Restaurant Revisited: University Grill

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At the University Grill in Burlington, N.C., Robert Irvine faced three co-owners who refused to get along. Siblings Eleni, George and Manny opened the restaurant five years ago to help provide for their retired parents, but they were facing failure when Restaurant: Impossible came along to help. We checked in with the siblings after their restaurant’s makeover to see how business is going.

A few months after Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team arrived on the scene, sales at the University Grill are up 15 percent. “Everyone loves the new decor,” says Eleni.

Salmon is the most popular dish on the new menu. Robert promised that if they switched from frozen to fresh salmon, it would be a big seller. He was right.

The owners are working on establishing formal guidelines and training for the staff. Local university students are helping them launch a new website.

Eleni is still running the restaurant, though George helps out some of the time. She has mostly kept up her promise to stay out of the kitchen, but she pitches in when they are busy or during breakfast. She is able to take one day off a week, as well as a couple of nights.

Eleni has brought on a new hostess and new servers and is now in the process of hiring an additional chef: “We’re still looking for that perfect match,” she says.

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