Sunday, April 21, 2013

Restaurant Impossible - Old World Italian Update

Photo - Grand Strand Happening
Tonight on Restaurant Impossible, Robert Irvine is going to Murrells Inlet, South Carolina to help out the Old World Italian Restaurant.  The owners George and Theresa are apparently facing health and financial problems and do not trust their culinary-trained son, George Jr. to run the restaurant.  As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about the Old World Italian Restaurant 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:
  • "Food was amazing and authentic..fresh and fantastic"
  • "The food still has the same excellent quality although the former restaurant had a larger menu selection. The new edition has a much smaller selection with higher prices."
  • "We have been going here off and on for the 15 years we have lived in the area. The Restaurant Impossible folks came in and did a makeover. They did it right. The place is much brighter and more open. The menu is smaller but seems the choices are broad.....We will go back soon!"
  • "We found it to be great. The decor is very nice. The service was special, our waitress was very attentive, engaging, informative and fun."
  • "We went to see if all had changed for the better....Well the answer is YES IT HAS "
  • "After this place was remodeled by "Restaurant Impossible" it is now very open concept and inviting. I've always liked this place and am glad to see it super busy, although it does make the service slow. The new menu is more than adequate to satisfy."

The Negative Reviews:
  • "Since our last visit the restaurant had their make-over. If they had stopped at the decor, it would have been fine. However, they removed all the items on the menu that made it special. We had been patronizing Old World for 7 years at least once a month and never saw the place less than 3 quarters full. If you didn't have a reservation you had a long wait. Only the name is the same now. I'm sorry to say we won't be back."
  • "While their interior makeover was a great improvement the change in the menu selections and the dishes we ordered were poor at best, as a local there are much better Italian restaurants in the area" 


The reviews before Restaurant Impossible came were actually very good, and many of the people commenting on articles wondered why they needed to come to Old World Italian.  The restaurant was also always crowded and most loved their food, but maybe they got on the show because the interior needed a makeover. 

In one article, there were a lot of comments about the owner treating the regulars much different than the other diners in the restaurant.  The regulars got all of the attention, while normal patrons were treated differently and ignored.  I did see in some reviews that George is no longer on the floor, so maybe they addressed this issue.

Other things of note:
  • They got rid of their popular Early Bird menu.  
  • They are located next to the chain Italian restaurant Carrabba's
  • A hostess said 'business has been brisk since the renovation, with an average of 90 diners on weeknights and 100-plus on weekends.'

Here's a random fact.  George Jr. was apparently on the Food Network in 2003 on a show called Date Plate.  The show had 2 bachelors cook a meal for a bachelorette, and she picked the person to date based upon their food.  George Jr. actually won the episode he was on (link).

Reviews from Yelp and Tripadvisor

UPDATE 9/2013 - Old World Italian has Closed

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  1. I find the one comment interesting -- " never saw the place less
    than 3 quarters full". That seems like it should be a successful restaurant.

  2. I wouldn't read too much into the comment; if she liked the marsala she was obviously a termite. Unless they screwed up the cooking method exclusively for the show...

  3. I'm growing weary of Robert Irvine.

  4. This place has closed-

  5. Literally just posted a story on it... Thanks for the update though!

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