For years, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has been helping struggling restaurants revisit their business models on his television show “Kitchen Nightmares.” One of his signature moves is a mid-episode restaurant renovation.
Typically this part of the show is a tear-jerking moment where the entire restaurant staff unites under a new roof. But, according to BuzzFeed, this was not in the case for owner Adele at the Junction restaurant in New Jersey.
In May 2010, Gordon’s team visited the then-named Flamingo restaurant. The restaurant was a family-owned establishment inside of a defunct train station.
A clip from the episode was recently uploaded by “Kitchen Nightmares” on YouTube where it has since accumulated nearly one million views.
The video shows that before the renovation, the restaurant was decorated to match its tropical theme.Screenshot/Kitchen Nightmares
Gordon renovated it to open up space and sanded down the tables to brighten up the colors.Screenshot/Kitchen Nightmares
He also renamed the restaurant as The Junction to match the history of the building.
Many of the staff members, including owner Cheryl Cespi, loved the new look and theme. She couldn’t believe how different the restaurant looked without the partition:
“It’s much more casual. I’m excited about the Junction.”
But her mother and co-owner, Adele, was not pleased.Screenshot/Kitchen Nightmares
She told Gordon that she hated the renovations and his choice of the blue chairs:
“It’s ugly. I want to throw up. I hate it. Hate it, hate it, hate it […] I just like what we had before. This is a drastic change.”
Apparently, she wasn’t alone in her criticism.
Many other people posted on social media that this was likely Gordon’s worst restaurant remodel.
Others sided with daughter Cheryl and thought the streamlined look was much more open:
But Adele was willing to look past the renovation and try the menu choices Gordon had picked out.
After announcing the slimmer, modern American menu, it was obvious that Adele was not on the same page as the rest of the team. She hated Gordon’s salmon dish:
“I hate the salmon. It tastes like fish.”
Gordon told her it was time to try something new:
“Think about your customers. It’s not for you to sit and enjoy. This is for you to run as a business.”
When Gordon went back to revisit the restaurant in November 2010, the Lehigh Valley Live reports, the family had done away with the blue chairs but kept many of the other renovations.
Adele told the publication that she missed the tropical-themed restaurant:
“We love Flamangos. I still don’t understand why it didn’t fly here.”
According to Yelp reviews, the restaurant was doing well after the remodel but never picked up enough steam. One reviewer wrote:
The owners of the restaurant are extremely nice people. It is a daughter and her parents who own and run the restaurant. We went on a week night when things were a little slow and felt as though I was having dinner with a family. What a nice bunch of people […] I really hope the restaurant continues to do well because they couldn’t have made us feel more welcome. After eating there, I watched the episode of the show on Hulu and they were all represented pretty accurately it seemed.
Independent Journal Review reached out to Cheryl Cespi for comment but had not received a response at the time of publication.
It appears that even though the episode aired more than seven years ago, viewers were still surprised by the mom’s reaction to the renovation and piqued by the fact that the New Jersey restaurant disliked Gordon Ramsey’s renovation.