Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Restaurant Impossible - Windseeker Update

Windseeker Dalles Oregon Restaurant Impossible
Tonight on Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine is going to the Windseeker Restaurant in Dalles, Oregon to help the owner Vita try to turn the restaurant around.   The restaurant is suffering from bad publicity, negative word-of-mouth, and a hard to find location.  As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about the Windseeker to get an idea of how the restaurant is doing since Robert Irvine visited, and here is what I found (note - all reviews and comments are post Restaurant: Impossible):


The Positive Reviews:

  • "We went in for the grand opening after the Restaurant Impossible crew were done remodeling and updating the dinner menu and we could not have been happier with the changes! The dining room is lovely and now matches the gorgeous river view and the gardens....Quite frankly we are all anticipating our next meal there!"
  • "Went to the wind seeker yesterday as we heard it had a make over. The restaurant side is beautiful. Warm, cozy, elegant, right on the river. The new menu is upscale and good....Quality of food good, fresh, different."
  • "Their dinners are 200% better than they were a couple of years ago when I ate their and their decor now matches their view. The new menu prices seemed really reasonable to us and we will be back in a week or so to try something else. I think this is the best place in town for dinner now and I hope it stays that way!
  • Overall, it was the BEST restaurant I've eaten at in The Dalles!"
  • "The wait staff were very helpful. We would go again in a heartbeat. We are considering eating their all you can eat sunday brunch this morning."
  • "We attended their grand opening and tried 3 different entrees and each one was delicious and very reasonably priced I thought. If you are traveling through the gorge it is worth it to make it a destination on your way." 

The Negative Reviews:
  • "Kind of in a strange neighborhood (next to huge grain bins), but this is a small historic out west town and you gotta dig that :-)"
  • "Food was plentiful although not remarkable in any way. But we had a beautiful evening on the river bank."

Conclusion:

The reviews after the makeover were overwhelmingly positive, and it was hard to find anything negative said about the Windseeker.  Even before the Restaurant: Impossible visit, many of the reviews for the Windseeker were 5-star, so it definitely didn't look as bad as past restaurants have before the makeover.  People did complain about the interior before the makeover, and the Windseeker even repainted in 2010, but I guess the diners didn't like that paint job either.  Everyone seems to love the view over the river and the gardens, but maybe the main reason they were struggling was the hard-to-find location.

One thing I did notice in the Google reviews from the past was that people were referring to meth activity there.  Saying thing such as "this is basically a place for meth dealing. bad crowd. i would avoid it." and "dirty and full of tweakers!!!" and "Colloquially known as the Methseeker."  Maybe that was some of the negative publicity and bad word-of-mouth the owner was referring to?  Perhaps a local can shed more light on this.

Also, there is an adjoining bar next to the Windseeker that the Restaurant: Impossible crew did not renovate while they were there.  Maybe this was the source of the above Google reviews.


Reviews from Urbanspoon, Yelp, Tripadvisor, and Google

UPDATE -  Patty says that “Business is up by $30,000″ when comparing the year-over-year numbers, but the cost of food and wages has increased as well.  Also, since their Restaurant: Impossible experience, the staff has not borrowed any money from the restaurant.


UPDATE 11/2013 - The Windseeker is listed for sale with the current asking price of $940,000 or $995,000 if you want the equipment with the restaurant.

24 comments:

  1. We ate there several weeks after the make over....I've lived in the Dalles since 1975 and I still had a hard time finding the right road to drive down into it. My husband's steak was good. My fish was good, but I bet I didn't have a 4 oz portion...(I'll ask next time) My real complaint was the wait staff. It wasn't busy and we had to wait almost 15 min. to get a menu, then another 10 or so for the waitress to take our order-that's when I ordered wine...dinner came quite a while later and then NO ONE came to check on us until we got the check...My Husband would have liked some steak sauce. 

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  2. I frew up in The Dalles, OR and the Windseeker started out as a great restaurant.  I wouldn't say it is hard to find, as any local would know exactly where it is at.  There is a huge Google complex, rodeo grounds and it's only like a block off on of the main drags.  As Meth started to really hit the town hard it was known as the "Windtweeker" because everyone knew the bar there was there you could score and tweekers hung out.  It's unfortunate because the restaurant really suffered from the reputation and crowd that started taking over late night at the bar.

