- "We always loved Apontes before and love it even more now. The greens salad was delicious with amazing dressings. The pizza is not exactly the same as before but just as good. The service also was very attentive in spite of how busy the place was. We look forward to trying many more items on the new menu and love the new look. Still great food for a great value"
- "Robert Irvine, Restaurant Impossible, just came in and revamped the interior - it's fresh and airy feeling. We loved the old menu and many of our favorites are on the new menu. We're going to wait patiently for the return of his fantastic eggplant parmesan, though! We'll be back, many times!"
- "Tried the "new" restaurant and the food was as good as ever (best in Cinci) but disappointed that the menu is so limited. Had the new pizza, and while it was absolutely delicious, the price was way too high for pizza....The place looks really pretty now, but the show did not do justice to the menu. There are too many fine dining restaurants in the area already, but there was only one Apontes."
- "As a born n raised Yankee I have loved Apontes. But since Restaurant Impossible has been their they have raised their prices. Two pizzas came to $50!!...They were always busy, and now they have lost at least one family of customers!"
- "This place is a freaking joke now.... Went in on a Friday night and was handed a piece of paper menu which had about 9 items on it, followed up by the waitress telling us the only thing they have for the night is 18 inch pizza they are out of everything else...This use to be a place with great food now it looks like a cheap ikea remodel with a terrible menu not a restaurant impossible remodel... I've been a long time customer but not any more you've lost my business Tony..."
- "I stopped by the recently redone place and they have completely redone the menu, increased the prices, and decreased the quality. The pizza was extremely tough.... I use to love this place and recommended it to all my friends but I will not be going back."
- "Was very disappointed in the recent changes to the menu and the products served. Felt like we were eating cardboard.... Until the owner changes back to what he had, we have made our last visit. The interior was upgraded which is very nice. The product and the menu changes are a disaster."
- "SHAME SHAME SHAME ON RESTAURANT IMPOSSIBLE. The same pizza they used to sell you for $15 is now $25 AND they won't bring it to you anymore AND it takes twice as long to make...This "makeover" is sad. I want my old Aponte's back. As for now, no freaking way. The show should be called "To Kill A Business" or "The Geniuses at Food Network Drove Our Customers Away"."
- "Dear Aponte's, you were cool. I could see altering the menu...dwindling it down a bit. Maybe raising some prices but that's it. Did you even read previous Yelp reviews to see what was being raved about? Totally changed the garlic knots, WHY!? Remember nothing is permanent, you can take what little good advice R.I. had, which was smalling the menu down. Everything else...BRING IT BACK! Let me know when you do that and I'll be back. Until then, I'M OUT!"
- "I don't know if this has changed management/owners, but the owner from past years was from Irvington, NJ and knew how to make a good pizza. This place needs to go back to those roots."
- "Was a nice neighborhood pizza place. Now Ruined by reality TV...Sorry but some things were right the way they were."
From a story on Masonbuzz.com, Tony said business boomed for several weeks after taping, but the restaurant saw a slow-down in July. He’s hoping sales pick up after the episode airs. It was also noted that Tony's wife was the one who submitted the application to get Aponte's Pizzeria on Restaurant Impossible. Tony said, "They wanted to see the reaction between me and Robert"
The reviews of Aponte's Pizzeria before Robert came to visit were very good and many people rave about the pizza calling it the best in town. Pretty much all of the negative reviews are because customers do not like the changes to the pizza, the menu, and the higher prices. Some people have complaints about the new sauce despite the only change to the sauce is switch from dried herbs to fresh herbs according to Aponte's Facebook page. People also want other items back on the menu such as build your own calzones, and Aponte's plans to add some items back to the menu.
Another thing that has old customers angry is that Aponte's is now closed during the week at lunch time and has also stopped delivery. We will see if Restaurant Impossible addresses these issues during the episode to see why that was recommended. Being a Pizzeria, having repeat customers and having delivery is probably crucial to business unless they are trying to make it more upscale now.
It seems like Aponte's Pizzeria may have been better off before Restaurant Impossible came, and they have angered a lot of their loyal customer base with the changes that were implemented. There are probably other issues that Restaurant Impossible will address, or maybe they were picked to be on the show because of Tony's 'attitude' and it makes for good TV, because by looking at the reviews before the visit, it didn't seem like they were struggling.
UPDATE 12/2013 - In a recent local article, Tony said "I’ve had to cut back, and I still have a situation with the IRS. I’ve just let two people go. I will keep the doors open until my luck runs out.” He also said business was at an all-time low with sales down 30 percent over the last year, and that he still owes the IRS back taxes of about $100,000. Right after the show, sales were about 65% higher for two weeks, but business eventually slowed.
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