place would probably dominate the neighborhood Source
_Pantaleone’s is still open! _
Good To See The Owners Are Still Going
Can’t speak to before, but I can speak to after. Years ago, during a trip to the UK, I decided to go to the Fenwick Arms because it was the most commonly rerun episode on BBC America and British gravy sounds awesome. Unfortunately, by then they’d closed, but Brian and Elaine, the owners, had simply hopped from Lancashire to Yorkshire and opened a new restaurant called the Ship Inn. I had the roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, gravy, and buttered vegetables, along with a pint of some local beer. It was, bar none, the best meal I had the entire trip. Definitely worth going out of your way for Source
The Fenwick Arms is closed
“But basically everything reverted back to how it was.”
A family friend’s restaurant (Anna Maria’s) wasn’t on Ramsey’s show but on the other one with a similar theme (Restaurant Impossible I think.)
It was a family owned Italian place, the food was really good when I was younger but the husband died and the wife got older and struggled to keep it up to the same standards. Eventually one of the kids moved back to help out but he had 0 experience and couldn’t do much (this is around when the show came in.) Show came. Some increase in quality of food (the food was never bad, the biggest changes by far was the decor and stuff.) Basically everything reverted back to how it was. The town is small and filled with old people since no one young would really want to live there, and they didn’t really want the place to change. The biggest problem with the place was and continues to be that the customer base in the area is simply dying out with no infusion of new people. The show was never going to be able to help much Source
Anna Maria’s is closed
It’s Not Just Restaurants
A few years back, an inn (Juniper Hill Inn) from my hometown was featured on Hotel Hell. It was owned by a really snooty couple who were notorious for barely paying their employees and and collecting tacky art and antiques. Personally, I had a few interactions with these guys when they briefly owned a small cafe in town about a decade ago where I once played what had been advertised as an “open mic” only to arrive to find no MC or PA system. Basically, the dudes wanted free quiet dining music for their (very few) dinner guests. Weak tea, but par for the course. Anyway, Ramsay did an episode where he not only exposed the fact that their staff were being exploited and their garbage antiques and tacky collectibles weren’t worth jack shit, but also illustrated how their rooms smelled like garbage, neither of the owners had any business sense yet felt that they were “better than” the locals and (shockingly) the local consensus was that they were total pricks who should be avoided at best. Fast forward a few months – the inn’s dining room has been re-designed and is now “local friendly.” I go once. It’s alright. Harpoon bottles at an average price. The local bar was closed at the time, so my friends and I were down to check it out a few times. As soon as our regular watering hole re-opened in its far more convenient location (and with drafts!) I don’t think any of us went back there. Last I heard, the inn had closed down and sold. Can’t help but think it’s for the best Source
The Juniper Hill In is closed
“Dinner was free because everything got sent back”
I was on the Park’s Edge episode in Atlanta on the “before” night. Dinner was free because everything got sent back, but our bar tab was $100 for just my wife and I. (We’re visible in a couple scenes too!). That one was an “inept management” episode rather than a “dirty kitchen” episode, but it still closed a few months after taping Source
Park’s Edge is closed
“I was very nervous when I found out it was on the show”
My family regularly went to The Greek (at the harbor) before it was on the show. I was very nervous when I found out it was on the show, but luckily it was one of the few episodes I saw that didn’t feature a dirty kitchen and disgusting food practices. We then went once after the show.
Before the show, the food quality was decent but not spectacular. The atmosphere was pretty good (it was right on the water). The food quality improved slightly after the show, but the price became very expensive, and we decided that as much as we loved the place, it was too overpriced now to return Source
_The Greek is open! _
Alls Well That Ends Well
Been to Prohibition Gastropub in Everett a couple times. Food was pretty decent the times I went, though I hadn’t been there before it was on the show. A few years later, Gordon was in town because he was doing the Lake Stevens half ironman and stopped in unannounced for a meal. From what I remember reading he was happy to see the people he had helped and had no complaints. I was there the same day after a local beerfest but must have just missed him Source
Prohibition Gastropub is still open
The Infamous Amy’s Baking Company!
