After featuring many restaurants through the seven-season run of Kitchen Nightmares, from 2007-2014, Chef Gordon Ramsay has seen it all, from owners who are in over their heads, to family issues, severe debt, rotten and moldy food, dated décor, and infestations.
The premise of the show is that he visits a failing restaurant, which asks for his help, and attempts to help them turn things around. He samples the food, checks out the kitchen conditions, speaks to the staff, owners, and community, and tries to figure out what went wrong.
Despite overhauling the look of the venue along with the menu, and providing his expert training, many of the restaurants were just too far gone, or the stubborn owners were too resistant to change, and the restaurants ended up closing shortly after the episode aired, or sometimes even before.
But in some cases, the restaurants have begun to flourish, and remain open to this day. Here are 10 of them that are still very much alive and well.
10 Zayna Flaming Grill
This Redondo Beach, CA restaurant from the seventh season, which aired in 2014, has been thriving since Gordon Ramsay and his team swept in. The restaurant was failing mainly due to discord among the owners, along with sub-par food.
And while there was reportedly a staff shake-up after the episode aired, the restaurant seems to be getting lots of good reviews. However, it was also getting pretty good reviews prior to the show. So chances are that the owners called in Ramsay more to help mediate their internal business issues than anything else.
This New York pizza place located in Denver, CO, was the subject of the first episode in season 7, and it has managed to stay open. Claiming to have the best pizza in Denver, Ramsay’s makeover seemed to have helped them get up with the times, though they continue to use their own secret homemade pizza crust.
Their Facebook page shows an impressive 4.8 out of 5-star rating, with people raving about the delicious food, great service, and hospitality. And their website touts the fact that they had a complete makeover in 2013 by Chef Ramsay and his team that led to everything being made fresh daily, in-house.
8 Mama Maria’s
Featured in season 6, this Brooklyn restaurant, now called Sal’s Pizzeria and Mama Maria’s Restaurant, is still going strong. Established in 1957, when Ramsay visited this Italian restaurant, an ambulance had to be called when a customer started vomiting. Ramsay later found buckets of moldy food gone bad in the storage area and committed to helping these guys turn around.
On re-launch night, things seemed to be looking up. And while small changes have reportedly been made to the menu, the owner kept many of Ramsay’s revised menu items.
7 Ms. Jean’s Southern Cuisine
Located in Wilkinsburg, PA, this restaurant is still open, though it has changed locations. Reviews remain mixed, but the owner and retired teacher Jean Gould was awarded for her years of service to the community by the Mayor.
The biggest issue with this place when Ramsay visited was the attitude: Gould would often get angry at complaining customers, and her staff was also lacking. The food was also bland, overcooked, and/or greasy, Today, reviews suggest that customers love the buffet style and quality and taste of food, though some still suggest that the staff is rude and unwelcoming.
6 Olde Hitching Post Restaurant & Tavern
This restaurant and tavern in Hanson, MA, featured on season 6, boasts average reviews, with some customers saying it is now warm and comforting, while others say it has potential, and praise dishes like the butternut squash ravioli and sandwiches.
Dealing with family conflict and sub-par ingredients, Chef Ramsay had his work cut out for him. But eventually, the owner put faith in his daughter and handed over the reins to her. As of 2018, the reviews are around 3.5 stars, which isn’t bad.
5 Yanni’s Greek Cuisine
This family-run Greek restaurant in Phinney Ridge, WA was in serious debt when Ramsay visited with his team in season 6, with a menu that was in serious need of updating and food quality issues. He found moldy and old meat in the fridge, and shut down the kitchen.
After the revamp, they reportedly kept some of the new dishes, but brought some old favorites back. Today, it’s still going strong, with decent reviews praising the great food and service, though some suggest it’s missing a level of warmth and traditional Greek hospitality.
From season 5, this Montclair, NJ, family-run restaurant fell on hard times when the mother fell into a coma and her son took over the business with no experience. Deep in debt, Ramsay discovered a lengthy menu with more than 100 dishes on it, many of which were bland or too garlicy. With rotten food and cross-contamination discovered in the freezer, he shut down the kitchen.
Today, the restaurant gets mixed-to-positive reviews, and has new chefs. Customers seem to like the ambiance, including the sidewalk seating, but feel the food could still use improvement.
3 Luigi’s D’Italia
This Anaheim, CA Italian restaurant has been open since 1981, run by owner Luigi Catizone, who opened it with the help of his father. But when his uncle stepped in, it caused issues between the two, who were constantly arguing with one another. Plus, Ramsay discovered in his tastings that the ravioli wasn’t fresh and pasta unseasoned.
But slowly after the re-launch, the restaurant began to find its stride again, and has been enjoying steadily rave reviews from customers ever since.
2 Spin-A-Yarn Steakhouse
Featured in season 5, this Fremont, CA-based steakhouse now has decent reviews, though some customers aren’t happy with the high prices.
Attempting to rescue a failing marriage between the owners, due to the issues with the business, Ramsay helped them turn things around and focus on a single cuisine with a drastically slimmed down menu. They continue to bring in customers seeking out their delicious prime rib, though some favorite menu items were resurrected as well. There is also a new head chef, as of 2012.
1 Café Hon
This Baltimore, MD restaurant, featured in season 5 and marked by the giant pink flamingo outside its doors, faced backlash in the community when the owner, who was deemed a bully by staff, trademarked the word “Hon.” With soggy fish and greasy fish and chips, it was in need of a major menu and food quality overhaul.
The owner has since given up the trademark and earned some goodwill with the community. The restaurant also got a second renovation and redecoration in 2013. However, reviews are lacklustre, with customers either praising the food but not the service or calling the food just average.