October 04, 2007 07:06 AM by Joe Blackmon
Written by Jennifer Brown. Gordon fixes up a bungling manager at The Mixing Bowl Eatery in Bellmore, New York. The Mixing Bowl is headed down the tubes after 10 years in
business. The owner, shy, baby-faced Billy, and his stoic wife, Lisa,
are barely getting along. The waitresses are bored and depressed. And
self-proclaimed “Mixing Bowl Mike,” the manager, doesn’t seem to be
interested in much more than schmoozing, eating, and barking out orders
to his frustrated employees and completely cowed bosses.
They call Mike “hard to get along with,” and before long it’s easy to see why. Mike breaks down in tears when he talks about the restaurant going under. But Lisa’s not crying. “I can’t sacrifice myself and my children for the Mixing Bowl any longer,” she says.
Gordon arrives and wastes no time pinpointing Mike as the weak link, straight away grilling him on his, er,portly stature. Mike makes things worse when he can’t answer questions about the menu and when he insists (to Chef Gordon Ramsey!) that there’s no garlic in a dish that’s clearly swimming in it. Gordon calls Mike a “cockroach,” and goes on to pronounce the crab cakes good, but the rest of it bland and dry. “Either he’s crazy or every customer that ever comes in here is lying to me,” Mike declares. He looks on the verge of tears again.
Later, follow the string of curses and you’ll find Gordon going after Mike again, this time for giving out 50% off coupons (hey, I want one of those!) and then lets loose with a “Bloody hell!” when he sees Mike’s stockpile of expensive, ridiculous advertising signs. Next thing you know, Gordon’s got a wood chipper in the parking lot and is tossing the signs right in.
Sitting down with Billy and Lisa, Gordon holds nothing back, telling Billy he needs to be a better businessman. “You look like a man that’s dying to be put out of his misery,” he says. But Billy holds on to his dream of keeping The Mixing Bowl alive, much to his wife’s chagrin.
Gordon and Billy hit the kitchen together and work on spicing up a new healthy menu. The food looks fantastic! Now all that’s left is to work out the issues in the front of the restaurant (AKA: Mixing Bowl Mike). The waitstaff wastes no time complaining that he does nothing, but takes half the tips anyway and soon it gets ugly. “*ah-ooga!!* unbelievable!” Gordon curses, stepping in. Billy, too, breaks his silence, telling Mike to shape up or ship out. Mike laughs and gets Gordon’s wrath again. Ouch!
The next day, Gordon unveils the restaurant’s makeover. It’s pretty in a nondescript, beige sort of way, and a definite improvement. Grab your hanky, Mike’s crying again. He grabs Gordon for a tense hug.
Next up: Advertisement, and Gordon sets out on foot with the gang to pump up interest in the new and improved Mixing Bowl. They even visit the New York Dragons arena football team and invite them to stop by.
It’s the day of the re-launch and Mike’s stress is taking him down. He’s made a mess of the reservations and then tried to blame it on the poor waitress. He’s barking out orders and popping into the kitchen to put pressure on Billy. He’s dropping drinks and breaking glasses. Gordon screams at him,The Quote of the Night: “Even I’m getting a little *ah-ooga!!* doolally!”
Just as they seem to get a handle on things, The Dragons show up! And – surprise, surprise! – they didn’t get their reservations! Lisa is ticked at Mike, who clearly messed up the biggest table of the night, and Mike loses it. With a packed restaurant full of women and children, he screams, “That’s it! It’s not my fault! I’m pissed off!” (add a little fist-pounding for effect). Gordon tells him to get the *ah-ooga!!* out.
Billy surfaces out of the kitchen for a minute and Gordon presses him and Lisa to give Mike the boot. But Billy, the big softy, decides to ignore Gordon’s advice and give Mike a second chance. Flash to Mike and more tears here. Sniffle sniffle.
Surprisingly, Mike seems to turn it around. He finds a table for The Dragons and the rest of the night goes smoothly. Billy, who’s pumped by the success, declares himself “psyched to go forward,” and even comes out of the kitchen to greet his applauding customers. Flash to Mike. More tears. Sniffle.
fter service, Gordon says his goodbyes, and he’s got a positive feeling about the future of the Mixing Bowl. Then he leaves,Wait. Mike. Tears. Sniffle. Hug. “Bloody hell.” Two months later, the Mixing Bowl continues to thrive and Gordon even sponsored the first ever Mixing Bowl 1-mile run.
Next week on Kitchen Nightmares: Gordon tries to clean up Seascape Inn – the “dirtiest he’s ever seen!”