Did Gordon Ramsay “nightmare” kill off Austin’s El Greco. Or maybe these people don't understand how brutal the restaurant industry is. I haven't dug into the articles, but I cooked for 6 years of my life; I spoke to a number of different owners about all manner of things.
The thing is, you can have a good menu, reasonable prices, good staff, and even a prime location AND STILL go under. It's an absolutely heart-breaking industry; you can still fail even if you do everything "right".
One of my favorite shows. I kind enjoy the British version more because it has less drama and all that. I haven't watched Gordon Ramsay in a few seasons. His shows turned boring fairly quick. I will say this though. The UK version of this show is much easier to watch, not nearly as dramatic or seemingly scripted as the US version. In the UK version he appears to honestly want to help the restaurant succeed.
The US version seems to be about yelling and arguing in a dirty kitchen. I kind enjoy the British version more because it has less drama and all that. British version was infinitely better. US version is edited badly, focuses on emotions instead on the food/business, gives the restaurant owners new kitchens as if Gordon was fucking Oprah. It's horrible. I can't watch this show nor can I watch Kitchen Nightmares. I don't dig the 'Angry Gordon' persona.
However, I loved Masterchef (can't wait for it to come back on) and actually watched a two minute Gordon Ramsay beef wellington videon on youtube the other day that I thought was excellent. He has so much to offer, it's too bad it has to be in the form of yelling 'you stupid donkey' most of the time. Reality TV does an amazing job at casting. In this instance, they're choosing restaurants that suck.
It should surprise no one that the person that has a restaurant that sucks continues to have one that sucks. The British version is 100 percent better.
Best episode was the soul food place in Brighton, where the food was already great, and the issues were simply marketing and workflow. That seemed like a real success story. watched a two minute Gordon Ramsay beef wellington videon on youtube the other day that I thought was excellent. Watching him cook scrambled eggs is also an excellent way to spend your morning.
The UK version of this show is much easier to watch, not nearly as dramatic or seemingly scripted as the US version. In the UK version he appears to honestly want to help the restaurant succeed.
The US version seems to be about yelling and arguing in a dirty kitchen. A thousand times this. The UK version has Ramsay doing his own narration voice-overs (none of THE DRAMATIC VOICED ANNOUNCER repeatedly describing what you've just seen happen on camera), and Ramsay comes across as much more truly interested in the success of his project with each restaurant than he does in the US version. When BBC America started showing both series, it was really jarring how horrible the US version is when played right after an hour of the UK show. All that aside, the restaurant business is brutal, and the establishments which become part of either Kitchen Nightmares series were all having problems before, likely because of deeper systemic problems either with the industry in their area or management practices, none of which can be solved in a week.
Classic seagull management -- guy flies in, makes a lot of noise, shits all over everything and leaves. Might make for fun TV but I can see why it would be worse than useless. I consider this show a lot like hoarders. By the time the tv crews arrive, the subject of the episode is long past saving, and all that can be done is to squeeze a few drops of oggle.
S01E01 - Peter's - Babylon, New York **closed**. S01E02 - Dillon's - New York, New York **renamed Purnima, closed**.
S01E03 - Mixing Bowl - Bellmore, New York **closed**. S01E04 - Seascape - Islip, New York **sold**.
S01E05 - Olde Stone Mill - Tuckahoe, New York. S01E06 - Sebastian's - Toluca Lake, California **closed**. S01E07 - Finn McCool's - Westhampton, New York. S01E08 - Lela's - Pomona, California **closed**. S01E09 - Campania - Fair Lawn, New Jersey **sold, then closed** 3 years later. S01E10 - Secret Garden - Moorpark, California. S02E01 - Handlebar - Mount Sinai, New York **closed**.
S02E02 - Giuseppe's - Macomb Township, Michigan **closed**. S02E03 - Trobiano's - Great Neck, New York **closed**. S02E04 - Black Pearl - New York, New York **closed**. S02E05 - J Willy's - South Bend, Indiana **closed**. S02E06 - Hannah & Mason's - Cranbury, New Jersey **closed**. S02E07 - Jack's Waterfront - St. Clair Shores, Michigan **closed**.