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  3. My wife and I had dinner here a couple of weeks after the renovation, I've lived in The Dalles all my life, and have only eaten here now and again, and never had good food. There was only us and two other couples, in the whole place. The interior was noisy, loud with an echo. To open, Not private. Had the steak, baked potato, but I don't like spinach, asked if there was an alternate substitution,they didn't offer any other vegetable. Menu was small, mostly seafood dishes.. Food was good, service was poor. No bread with dinner, no salad. Went two weeks later for Sunday brunch. What lousy food they had for a buffet, cold tasteless and no seasoning. Pretty view, but much the same as it was before the make over. Will not be going back

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  4. The name of the city is The Dalles, Oregon, two words. NOT Dalles or Dallas, Oregon which is another city in the Willamette Valley in Western Oregon.

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  5. Does anyone know the type of floor they put down?  Trying to find this info for my husband

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  6. Funny... just watched the epidsode and though no specific drug was mentioned, I thought "meth" right off the bat with the daughter. Not judgment so much as unfortunate past experience. This is only my opinion, but I don't think she's done with it based on the way she was acting. I hope I'm wrong!

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  7. I believe in the show they said it was a commercial linoleum. I don't recall any other detail. Hope this helps.

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  8. Amen to that.

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  9. I really enjoy the restraunt impossible series but why do I have to waste my time going to foodnetwork.com/ri to see how the resturant is doing weeks later?                                      
    I like it when you show the progress of the restaurant on the screen at the end of the show.

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  10. Contact Gary Denney Floor Coverings. They did the flooring.

    Gary, Wendy or Jordan could tell you...

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  11. Loved the view there.....they really need a grip of the staff......need to offer bread and salad before meal....not sure if I have heard of a restaurant that didn't.... love the show and Robert!

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  12. Naturcor vinyl by IVC. Probably Natural Granduer or Natural Splendor. You can find it at any Flooring America store.

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  13. I found this episode to be very disappointing.  The mother was out right rude and condescending to her daughter and even a blind person could see that Patty has become the replacement daughter.  One reason we enjoy watching the show is seeing how Robert brings the families back together; yet in this episode the daughter wasn't even involved in the initial reveal.  Talk about making the statement she's second rate.

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  14. As a chef to date. If you are trying to build out of a hole offering free extras i.e. bread or salad is one of the quickest ways to bury you more. Being a steak/seafood restaurant though should have factored cost for such service.

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  15. Totally agree. Follow up is a big missing part of this otherwise great and helpful program to anyone in food service. The basic common sence issues are missed so often by operators. But going back once a month for a ten minute update, maybe using the Undercover crew,at 4 or 5 past shows would be facinating and helpful to operators, and great TV. And they can't have all fallen back into those embarrassing bad habits.

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  16. This mother and daughter are in turmoil.  It was quite evident from the start.  Drugs?  Maybe.  Nothing Robert Irvine could do could put them back together.  They need professional help.  This restaurant has potentional, but not until mother gets her act together.  She needs to be a leader and quit passifying her employees by loaning them money - that's tabeau.   One year, if not sooner, this restaurant will be back where it was before R. Irvine stepped in.  Too bad.

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  17. My boyfriend had seen the Windseeker on Restaurant Impossible. We were driving from east Washington to Portland last week and stopped in on a Friday night. There was one other large party and us in the restaurant around 8pm. The female server was very nice and helpful the entire time. My boyfriend and I shared the crab cake. It was breaded nicely and not greasy with a good amount of crab. The lobster sauce underneath the crab cake was good too. 

    For our main courses, we ordered the salmon and short ribs. The salmon was nicely cooked. The short ribs on the other hand did not turn out so well. The plate arrived with a large portion of meat on slices of cheese and drowning in a sauce. While the meat did easily separate, it was not easy to chew and quite tough. I have never been served short ribs and cheese and found that to be a very odd combination. The sauce was over served and way too salty. I like my food on the salty side but each bite was worse than the one before. The saving joy in the dish were the sauteed mushrooms. Service/ambience: 5 stars--Salmon: 4 stars--Short ribs: 2 stars. I can say I would come back here for dinner, maybe for brunch on another trip as the restaurant setting provided an excellent view of the Columbia River.

