“Restaurant: Impossible” is on the Food Network and ruled by renowned chef Robert Irvine. Robert goes to restaurants that are failing and turns them into a better place with help from his design team and master carpenter. With a budget of only $10,000 and two days, they transform tired restaurants with bad food and owners who have lost their way into practical establishments. Robert pulls no punches and does not hesitate to tell owners the truth, even if it hurts.
This episode brings Robert and his crew to Hot Springs, Arkansas, to the Whistle Stop and met with owner Linda Todd who worked there and when told that the previous owners were closing the place without notice. Feeling sorry for the employees, she bought the place using her husband’s insurance policy proceeds. The problem is, she is like a mother to everyone there, and they do whatever they please and do not treat her like a boss.
The name Whistle Stop comes from the train that rolls by and blows the whistle. Linda has no idea what her earnings have been for the last four years. She is riddled in debt and ready to close any day now. She could be homeless tomorrow if she closed the doors.
Robert gave her a hug and then proceeded to point out to customers, just how dirty the place was. The buffet had food temperatures that could make everyone sick, and there were bugs, and Christmas lights still hanging in July. Linda told Robert that several of the people were on probation, parolees, and just plain misfits. Robert ordered a few of the menu items. He would not dare try any of the buffet items.
The shrimp were not cleaned, the food tasteless, and the place was an overall mess. The designer came in to assess the situation, and the staff took everything outside to the bare walls. Robert tried to go over Linda’s books, and they made no sense whatsoever. He gave her an assignment to figure out her daily revenue that gave her a clue into her restaurant.
The next day, the restaurant was coming to fruition and starting to already look great. Linda was at the end of her rope because she felt more stupid than anything else. Robert gave her a pep talk to boost her confidence and told her she needed to be less of a mother to her employees and more of a boss. She was so impressed with Robert’s caring for her and her business.
Robert overheard the cook bad mouth him and confronted him. He told him if he did not want to be there, then leave. The man was on probation and fortunate to have a job, but his attitude was less than grateful. The man came away with a better attitude after the confrontation and apologized saying that Robert made him nervous.
Robert met with the rest of the staff to give them the talk they all needed. It was a new beginning for the staff, including Linda.
The inside of the restaurant resembled a train rustic station. It had a new look and an enthusiastic staff, thanks to Robert Irvine and his staff at “Restaurant: Impossible.”
Photo of Robert Irvine: Sarah Stannard | Wikimedia