Chef Robert Irvine is headed to New Kensington, Pa. to ambush Stacey, the owner of Stella's Dine-Inn Restaurant. Stacey's daughter reached out after witnessing constant, out-of-control fighting between her mother, who is desperate to keep the restaurant going in her late husband's memory, and her brother, Dom, who serves as the main cook. Robert must work hard to help this family from being torn apart while also facing design struggles with the very large restaurant space.
Chef Robert Irvine heads to Starlite Restaurant and Pizza in West Orange, N.J. after receiving a plea from the owner Patty's son. Patty has worked there since she was 13 years old and considers it home, but hasn't made a profit in almost ten years despite cashing in her retirement and mortgaging her home. When Robert arrives, he finds an extremely dirty kitchen and an old-school staff that is completely unwilling to change, including Patty herself. Will Robert be able to return this beloved restaurant to its former glory, or will the Starlite shine no more?
Chef Robert travels to Douglas, Mich., to save the Kalico Kitchen and longtime owner Catherine. Catherine is boisterous and blunt, with a vocabulary so colorful that it's turning the staff against her ... including her own son, Donny. Despite all the yelling, cursing and put downs, the staff hasn't been whipped into shape -- the restaurant is failing, the food is subpar and the kitchen is absolutely filthy! Robert has just two days to get the place cleaned up, the staff back on track and the owner to shape up.
For his next mission, Chef Robert Irvine responds to a call from Tamara, whose mother Raquel owns De Rican Chef in Virginia Beach, Va. Raquel wanted a restaurant that specialized in authentic Puerto Rican food and expanded her business with help from her son, Reuben, but they are barely making a profit and their relationship is suffering. As Robert tries to get to the bottom of their problems, Raquel drops a bombshell about why she has lost her passion, leading Robert to try to heal the family and restore Raquel's love for her special piece of home.
Chef Robert makes his way to Edible's Restaurant & Pub in Horsham, Pa., to find a 26-year-old family restaurant suffering from a complete lack of inspiration and motivation. In order to fix this restaurant, Robert must spend precious time letting the family air their grievances and motivate them to take responsibility for their restaurant before he can tackle the inedible menu, dirty kitchen and drab decor.
Marie's at Ummat Cafe poses many challenges for Chef Robert Irvine. Situated next to Atlanta's oldest Mosque, many potential customers falsely think that the restaurant is strictly for Muslims, owner Jaliwa's experience in catering has not translated into running a restaurant and the design team has a fight that puts the entire restaurant makeover in jeopardy.
A few years ago, Keith and Stephanie's restaurant, Mama E's Wings & Waffles restaurant in Oklahoma City, was thriving and was featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. But a failed attempt at opening a second location put a strain on their finances -- and their marriage. Chef Robert Irvine must get this volatile couple communicating again if he's going to be able to save their restaurant.
Chef Robert Irvine receives a heartbreaking plea from Megan, who owns the BFE Bar and Grill in Waynesboro, Ga. with her husband, Mike. The restaurant is deep in debt and their family is suffering, but when Robert shows up, he also finds out that the state suspended their liquor license for not paying their taxes. Robert quickly learns he will have to pick and choose what to fix: their reputation is in the dumps, they're understaffed, and food service is painfully slow. It's a fight to the finish as he desperately tries to fix as much as he can and the owners try to pay back their taxes before the grand reopening.
Chef Robert Irvine may have met his match when he encounters the volatile owners of Mike LaSusa's Italian Restaurant in Oak Creek, Wis. Every time Patrick, Mary and their son, Mike, get together, they fight about everything from the food to serve to the artwork to hang on the wall. The two days Robert has for the renovation may not be enough time to turn this restaurant and family around, especially when one of the owners walks out and never returns.
When Chef Robert Irvine talks to the staff at Country Cow Restaurant and Bar in Campton, N.H., he hears horror stories of the co-owners, a divorced couple, throwing pans in the kitchen and cursing throughout the dining room. But everyone is on their best behavior when Robert shows up, forcing Robert to consult the behind-the-scenes footage to uncover all the problems that needed to be fixed.
The Windsor 75 in Windsor, Conn., is just seven years old, but is filled with problems -- including an outdated decor, five different menus and an overworked staff -- but owner George can't get out of his own way to fix anything. George's wife and kids are fed up with the restaurant and George's stubborn ways. Can Chef Robert Irvine bring George and the restaurant out of the past in only two days?
Chef Robert Irvine is in the resort town of South Padre Island, Texas, to help the owners of the Padre Rita Grill. This four-year-old business features both food and music, but they're not doing either very well. Robert will have to overhaul the tacky tiki bar decor and get the owners to focus on the bottom line to make life at the Padre Rita Grill paradise.
When Chef Robert Irvine surprises unsuspecting restaurant owners and announces he's there to save their failing business, anything can happen. With no time to prepare for his arrival, these owners often have very honest reactions, from shock to happiness to anger. Robert revisits some of these memorable ambushes, including Lake Arrowhead Sports Grill, Cape Horn Family Restaurant and La Casa Bianca. Plus, get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how the surprise takeovers are set up and executed, and what went wrong along the way!
Chef Robert Irvine has seen a lot of desperate restaurants, but Zoog's Caveman Cookin' in Port Hadlock, Wash., may just be the worst. At just two years old, it's repulsively dirty and the owner has lost his passion, leaving his inexperienced daughter to run the place. And if this wasn't enough of a challenge for Robert to overcome, the government shows up, threatening to close the doors of the restaurant.
Five years ago, Lisette and Steve got married, blending their families, and purchased the Mill Creek BBQ Restaurant in Redlands, Calif., modeling it after her father's established nearby restaurant. Instead of the faster, more casual version of her father's restaurant, Chef Robert Irvine finds some of the most tasteless barbecue and inefficient management he's ever come across. He'll have just two days to change the barbecue from boring to bold, get Steve to regain his mojo and find a way to repair the severely broken relationship between Lisette and her 21-year-old daughter.
Emotions explode when Chef Robert Irvine steps in to save Bumbinos Italian Ristorante in Orange City, Fla. The yelling first comes from owners Terry, her son Willie and her friend Cappy, whose animosity is killing their business. Once Robert notices some of their most egregious mistakes -- including firing most of the staff and foolishly switching cooking roles -- then he starts to yell. Robert must get above the noise to rebuild the relationships and sort out the roles of the restaurant for Bumbinos to stay open.
In Plains, Mont., Chef Robert Irvine may have met one of the most clueless owners he's encountered at Heather's Country Kitchen. In the three years since the former stay-at-home mom impulsively purchased her namesake restaurant, she seemingly hasn't picked up much at all. In the course of two days, Robert has to manage the very high food and labor costs and also get Heather to embrace working with her headstrong daughters.
The JuJu Bag in New Orleans is half cafe and half barber salon, and both are in desperate need of makeovers. Chef Robert Irvine has his hands full, with a cafe that looks like a cluttered living room, a kitchen without any commercial equipment, an owner who is stubborn despite her inexperience, and to top it all off -- a barbershop renovation!