I live very close to the now closed Amy’s (Baking Co.) and they were just bad. We bought a small cake for a friend’s birthday and it was a almost to hard to bite into. Never went back. Didn’t they ignore all of Gordon’s advice? (Too much money to little sense) Source
_Amy’s Baking Company is closed _
“Overall we liked it a lot”
My wife and I just visited Boston for our second anniversary in October. While we were walking around the North End looking for Italian restaurants, we found La Galleria 33. At the time, we did not realize that this place had been on Kitchen Nightmares. We thought it was a cozy little place with pretty good food and wine, and the service was good. Overall we liked it a lot. My wife only realized that the place had been on the show after we left, and we were impressed with it Source
_La Galleria 33 is still open! _
“the best damn pizza”
We have a little Italian Pizza place out here that was featured on Kitchen Nightmares a few years ago (Pantaleone’s). Last fall my husband, my friend and I decided to go try it out. The little old Italian man who ran it on the show is still there. It was so funny when we came in, we stood at the counter to order and he said “You, what do you want?” And we’re like, “Um, lunch?” So he sat us down at a table and made us the best damn pizza I’ve had in a really long time. He kept coming over and very brusquely asking us “You, how are you doing?” or “You, how do you like the food?” It was really good, we were the only people there so it was really quiet. I speak Italian and the guy was so happy to talk to me. I stood at the counter for about ten minutes chatting with him in Italian. He told me I was the first person in several years to come in and speak to him in Italian. It was actually really fun. The food was fantastic. I recommend it to all my friends. I hope the place does really well Source
“Both times the food was amazing”
I ate at a restaurant that was on Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares. Get ready, because this is actually a sad story.The place was in my old neighborhood, which was a semi-popular bar/shopping district in my city. For backstory: it was run by a couple who inherited the wife’s parents’ very successful restaurant in another state, but had closed it to open the one that would be featured on the show. From what I could tell, they were nice, hardworking people, but no one in the immediate family had really had any restaurant experience. The problem was that in the other state it was a unique place. In my area it was an Italian place in a neighborhood that was pretty much nothing but Italian places. The episode was…awkward. We’re not a neighborhood that gets noticed on a national scale very often, so every bar and restaurant on the street had a viewing party for it. So, pretty much the entire neighborhood saw it live. And, throughout the course of the episode, the viewer starts realizing that the husband is seriously – seriously – depressed. At one point Gordon Ramsey stops acting and sits down to have an honest-to-god intervention with the guy. I felt horrible for having watched the episode, honestly. It felt sickeningly voyeuristic to be participating in this family’s legitimate problems. If the guy had been a stranger in another state, I might have felt differently, but he wasn’t. He was a real person that I saw every morning smoking a cigarette while I walked to work. I’d stand behind his daughter in line at the coffee shop. He was not a character, and he was not acting for the camera. I went there twice after filming. Both times the food was amazing. (I’m not just saying that because of guilt, it was actually fantastic. But, as I said before, the food wasn’t their problem.) What was less fantastic was that the owner would come to your table to talk with you. But he was…how to put this gently…not the best conversationalist. The conversations would start out normal, until he’d segue into telling us how his father died violently in a house fire, or that I should make sure to tell my friends to go there because the place was still failing and he didn’t understand why, and so on. They were among the most delicious, and saddest meals I’ve ever eaten. Eating there was on the same level as going out to dinner after my grandmother’s funeral. The place seemed like it was doing better after the episode – it looked like it had much more business, anyway. But it closed about 3 years after the episode aired. Gossip around the street is that the place had actually recovered financially, but the landlord thought they could get more money from opening a different kind of establishment. But the place the landlord wanted fell through, so now it’s just an empty building in the middle of an otherwise thriving street Source
“The owner really did wise up and listen to Gordon”
I’ve eaten at The Prohibition Gastropub (formerly Prohibition Grill) in Everett, Washington. Ate there before I knew it was on the show. The food was overpriced for the quality (really over-peppered, for one thing; and the last bite I had of my food had a giant peppercorn in it, unfortunately for me), and it was too loud to really hear the people at your table. I’ve never been back there even though it’s really convenient to go to – I can see it from my apartment. But from watching the episode, it seems like the owner really did wise up and listen to Gordon – there was no belly-dancing while we were there – and all the decor that the Kitchen Nightmares team put up was still there, and this was in 2014, so about a year and a half after the episode was filmed I think. I’m pretty sure one of the waitresses in the episode was there when I was, so that was cool. But if you’re ever in the area, there’s plenty of restaurants with better food at better prices, or at least the same quality food at better prices, with a better atmosphere. I recommend the Vintage Cafe, which you can briefly see in the episode Source
_The Prohibition Gastropub is still open! _
Two For One
I ate at Jack’s Waterfront, and Giuseppi’s. They both sucked but the restaurant that replaced Giuseppi’s is pretty good now. I also knew a guy that worked at Jack’s. He accidentally spilled a pan of hot oil down into his leather boot. When the ER took his sock off, all the skin came with it Source
Both Jack’s and Giuseppe’s are both closed
The joint was Sam’s Kabob Room. Dad said he tried to eat there twice beforehand, got food poisoning twice. Gordon Ramsey came through, restaurant closed soon after Source
_Sam’s Kaboob Room is closed _
Can’t Get Enough Of Crazy Amy!
Tried Amy’s Baking Company while I was in Scottsdale many years ago. They actually cooked the fucking pizza. My girlfriend’s salad was pretty good too. Was wondering if that episode of Kitchen Nightmares was staged. That skepticism ended once I saw the wife and husband both watching all the patrons in between orders. I felt really uncomfortable. Other than that, I didn’t see any drama.
