November 13, 2008 09:13 PM by Lisa Stauber
Kitchen Nightmares features it’s first Mexican restaurant in this episode. Fiesta Sunrise is located in New York, and is owned by a couple who have already bankrupted another Mexican joint. Their daughter Patti put up all the money for this one, but her stepfather Vic is in control. “It turned out to be a disaster,” Patti says. The restaurant’s empty, but Vic won’t allow any changes to be made.
Patti hates the decor. “It looks like Tijuana threw up in here,” she says. Her mother hates that her little girl has ruined her credit and strained her marriage for the restaurant. “I resent my mother,” Patti says. “She put her husband before me.”
The awning over the restaurant says “Grill 303″, but that’s just because the owners haven’t bothered to change the sign out front. There’s a giant vat of complimentary margaritas in the front of the restaurant, and Ramsay thinks it’s a little strong. Fiesta Sunrise seats 120, but only two people have shown up for lunch. There’s a sticker on his menu, and when Ramsay peels it off, he finds the logo of the old, failed restaurant. Vic’s moved the menu over to a new place, but has the same food and the same chef.
“It looks like someone’s been sick on my plate,” Ramsay says about his burrito. The beef is dry and difficult to swallow. The rice is old and hard, and Vic tells Gordon it was cooked yesterday. “Absolutely dreadful,” Ramsay says. A drink arrives, and the glass has the logo of the old failed restaurant also.
Yolanda and Patti tell Ramsay that they are the funding of the restaurant, and Vic ruins it. The restaurant needs to bring in $90,000 a month, and their losing half a million dollars a year. They’re $850,000 in debt and it’s all riding on Patti who put her house up and borrowed from her father-in-law in order to get the place started.
Ramsay heads into the kitchen for an inspection. “Wow, look at the size of this kitchen!” he says. It’s big, but it’s not clean. Old food is mixed with new food, and the staff can’t tell the difference. Meanwhile, in the dining room, even the free tortilla chips are being sent back to the kitchen. “They tasts like cardboard,” a girl says. The waiter dumps the chips back into the bin to be served again.
Ramsay finds herbs that expired 5 months ago, and a tub of rancid grease. There is a raw piece of fish that stinks – and is being served to customers as they speak. The meat is wrapped in foil, and it’s old and rotting. “A hungry cat would walk away from that,” he says.
Ramsay goes into the walk in cooler and finds shelves full of nasty food. “Are you stupid?!” Ramsay asks Vic. “You are a walking disaster.” The kitchen is overstaffed and the food is spoiled. Ramsay starts yelling at Vic, challenging him to show the customers the food. Ramsay carries the vat of beans out into the dining room, announcing that the restaurant is closed. He tells the diners that their food is free and orders a man to drop his food without eating another bite.
Gordon takes Yolanda, the wife and mother, aside for a chat. “You’ve destroyed your daughter’s credit,” he says. “Do you love Vic?” he asks her. Yolanda reveals that their marriage is rocky, and she would choose her daughter over her husband. Patti and her husband Don talk to Ramsay, too. “He’s really angry at me for getting involved,” Patti says. Ramsay asks if Don is willing to get more involved, and if Patti is ready to take more control. Vic sees Ramsay talking to Don and he’s furious. “It’s nothing to do with the business,” Vic says.
Vic and Don start fighting. “I pay my bills, pal,” Don says. “I pay your bills, too!” He dumps the table over and gets in Vic’s face while Ramsay tries to calm everyone down. Ramsay takes Vic outside to talk, and Patti’s upset, thinking her husband is going to be angry with her again.
While Ramsay goes into the kitchen to think about how to turn things around, he spots a cockroach on the sink. He brings the family into the kitchen to show them the bugs crawling all over the dishes. Vic, the manager, and the four kitchen staff members knew about it but just ignored it. “You’re so stupid,” Yolanda tells Vic. Ramsay takes him outside to yell. He tells Vic to get the guys cleaning.
Vic breaks down and starts crying. He doesn’t think the restaurant is going to make it, and he apologizes to Patti. Ramsay returns and says they’ll be ready to open in two hours. He wants to see a dinner service so he can help. He’s already changed the menu to fresh food.
There’s a problem. The rice is overcooked. “We’ve got four chefs on the line, and not one of them can cook rice!” He puts Yolanda to work cooking rice. The dining room is getting restless. One table of six got half their food and finished it, while the other half of the party is still starving. Ramsay tells Vic he’s got to get rid of the useless kitchen staff, as patrons walk out without paying.
Turning It Around
“I am going to start taking drastic measures,” Ramsay says. He’s going back to the city to think of how to help the restaurant. He’s bringing in an expert, who owns the best Mexican restaurant in New York City. Julieta will consult, but only since Ramsay asked her. The design team has gone through and gotten rid of the touristy clutter.
Ramsay’s printed up new menus. Julieta is training the kitchen staff, and she runs a tight ship. “You run it,” Ramsay says. “I’ll be watching!” The diners love the guacamole adn the chips are fresh. Julieta thinks the staff can be saved, if someone strong is in charge. A plate comes back cold. Julieta instructs her chefs to make a new one in 20 seconds, and they jump to work. Ramsay finds out they burned the nachos and wonders if the restaurant can be saved.
Vic steps up to take charge, and he’s running the kitchen well. The patrons like the food, and Vic is enjoying being the manager for once. The mayor of the town has shown up, and Patti’s nervous. They order one of each appetizer, and the mayor loves the food. “I’m coming back tomorrow,” he says.
“You were great!” Ramsay tells Vic. He tells the ladies to stay involved and work together as a team, and maybe their restaurant will make it. Ramsay also shows them a new awning with the correct name on it, and Yolanda is impressed.
Photos courtesy Fox.