S02E08 - Sabatiello's - Stamford, Connecticut **closed**. S02E09 - Fiesta Sunrise - West Nyack, New York **closed**. S02E10 - Santé La Brea - Los Angeles, California **closed**. S02E11 - Cafe 36 - La Grange, Illinois **closed**. S03E01 - Hot Potato Cafe - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania **closed**. S03E02 - Flamangos - Whitehouse Station, New Jersey **renamed The Junction** **closed**. S03E03 - Bazzini - Ridgewood, New Jersey **closed**.
S03E04 - Mojito - Brooklyn, New York. S03E05 - Lido di Manhattan Beach - Manhattan Beach, California. S03E06 - Le Bistro - Lighthouse Point, Florida.
S03E07 - Casa Roma - Lancaster, California. S03E08 - Mama Rita's - Newbury Park, California **closed**. S03E09 - Anna Vincenzo's - Boca Raton, Florida **closed**. S03E10 - Fleming - Miami, Florida.
S03E11 - Sushi-Ko - Thousand Oaks, California **closed**. S04E01 - Spanish Pavillion - Harrison, New Jersey. S04E02 - Classic American - West Babylon, New York. S04E03 - PJ's Steakhouse - Queens, New York **closed**. S04E04 - Grasshopper Also - Carlstadt, New Jersey. S04E05 - Davide - Boston, Massachusetts.
S04E06 - Downcity - Providence, Rhode Island. S04E07 - Cafe Tavolini - Bridgeport, CT **closed**. S04E08 - Kingston Cafe - Pasadena, CA.
S01E01 - Bonapartes Restaurant - Silsden, England **closed**. S01E02 - The Glass House - Ambleside, England. S01E03 - The Walnut Tree Inn - Llandewi Skirrid, Wales **closed**.
S01E04 - Moore Place - Esher, England **sold, now Esteem**. S02E01 - La Lanterna - Letchworth, England **closed**. S02E02 - D-Place - Chelmsford, England **closed**. S02E03 - Momma Cherri's Soul Food Shack - Brighton, England. S02E04 - La Riviera - Inverness, Scotland **renamed to Abstract**.
S03E01 - Oscar's - Nantwich, England **sold**. S03E02 - The Sandgate Hotel - Sandgate, England **sold**. S03E03 - Clubway 41 - Blackpool, England **closed**.
S03E04 - La Gondola - Derby, England **sold**. S04E01 - La Parra de Burriana - Nerja, Spain **closed**. S04E02 - The Fenwick Arms - Claughton, England **sold**. S04E03 - Rococo - King's Lynn, England **closed**. S04E04 - Morgans - Liverpool, England. S05E01 - Ruby Tate's - Brighton, England **closed**. S05E06 - The Fish and Anchor - Lampeter, Wales.
S05E07 - Curry Lounge - Nottingham, England. S01E01 - The Dovecote Bistro - Devon, England. S01E02 - The Runaway Girl - Sheffield, England. The worst part is the constantly yelling, hyperactive, disappointed, bewildered and psychotic persona that Pharaoh Ramsay plays.
Contrast it with the almost likable human-thing he plays in his other shows, and it's obvious that Kitchen Nightmares is more about acting and drama than running a restaurant. I read the reviews and discussion about El Greco (which I never tried) and all I can say is thank $DEITY Ramsay hasn't tried to clean up my favorite Lebanese place. Say what you want about his conduct, but Bourdain's assessment of the worthlessness of "kitchen consultants" in Kitchen Confidential was spot on. Wow, impressive list! I wouldn't put that out there as the 'Curse of Ramsay' though. More like ineptitude meets last chance meets financial disaster meets the usual bad fate of lots of restaurants.
I hate like I mentioned his 'stupid donkey' yelling persona, but there did seem to be quite a few stupid donkeys running the restaurants every time I tuned in. Inviting a British chef to tell you how to run an American kitchen is all kinds of dumb. What's next? You'll be trying to tell me that Americans defer to British Intelligence briefings.
I watched the El Greco episode, and it seems like nothing could have fixed the place. The relationship between the head chef and his mother seemed terribly toxic, and a few hours of yelling by Ramsay isn't going to fix that. I usually eat out on Fridays with a group of friends.
