Restaurant Ambush Revisited: Son Sneak Attack at Lake Arrowhead Sports Grill
Konner's parents may not have known that their son was reaching out to Robert Irvine, but they soon learned just what he'd done when Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team stormed the couple's five-year-old eatery, Lake Arrowhead Sports Grill in Blue Jay, Calif., in an unexpected ambush. Husband-and-wife owners Keith and Karen had seen significant declines in their business recently, so much so that Konner looked to Food Network's own restaurant renovator to transform the restaurant and reinvigorate his parents and their relationship. Read on below to hear from Karen about how Lake Arrowhead is faring these days, a few months after Robert and his team completed their mission.
"We have had really good feedback from our regulars with all the changes visually and with the menu," Karen says of locals' reaction to the new Lake Arrowhead. "We scaled back our menu from four pages to one (two-sided), which has really helped our kitchen to streamline and get food out quicker with more consistency." She adds that the restaurant has been welcoming "a lot more new faces," as "regulars are bringing new people to show us off and to tell about the show."
Karen says she was happy to have Robert's surprise entrance play out as it did. "Being ambushed was a brilliant way to go. It kept us from being able to prepare or put up any emotional walls. We were caught in our true nature in the business, if that makes sense," she explains. While she notes the difficulty in revealing so much about her personal life, she admits, "This is where Robert made the greatest impact."
And Karen explains of herself: "One of the things I learned from Robert was how much of an enabler I am. If I want Keith to step up, then I need to hand over more responsibilities to him and let him fail, succeed, learn and grow. That is an area that I have to daily work on, being a control freak." Karen adds that these days Keith has begun to be more engaged with the business, as he's "helping more with the day to day," she says. "He is taking over the daily money bags, stepping into roles such as dishwasher or busser when needed, which he never did before. He's now asking what more he can do to help, which is huge in just the asking."
Looking ahead, Karen explained, "We did just sign a new lease, so we plan on being around for a while," and she adds that she has Robert and his team to thank for that plan for the future. "The only reason I was able to sign that new lease is because Robert, Restaurant: Impossible and the amazing crew that they have ... gave me the courage and the confidence that Keith and I can be successful in our marriage first and then the business."