My ex used to work at Amy's Baking Co. (the one with the infamous nuts owner). This was 2010 I think... maybe 2011. Anyway I went to pick her up from work but got there a bit early so decided to grab a coffee. The guy who owned the place made me sit outside in the middle of July in Scottsdale. For those of you who don't know, this means drinking a hot coffee in ~120 degree weather. I couldn't really hang enough to eat food since it was miserable. Turns out he thought I was a spy and trying to learn the 'kitchen secrets' and that is why I was forced to sit outside. It ended up being a hilarious experience because the episode was spot on for how crazy these people were Source
I live in Hampden, a neighborhood in Baltimore. Ramsay filmed at Café Hon, a "Baltimore Hon" themed restaurant, complete with cat eye glasses, beehive haircuts, Elvis statues, and anything else you might find from the musical Hairspray. The food has always sucked. After the show aired, it still sucks. There's a giant pink flamingo on the side of the building, though, so the tourists think it's quirky and "like, sooo Baltimore". It's a depressing, tragic display of kitsch, false charm and manufactured quaint. The owner once trademarked the word "Hon", which had been part of the Baltimore dialect for decades. She also had a gift shop nearby, "Hontown", that closed. Good riddance. There's tons of great food in the neighborhood, and all the locals know it. The tourists go to the place with the big flamingo Source
_Cafe Hon is still open! _
A place that was on Restaurant Impossible. I never thought the food was bad before, it was just your average diner with average food. Certain things were better than others. Their problem was they had a huuuuge menu (300 items), so a lot of stuff was frozen because it wasn't used often. The show came in, yelled at them, stripped down their menu so the food would be fresh, and totally remodeled the building. I think I went there twice afterwards? The food was a little better, but not significantly. The remodel was kinda strange. By the second time I went the menu had doubled in size. Not as big as previously, but bigger than it should've been. They retired very shortly after that, claiming they'd lost the connection with the restaurant after the show Source
I actually had my Rehearsal Dinner at Leone's in Montclair, NJ in 2012. Their episode was on TV about a year earlier, but I don't know when he was actually there. We obviously watched the show before we booked, the problems on the show seemed to be management related, as well as the classic 2 billion items on the menu he seems to encounter every episode. I can not speak highly enough about they handled the rehearsal dinner. The food was great (though to be fair, good Italian food in a setting like that in North Jersey is NOT hard to come by) but the service, especially the attentiveness of the manager, could not have been better.
I can't speak to how it was before other than what I saw on the show, but if that was accurate than Gordon whipped the guy and the establishment into shape. 10/10 Source
I live near Capri, and have dined there pre and post Kitchen Nightmares. The restaurant was feature on Season 4, Episode 10. Before the show, it was dingy, dusty, and in dire need of redecoration. It was exactly as it looked on the show. We have restaurant letter grades in Los Angeles, and it was rated B at the time (you have to make a concerted effort to be filthy to earn a C). The food was meh, the caesar salad was pale and sad. Then came Kitchen Nightmares, and honestly, yes, the place turned around. It's not the best pizza in the neighborhood, but it's nice, and yes, the garlic knots are tasty. They are still going strong Source
_Capri is still open! _
I live in the same New Jersey town as the 'Blackberry's'/soul food restaurant episode. The show was accurate. The dead rat wasn't planted and I'm honestly surprised that's all they found based on personal experiences. I will stand by the fact that the staff was better the restaurant and owner deserved. They probably downplayed how awful her personality was when it came to running the business and taking criticism. City Hall was literally right across the street and I did a few internships there in High School. They would occasionally try to get us to support the business and eat lunch there. As with most restaurants on Kitchen Nightmares it closed down shortly after Source
Blackberry's is now closed
I went to Mike & Nellie's in Oakhurst, New Jersey when it was rebranded as a steakhouse, but without knowing that it was featured on the show. So at that point, it was good. So at that point, it was good. It wasn't until later when I was catching up on episodes that I realized that place had been featured. The food was good and the experience was as well, so I was shocked that this was on an episode. Lo and behold, I could see why once I saw it. Their episode got featured in October of 2011 and they were closed by January of 2012. I think I had been there in November of 2011, so I got it all brand new and revamped Source
