On this episode of "Kitchen Nightmares," Chef Gordon Ramsay returns to some of the most unforgettable restaurants from past seasons to see what happened to the eateries since his departure. The chef will find out who has embraced change and who has let their restaurant slide back into a nightmare.
Returning to Classic American Restaurant in West Babylon, New York, the chef recalls that owners Colleen and Naomi were $700,000 in debt. Colleen's son, Kevin, was their head chef, and her boyfriend, Dom, was the manager.
Chef Ramsay characterized the restaurant's problem as twofold: bad food and not enough food. Chef Ramsay called a meeting, but when he asked Dom why the kitchen was always running out of food, the manager got angry and stormed out of the building.
That night at dinner service, Chef Ramsay introduced a sliders special to the menu. While the diners loved the new dish, the old standbys were a flop. As a result, Chef Ramsay shut down the restaurant.
After overseeing a stunning makeover from a country style to a sleeker, more modern look, Chef Ramsay updated the menu of classic American dishes. In addition, a tearful Colleen took charge and asked everyone to separate family from business and vowed to show the necessary leadership. On relaunch night, the kitchen ran smoothly, and the patrons were pleased.
Upon his return in 2011, Chef Ramsay is happy to see a packed restaurant. As a result of the changes he suggested, business is up 35 percent. The chef samples the Classic American food and rates it an "A double plus."
A tearful Colleen thanks him for all his advice and says that he brought the restaurant back to life. As a special treat, Chef Ramsay introduces Good Times magazine's Richard Branciforte, who presents them with the award for Long Island's Best Burger.
Next, Chef Ramsay goes back to Boston's North End to Davide Restaurant, which was owned by two warring brothers. Frank was the bitter and frustrated chef, who had given up on himself. He and his brother, Anthony, were constantly fighting, and they were hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.
Chef Ramsay soon discovered that Anthony had been in and out of the business after Frank found him embezzling money. The situation drained Frank emotionally, and he hadn't been able to forgive his brother. Anthony told Frank that if couldn't put the past behind him, they couldn't go on.
After sampling Davide's food, Chef Ramsay was disappointed. He gave Frank a reality check about the poor quality of his meal, hoping to find him reinvigorated by the promise of a new start. But instead Frank was sitting in the kitchen. The dinner service that night was a disaster, and Frank walked out mid-service.
The next morning, an emotional Anthony expressed his remorse to Frank. After urging from his wife, Kim, the chef put his chef's jacket back on for the first time in four years.
Chef Ramsay presented a new menu to the brothers. Even though stakes were high on relaunch night, Anthony and Frank reverted to their old ways. But with Chef Ramsay's support, Frank got the kitchen back on track, pleasing the diners and a couple of local food critics.
Upon his return to Davide in 2011, Chef Ramsay is unhappy to see that Frank still has a seat in the kitchen. But Chef Ramsay is pleased that Frank is still wearing his chef's jacket and has maintained his passion for cooking. Kim reports that the brothers have come to a new understanding of each other.
Anthony tells Chef Ramsay that sales are up 15 percent, quite an accomplishment in a neighborhood where just surviving the recession is a success. Most importantly, Chef Ramsay is thrilled that the food is in a differently league than it had been when he first arrived.
Chef Ramsay's final stop is at DownCity in Providence, Rhode Island. When he first tried to work with the restaurant's owner, Abby, she was running the establishment into the ground, and an employee even compared her to Cruella de Vil. Abby and her partner, Rico, were $1 million in debt.
Chef Ramsay instantly clashed with Abby when he commented that the room service at his hotel next door was abysmal - only to find out that it had come from Abby's kitchen. After sampling a few more dishes, Chef Ramsay tried to snap Abby out of denial about the poor quality of her food.
At dinner service that night, Chef Ramsay snuck away to look at the fridges. He found a filthy mess. But when he pointed it out to Abby, she and the chef got into a knockdown, drag-out fight, and she threw him out of the building.
Rico begged Chef Ramsay to come back. Abby told the chef that she wanted his help getting the restaurant where it needed to be. At a meeting the next day, Abby admitted her flaws. Chef Ramsay revamped the menu and, despite a few bumps in the road, the relaunch was a huge success.
During his follow-up trip in 2011, Chef Ramsay is prepared to face the old Abby. But when she gives him a big, welcoming hug, it's clear that she's happy to see him. Thanks to the chef's guidance, business has improved at least 30 percent, Abby has a better attitude with her staff, and Chef Ramsay agrees that the food is greatly improved.
But despite all the positive change, the chef does discover one kink in the armor. Since Abby is no longer unleashing her fury on the staff, she's been turning on Rico instead. Chef Ramsay tells her to apologize, and the partners kiss and make up. The last piece of the puzzle in place, Chef Ramsay happily leaves DownCity behind.
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