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  18. It some times takes "tough love" in family matters. There have been so many good businesses taken over by the sons/daughters or other family, and within a short time have ran them into the ground. It's not just about providing for the son or daughter, it is making sure to provide jobs for the personell working for you as well and those suppliers needed to run the business. If a person has a high risk of destroying your business, no matter who they are, a smart business person doesn't take the risk of placing that person in charge. Its like Robert said, you have to be tough to survive.

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  19. Julianna PennyfeatherAugust 27, 2013 at 3:16 AM

    Today,August 26,2013, my friend and I walked into this restaurant. First word that came to my head was ghosttown. Seriously.it was dead silence other than low conversation from the customers ast three tables that were occupied. The empty tables were just that no place settings none were set. Only salt and pepper shakers and tubs of sugar on them. It felt as if the staff was not expecting anyone. Then no hostess or sign to say if we sat ourself of should wait to be seated. Then a gal came out from the serving area ignored us took something to the customer came back ignored us again and went to hide in the service area. Finally she came out smiled told us point blank to go find a table. She followed us gave us the menu. A bit later, she came and took our order. My order seafood fettuchini was ok the sauce was very watery and not mixed well some tasted good while other of it was bland. My friends monte cristo was soggy looking and over done. We were not given a full set of silverware. I needed a knife and spoon and my friend needed a spoon we felt like we did not have to ask for it. After the fact as we were driving out of the parking lot i remember i never got the garlic toast with my seafood fettuchini that came with it. Well the gal seem to want to hid as she didnt ask us or the others if they were ok or needed anything. she never showed her face for sometime. We had ice tea which was never felt. When we were finished we waited about 20 minutes still no waitress so we got up went to the hostess counter to pay. She finaly stuck her nose out to see us there she rang us up and slaped the ticket in front of me which was so small i could not read it with my poor eye sight. yes she slaped it down on the counter. I also enquired about the guy who bbqs outside she said they ahd discontinued that. I never walked out of a restautant this bad. Really? no place setings on the table? no asking the customer if they needed anything? forgetting a part of a customer's meal. oh use lets not leave out the toil handle that sprays water when you press it down. We will not be coming back

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  20. Julianna PennyfeatherAugust 27, 2013 at 3:39 AM

    To make this short, my friend and i stopped by the Windseeker today August 26th, which is a three hour ride. I found the reastaurant like a ghost town not counting the conversation from the customers amongs themselves. No staff, we waited, no sign that seat ourselves or wait. We noticed the empty tables all of them with no place settings, felt like they were not expecting customers. We never even got a complete set of silverware just forks and a napkin. I ordered seafood fettuchini it was watery and bit on the bland side. My friend ordered a monte christo which looked soggy and over done. food was hot. waitress never checked back with us. we waited a long time for a check yet none came had to go to the hostesss stand where there was no one and wait. the gal finally came rang us up and slaped the ticket on the counter for to read with my poor eye sight. i had my friend read it. After the fact, I realized she never gave me the garlic tst that came with the meal. This is the worst case of neglect for customers. Lets add the toilet handle that when pressed sprays water. The bbq guy Robert set up was discontinued we were told. We will not be back

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  21. Julianna PennyfeatherAugust 27, 2013 at 3:46 AM

    why does my comment keep disappearing. We will make this really short. not much service, poor food, no silverware just a fork we were given. food was over done or soggy as in the case of my friends monte cristo and not much taste I was never given or offered the garlic toast that came with the watery seafood fettuchini. lots of empty tables with no place settings. Waitress/hostess hid behind the serving area a lot never came back to check on customers much and definitely not on us. Waited long time for the check, never came , got up, went to the hostess counter where there was no one waited yet more, then the waitress came out rang the meals up and slapped the ticket in front of me on the counter which was too small of font for me to read. i never walked in or out of a restaurant before ever with the word ghost town in my head but that was no place settings tells me that they are not expecting customers. oh well we will not be back nor recommend this restaurant.

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  22. Patty left the Windseeker and moved to Florida. Rumor has it, that The Windseeker is for sale. Asking price: 1 million

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  23. I'm watching now (12/14/13) What a shame, it seems it did well for a few months and then they went back to old ways and beyond.

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  24. I totally agree! If all of these shows are so confident in their ability to truly help these places than why don't they have one show per season dedicated to "follow up"? Why don't they have a status report on their website? Often times the one or two sentences at the conclusion of the episode are vague or don't speak to the lasting affects of the show's changes.
    There are some shows that follow-up on other networks.

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