Mike and Nellie's is closed
I went to La Galleria 33 in Boston specifically because it had been on the show. They reverted back to their original menu, all the food sucked, and they're in a part of town with a lot of amazing restaurants. I honestly have no idea how they're still open Source
_La Galleria is still open! _
I worked at one. In fact, I helped debut it - started a week or two before opening. El Greco in Austin, TX. I did not work there anymore at the time of the filming. First of all, let me say this: I always thought Kitchen Nightmares was faked and exaggerated. Now I know it isn't. They actually had to tone this guy down for TV. As far as the food goes, it's a shame, really. When he started the restaurant, he, his mom, and his aunt cooked amazing food from scratch. The best greek food I've ever had. He insisted on extremely high-quality ingredients across the board, causing them to hemorrhage money. He started sleeping later and later, showing up less, and the microwaving of food started. Between increasing drama in the kitchen and decreasing quality of prep and ingredients, incredible food turned bland and mediocre experiences became horrible. I remember that somebody told a vegan that Souvlaki was vegan (it has a ton of ground beef in it). The boss (James) would also talk about how he'd like to f--- all the female customers. He would take the contents of the safe home every night (just for, you know, safe keeping). He accused us of stealing from the register (we didn't) and told us he would force us to work for free for the amount of time it took him to review the security footage (you... can't do that). He told us to stop people from putting napkins under the table legs to stabilize them. "If I see one more of these under here," he said, "I'll make you walk around with it in your shoe! Do you know what that does? It will fuck up your back." I got fired a few months in. Never looked back. So glad that happened. Saw that Kitchen Nightmares episode a few years later and laughed my dick off. It's a real shame. He wasted $800K of his dear old mom's money on that place (actually, she was kind of a b---- too, but I loved her nonetheless) Source
El Greco is closed
There's this Italian place that's been in the community for years. Capri, run by these twin brothers. Used to go with my parents back in the day and it was always good, packed, pretty good little place for not the greatest location. Convinced my girlfriend to check it out fairly early on in our dating life. Thought It'd be fun, in that cheesily romantic way. Walked in and there was no one. Sat down and received that cold in the middle boiling on the outside microwaved goodness. Pretty sure one of us got mild food poisoning from the fish. Laughed it off and saw it on kitchen nightmares later that year. Seemed like they lost their drive more than anything. Haven't tried it since but they're s still open with the new design so... Best of luck to them! Source
Capri is still open
We have one in my town (Prohibition Gastro Pub). The lady should have never owned a restaurant, she was nice, but too much of a dreamer. After Gordon's visit, the food was fair. A little pricey for what it was, but the ambiance, menu, and overall vibe just didn't go well. The cook Gordon fired opened his own place down the street. People like the food, but it's run like it's either their first or last week in business. It's just chaos. I don't frequent either location Source
_Prohibition is still open! _
My husband and I visited the Prohibition Grill. You may remember it from the show as having the random belly dancing shows. We did not watch the episode prior to going to the restaurant for happy hour. We asked our waitress (who was very sweet) about being on the show and the changes they had made. It didn't seem like she had much to say other than that the menu was "more streamlined". She said it was "more streamlined" about six times. The food was not bad. Shortly after our visit we watched the show and I will never go back because it was so gross Source
Mangia Mangia. Before it was aired on Kitchen Nightmares. You could tell the food was microwaved and that was about 2 years before that episode. Couple of coworkers actually were on set of its airing. The place doesn't exist anymore. Now it's a Jimmy Johns. I believe the drug addict was added because someone like that living in my small town would be known for sure and nobody seemed to know who he was before that episode aired Source
Mangia Mangia is now closed
I've been to Amy's Baking Company 3 times with my friends. The first time was a few months after Kitchen Nightmares and Samy started going off on us about Gordon Ramsay even though we never said anything about seeing them on TV. Food was pretty mediocre, and Amy kept giving us her alien death stare from the kitchen, but the desserts were legitimately amazing. Like, the best piece of chocolate cake I've ever had. But them acting out on us made it kind of an uncomfortable experience.