We ate at El Greco about 6 months ago, I guess. It was overpriced for middle of the road Greek food, though not awful. The service was ridiculously slow, however. We ate at a restaurant across the street from El Greco the night this episode was being filmed and then ate at this same place last Friday when it aired and the server put it on the TV while we ate. I'd never seen the show before but it seemed so staged.
I mean really, the guy is going to be on TV and he still cooks for Ramsay using the microwave? Anyone who actually cared about their restaurant continuing would put a modicum of effort into looking good for the camera. I think this knob was on his way out already and this was a thrown fight. The thing is, a lot of restaurants don't try and a lot of them don't even have to try.
to survive. There are hundreds of Mexican restaurants in Austin and I'd say 95% of them are strictly average. They take no chances. They might as well be one big chain. Senor Frayed Vinyl Booth's Casa de Generico. Same goes for Chinese food. If El Greco's prices were lower and the service was better, we probably would've gone back, because sometimes you just want Greek food that's affordable and easy to get at.
If the owner of El Greco gave the slightest bit more of a damn, he might've been okay. Austin is a hungry city and it almost seems like an effort for a restaurant to fail here (though I've seen plenty of odd exceptions).
S01E03 - The Walnut Tree Inn - Llandewi Skirrid, Wales **closed**. Then. reopened and now considered one of the top restaurants in the UK. My mother and I own a small lunch-counter-y place in an office building. Due to space constraints, a brutal lease, and a flagging market for commercial office tenants, we've had a rough last couple of years (which we are, thankfully pulling out of). Every now and then, I watch Ramsay and think to myself It would be totally awesome if he'd swoop in and do the 'treatment' for us.
But, then I realize how almost every restaurant his production team picks for him to 'save' has godawful 'fundamentals'. Usually, they're half a million in debt, the owners are never present, they've got horrible cost controls, loyalty to bad people and bad vendors, and all too frequently, the owners love the 'idea' and glamour/prestige of owning a restaurant, but not the practice. I've been running a place and kept it in the black for 25 solid months now, and will be debt-free on it by the end of this year. All I really want Ramsay for is a snazzy remodel (as I'm terrible with the whole 'decoration' thing). Reality TV does an amazing job at casting.
In this instance, they're choosing restaurants that suck. It should surprise no one that the person that has a restaurant that sucks continues to have one that sucks. The casting on the US version seems extremely biased toward showcasing restaurants in New Jersey and Long island that are run by Italian-American families who fit the loud and angry stereotype. Another thing that makes the UK version so much better, is that Ramsey doesn't give the owners anything for free. The owners are always deep in debt, so Ramsey sits them down and tries to teach them what they can do to stop hemorrhaging money and attract more business.
But there is never a magic fix for the business. It's always about the owners adhering to enough discipline to stop losing money and hopefully start breaking even. It really dis-sways you from ever thinking that owning a restaurant someday would be a fun idea. In the US version, the show will remodel the restaurant's kitchen for free. There's a lot less focus on how to run a restaurant and a lot more focus on fighting.
Ramsey is also a bigger celebrity in the UK, which may why the British owners are more likely to defer to him, whereas over here, he's a game show host on Fox. No surprise Sebastian's in Toluca Lake closed. That dude was a nut case. He cared more about selling franchises and frozen food in grocery stores than making a decent meal for his current customers. posted by reenum at 9:32 AM on January 22, 2012. I moved away from Austin in 2003. I don't recognize the building that El Greco is (was) in.
Is it roughly near Changos but on the other side of the street. Seeing that La Frite closed makes me sad and guilty. Their sign was one of the droplet ones along that stretch of Ventura Boulevard. But I confess I never actually ate there. Droplet? WTH, autocorrect? Distinct.
S02E03 - Momma Cherri's Soul Food Shack - Brighton, England. Hah. Not closed. Good for her.