I think the husband got deported and they closed the place for good Source
But What’s The Name Of The Place!??!
Basically the same situation, a restaurant near me was featured on Restaurant Impossible a few years ago. I have no idea why. The food (Mexican) before was delicious. Huge portions, cheap, and full of flavor. It was one of my favorite places to eat. After, everything had to be small and fancy looking, they redecorated the whole place so it looked sterile, but didn’t have the comfortable, colorful vibe it used to have. They jacked up the prices, and it’s not a rich neighborhood, so they lost half their business. The food was bland, portions small, but it did look a lot nicer. This was a few years ago, so they’ve moved back toward the original style and they’re still open so it must be doing ok. Not a favorite restaurant anymore, though Source
Ate at Chiarellas in south Philadelphia, which was on kitchen nightmares. The food was delicious, the waiting staff was great, but the owner of the restaurant was terrible. He made inappropriate jokes towards my wife the entire time and then tried to force us to pay for the tiramisu that the waitress gave to us on the house for my wife’s birthday. When I told him that the waitress had offered it for free, he tried to fire her and only relented when we begged him not to and offered to pay for the dessert anyways Source
Chiarellas is closed
Not A Snakebite!
I frequent a bar that’s about to be featured on an episode of Bar Rescue in August. The bar is Character Quarters (not MoonRunners Saloon) in Garner, NC located just outside of Raleigh. The food at Characters Quarters prior to the rescue was always better than expected. It was the service and quality of patrons that was the issue, as far as I know. After dinner, the redneck local crowd would roll in and make it unbearable to hang out there. And once, I ordered a Snake Bite (lager & cider) from the waitress after first asking if they had cider. She said they did, and then came back with a shot glass full of some horrid tequila/creme de menthe disaster. The servers seemed to have only been hired because they were willing to wear skimpy outfits, even if they didn’t have the body to pull it off. Bar Rescue turned the place into MoonRunners Saloon, to focus on NC’s moonshining history. They now feature moonshine and moonshine cocktails along with other southern flavors. The first night we hung out there after the rescue, the owner came up to us, introduced himself, and gave us a free sample of the most delectable apple pie moonshine I have ever had. This stuff is made locally and is amazing. The mac and cheese is some of the best I’ve ever had. They seem to have cut the trashy waitresses and really improved the service. They’re also focusing on local craft beers rather than just the cheap PBR and Bud Light that brings the local rednecks in. I hope it works out for them. I’ve been back several times because of the improvements. The place is 5 minutes from my house so if they keep improving, it’s likely to become my regular spot Source
Characters Quarters is closed
Everything always go back…
I’ve been to the Zanzibar, which was on Bar Rescue. It’s located in downtown Denver. It’s a billiards bar, which is cool but otherwise it wasn’t anything special. When I went it was somewhat beat. I saw the owner there and the chef guy but they were working so I didn’t interact with them…besides thanking the chef for cleaning off the pool table. I only drank beer and didn’t have any food but the prices were okay. Apparently they changed almost everything back to the way it was before the show, minus the remodel Source
_Zanzibar is still open! _
At Least The Wings Were Good!
I’ve been to The Chicken Bone in Framingham MA from Bar Rescue. They changed a lot of the signage from the show from The Bone back to their original name. I didn’t really recognize anyone. The wings were actually really good though Source
The Chicken Bone is now closed
A Place Called Leather & Lace Owes Money??
My husband went Leather and Lace in Austin TX and met and chatted with bartenders. This was in March during SXSW and they were STILL waiting to get a pay check. I guess she said she still worked there a few nights a a week because it’s more of a hang out for her Source
Leather & Lace is closed
One Last Amy’s Story
As an Arizonian, I decided to go to Amy’s Baking Company because of all of the drama that had been going on. Here’s how my experience went:
Me, my sister, and my mother pull up at late dinner time, probably around 8-9ish. The first thing that happens when we walk in, is we are greeted by Sammy who then promptly seats us. It was very obvious that he was going out of his way to be nice, which is a good thing to me. Anyway, for an appetizer we ordered a garlic flatbread. It was mediocre; the flavor wasn’t bad, but the texture was very dry. I ordered the spaghetti and meatballs which was again mediocre but this time was mostly due to odd temperature. Some parts were scalding while other parts were lukewarm. Overall, meh.
Then, I get to the deserts. I ordered a piece of key lime pie and a s’more type pie (I think, although I can’t really remember this one too much. It definitely had chocolate). In all honesty, the key lime pie may have been the best desert I have ever had. The other one was up there in the rankings as well. One weird quirk was that the two waitresses constantly refilled my water. Seriously, they must have refilled my water roughly 8 times Source
Amy’s is still closed