The second time was more or less the same, but the third time, it seemed like they finally cooled down and heeded Gordon Ramsay's advice. The menu was maybe a third as large, they seemed to actually specialize in certain things, they didn't behave like they were bats--- insane, and the food was actually pretty good. Same awesome desserts too. Like, I'd totally go there again if they were still open. I think they finally decided to change because their bad rep from Kitchen Nightmares made them lose too much of their business, and they told us they were likely going to be closing down in a couple months... It was a little sad, but they were pretty nutty people who couldn't get their shit together in time Source
Amy's is STILL closed
I lived next to a restaurant that was aired in Bridgeport, CT (My car and apartment are in a shot or 2). - Cafe Tavolini (Season 4, Episode 9) I had eaten there on many occasions when it first opened, but you could see it lose its way over the years. I was actually surprised at all the s--- happening right outside my window. He took over our entire parking lot with a huge RV which was pretty inconvenient since there wasn't a lot of parking in the neighborhood & it was cold, so walking back to my place kind sucked. The guy worked from his home to run a restaurant!! Felt bad for the son who was the only sane one of the group. It's probably the best episode after Amy's as far as crazy factor goes Source
Cafe Tavolini is closed
I've eaten at The Olde Stone Mill in Tuckahoe, NY post-Kitchen Nightmare. It was very satisfying and enjoyable. They removed the couches when I was there and the bar was quite full. Service was good and the menu didn't seem different than the menu on the episode. I actually drove by the place at first, which was one of the issues the restaurant had before Chef Ramsey came in to save the day. It's one of the one places still open from season one, too! Source
Olde Stone Mill is still open!
Dimples in Los Angeles, CA (Burbank)
They were on Bar Rescue, they're the oldest karaoke bar (I think the first one) in Hollywood, and honestly that was what made me decide to check them out. I live in LA and wanted to go to a fun karaoke bar. In the episode they really cleaned the place up and gave them up-to-date karaoke equipment. They also told the 80 year old owner to stop being so creepy with the ladies. It was beyond disappointing. Not only did everything go back to the way it apparently was, dirty dishes on the table, horrible service, but they couldn't even keep the new karaoke equipment up to date. The machine to choose songs on was broken so you had to pick from the standard book with old songs. The host who ran karaoke was being paid off to let people sing more times than they should and patrons like me, who waited for two hours, never even got to sing before they closed for the night. The owner was a TOTAL creep. He hit on me several times, put his arm around me, and did all the same birthday "blow job" shots that were featured on the show as being insanely creepy. It was an awful s--- hole Source
Dimples is CLOSED!
I went to Momma Cherie's Soul Food Shack in Brighton, UK after he went there, and it was delicious as far as I remember. I was pretty young and with my parents though so I don't really remember details. Unfortunately I've heard that place ended up closing down Source
Momma Cherie's is closed
On bar rescue, there was a bar in downtown Chicago called The Blue Frog that became The Local and basically the food and atmosphere did get a lot better. The Blue Frog was kind of a s--- hole, but the Local was pretty chill. All in all a nice improvement Source
The Local is closed? It seems to keep changing it's name
I went to Spirits on Bourbon Resurrection in New Orleans last week. Everything looked exactly like it did after the Bar Rescue crew left. It was actually really cool. As I was leaving I heard someone standing out on the sidewalk talking about how they had seen it on Bar Rescue. These bars must get a lot of people that come by just because they saw it on the show. Especially in touristy areas Source
There was a bar/small restaurant on Fort Bragg called the Green Beret Club.
It was tied for the oldest building on post, and it was easily one of the coolest places. The entire bar was a memorial/display of Special Forces/Green berets. The walls were lined with pictures of the teams from each unit, with an entire wall dedicated to fallen Green Berets. There were flags and gifts from foreign Special Forces units. There was a pool table, and not much else. The interior was this old wooden finish, and pretty nice. The clients were soldiers that lived within walking distance, and old SF teams meeting up for a birthday, or just to reconnect. Very friendly staff and wonderful atmosphere to get a beer after work. Then came Restaurant Impossible. hey butchered the place and I couldn't go back. It went from the "Green Beret Club" to "Smoke Bomb Grille". The SF Team photos were digitized and put on a cycle on these iPads hung on the wall, set off to the back of the bar area, next to the pool table that was too close to the walls. All the wood floors were replaced with concrete. The large wooden bar was replaced by cheap corrugated metal and plastic. The chairs were cheaply made crappy metal stools. The wooden walls were painted black, with a red ceiling and corrugated tin panels (on the inside??). The theme went from cozy bar to what felt like Guy Fieri's Garage. The food improved slightly, but it didn't last long. All semblance of the old bar was gone, and replaced with "Generic Sports Bar". The place reached out because not many people were going there, but the people that DID go, stopped once they changed everything Source
Smoke Bomb Grille is still open