That one felt like Ramsay actually helped in the key areas that were needed. If you come across the scene of an accident and find someone unconscious with no pulse and not breathing, you call the emergency services and then you clear the airways and get to CPR. There is a chance that CPR may keep them going long enough but the odds are they will die. Just because you were they doing CPR does not make it your fault that they die. Similarly it sounds like most of the places Ramsey features are knackered, maybe in a few cases they will pull through but mostly they will die, that does not necessarily make it Ramsey's fault. Bad or doomed restraunts have a vibe. I don't know if I could pin it down to any one thing ( besides excessive pastels ) but you can spot Owner Not Caring from a mile away.
Those were kind of rare in the UK version but every single US one was Way Past Saving. I ate at Momma Cherri's back in 2003 when picking up a degree from Sussex.
For an American with southern roots, it was deeply satisfying to get some decent fried chicken and cornbread (even if it was a just a little bit off from the standard prep) in the UK. A quick look at the list of restaurants and their outcomes posted above indicates that around 40% of the restaurants survive. Given that all these places are on the verge of closing when he shows up, I would say that's a pretty good average. He can only do so much to change owners' behavior. People resist personal change mightily. I would totally go to there. posted by Artw at 9:51 AM on January 22, 2012.
My favorite episode was the UK "Campaign for Real Gravy". It just felt like everyone was trying really hard to save it. They sold the restaurant/pub but opened another one and it's still going, complete with the campaign. The same thing happens with Food Network's Restaurant Impossible -- go read the reviews for the show's restaurants and almost every time people say it's just as bad or worse. Yeah I prefer the off-brand Restaurant Impossible. The star is a bit shouty, but he's still much nicer than Ramsey, and very sensible. That show picks truly awful places, so almost always makes a big improvement.
Live by the fword, die by the fword. okay it's not quite the same series but it's still all about leatherface. The fact is restaurants fail all the time -- something like 80% fail in the first year.
And even established places reach their best-before data eventually. In fact, it can be harder for a well-loved, established place to turn it around. Once you piss of your real regulars enough, and by the same token turn away any new blood, you are doomed. The restaurant biz doesn't operate by any normal rules of trade. Ramsay is a dick, but probably all he did was put of the inevitable. posted by clvrmnky at 10:14 AM on January 22, 2012. I moved away from Austin in 2003.
I don't recognize the building that El Greco is (was) in. Is it roughly near Changos but on the other side of the street. Yeah, it was in the back of a newer condo complex with ground-floor retail. Mangia also moved into that building, and closed within a year or so -- despite being popular and having a visible street-side space. Stuff around campus comes and goes all the time. The Giant Squid. " My mother and I own a small lunch-counter-y place in an office building.
Due to space constraints, a brutal lease, and a flagging market for commercial office tenants, we've had a rough last couple of years (which we are, thankfully pulling out of). Every now and then, I watch Ramsay and think to myself It would be totally awesome if he'd swoop in and do the 'treatment' for us. But, then I realize how almost every restaurant his production team picks for him to 'save' has godawful 'fundamentals'. Usually, they're half a million in debt, the owners are never present, they've got horrible cost controls, loyalty to bad people and bad vendors, and all too frequently, the owners love the 'idea' and glamour/prestige of owning a restaurant, but not the practice. I've been running a place and kept it in the black for 25 solid months now, and will be debt-free on it by the end of this year. All I really want Ramsay for is a snazzy remodel (as I'm terrible with the whole 'decoration' thing).
". This is the best thing about this thread. That's great to hear, The Giant Squid. Good luck. From that list of closings (fascinating) - Downcity in Providence, RI is also closed.
The UK version of this show is much easier to watch, not nearly as dramatic or seemingly scripted as the US version. US reality TV has always seemed a lot more superficial and cynical than UK reality TV. It's choppily edited, scripted for drama, constantly repeated and recapped, events are rearranged and placed out of sequence etc. But UK TV is becoming that way as well, especially with the success of The Hills and Jersey Shore clones such as TOWIE, Geordie Shore and Made in Chelsea. It's a horrible trend to watch. The most cynical piece of TV I've seen for a long time is the UK version of 'The Biggest Loser', which is just hateful and irresponsible from start to finish.
From the article it sounds like they weren't following the menu. Ramsey wouldn't have told them to cut corners or make canned shit.