"Restaurant: Impossible"Wed., Aug. 24, 10 p.m., on the Food NetworkWhen "Restaurant: Impossible"'s Chef Robert Irvine shows up at the troubled little Ellington restaurant Pastori’s, he sets right out prepping the frumpy, family-owned place for extreme making over. He does all the things you’ve come to expect from a reality-TV maker-over: He humiliates and shames his subjects, tears apart their dining and banquet rooms, tackles complicated inter-family issues relating to respect and communication, then puts everything back together again in two days and with $10,000.
Bob Irvine takes a hard line with the Savvidis family, all of whom -- two sons, a daughter and Mom and Dad -- wait tables and work in the kitchen. The oldest Savvidis has been giving his dad a real tough time -- not showing up to work, giving Papa Savvidis lip, getting cocky in the kitchen. Dad’s got his own problems with anger management (he’s “prone to rage,” says his wife, who intercepts customer complaints in order to shield Pastori’s clientele -- and maybe herself -- from Mr. Savvidis’ chronic fury), and stress levels are high over the restaurant’s steady slip into the red. Mrs. Savvidis says Pastori’s is losing $8,000 a month, and will surely close down within the year if it keeps heading that way.
So Bob Irvine, looking like a sloth if sloths had humongous biceps, barks harshly at the Savvidises, in that “I’m gonna be straight with you” way that sounds even straighter with a British accent (Irvine’s from Wiltshire), pointing out food-safety hazards in the kitchen, logistical problems with the 300-item menu, pride issues between father and son, and you-can’t-be-serious! concerns with the restaurant’s decor. Pastori’s doesn’t seem to have changed its carpeting since it opened in the ’80s, the ceiling’s all water damaged and the booths are fugly, etc.
The abuse/tough love give way, of course, to solutions. Irvine’s team succeed in transforming the rundown, homely Pastori’s into an upper-scale, modern-looking place, in an impressive (if exhausting) two days and $10K. Irvine helps the Savvidises edit and professionalize the menu, establish food safety in the kitchen and, with that twist of reality-TV magic, seems to help work out a compromise between feuding father and son.
The Savvidises weep with happiness and hopefulness when they get to see their new digs, and, judging by their website and Facebook account today (the makeover was filmed this past May), they’re still proud of and excited about their new look. No doubt, being on TV will bump up their business. Hopefully for a while.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun