Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Restaurant Impossible - Mama Della's Update

Photo - Food Network
Tonight on Restaurant Impossible, Robert Irvine and crew are in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to makeover Mama Della's NY City Pizzeria.  The food is actually good at Mama Della's, but the owner Barry is the biggest obstacle to the restaurants success.  Robert Irvine will try to change Barry's "my way or the highway" approach to running his restaurant, which is scaring away customers.  As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about Mama Della's NY City Pizzeria to get an idea of how the restaurant is doing since Robert Irvine visited, and here is what I found (note - all reviews are post Restaurant Impossible):



Positive Reviews:
  • "I was rather pleased with the food. The arugula salad is delicious and the portion is huge. It was incredibly fresh and the lemon vinegarette was bright and acidic, perfectly complementing the sundried tomatoes. The Mama Della's pizza was HUGE. Definitely enough to feed 2-3 people. It was clearly fresh, but my only gripe with it was the sauce. The sauce was watery and made the center of the pizza soggy, causing the cheese to slide right off."
  • "Have passed this place many times and it was never crowded,   Wished I Would have stopped by earlier.   Ran in today and grabbed a pie,   It took a little while but was well worth the wait.  I think it was one of the best pizzas I have had in Baton Rouge"
  • "My pizza was very good and the crust had a great flavor.  I will go back and try out some more of their menu."
  • "Amazingly fresh and delicious ingredients. What a major step up since the Restaurant Impossible makeover"
  • "As a native New Yorker, this is the only place that comes even close."
  • "This has been our favorite pizza joint since it's opening. Recent changes give it a more upscale feel, and prices have gone up to match. Thankfully the pizza is stil great. We will continue to dine here, just not as often due to the price."

Negative Reviews:
  • "We came to this restaurant, and it started off wrong by the fact that they weren't offering half of the things in the menu. Then we ordered two pizzas and they forgot to cook one of them.... Then the cashier and chef proceeded to argue about what is on the specific pizza we ordered"
  • "The sauce is nothing but water. The toppings don't stick to the pizza they slide right off. The pizza is nothing special and not worth the price when I go to Isabella's for cheaper and get no watery sauce. Idk how this place was before chef irvine came but we will go to other pizza places where we can taste the sauce."
  • "This pizza was a huge disappointment, sauce taste like it came out of a can, crust wasn't cooked, whole mushrooms looked like they came out of a can. Owner totally rude. Staff unknowledgeable about menu. Pizza and Salad $36 - wish I went to DeAngelo's."
  • "Ok pizza. Nothing special. Ordering process is very awkward and owner makes you feel uncomfortable."

*Reviews from Yelp, Urbanspoon

Other News and Links:
  • Here are the Mama Della's Facebook and Twitter pages, and the restaurant actively responds to customers on both.
  • Here is the Mama Della's website and a link to their menu which now only has pizza in one size.
  • An article in Oct 2013 had prices for some dishes, and here are the old to new price based on the above menu - Emilia Romagna Pizza - $18.75 to $19.75, Grandma Pie - $11.50 to $13.95, Chicken Parm Sandwich $6.95 to $8.95.  So, prices have been raised, but it doesn't look too drastic.
  • While filming, Robert Irvine said the pizza crust is good, but the sauce is disgusting.  He also stated he thinks the owner doesn't like him and doesn't want to change. (Link)  
  • Barry grew up in restaurants with his family owning multiple restaurants over the years.  He uses the same ingredients and recipes his family has used for many years.  He met his wife while serving in the Navy, which is how he ended up in Baton Rouge (Link).
  • In a 2012 article, Barry is quoted as saying, "If I can’t get the ingredients I want, I don’t serve that pizza. It’s as simple as that. I’m not going to compromise the quality of my pizza in order to make more money."
  • In an August 2013 article Barry is quoted as saying, "The biggest challenge was recreating things the way they were from 35 years ago.  My stuff has no additives, no preservatives. It was difficult because when I opened, I noticed products that I once used had changed, companies changed, and they had all this nonsense added … I'm all about the best there is." (Link
  • A story after the makeover said "business was booming" and that there was a steady lunch crown.  There was also a comment that said "I WAS a regular. I might try it again after all the commotion is over, but I do not like the changes made to the sauce at all." 
  • According to their Facebook page comments, there were some issues with the restaurant not having enough staff to handle demand after the makeover.  The restaurant put out ads on Craigslist and even used a temp agency to try to find more employees. 


Conclusion: 

The reviews for Mama Della's before the Restaurant Impossible visit were very good regarding the food, but mixed in were some 1-star reviews of people complaining about the owner Barry.  This is most likely the reason the restaurant was chosen for the show as the conflict between him and Robert will create good television. Reading the reviews about the incidents customers have had with Barry made me think of the "Soup Nazi" from Seinfeld.

Barry sounds committed to getting the best ingredients at whatever cost, and sounds more worried about making pizzas his way than making money.  Robert will most likely try to change this as well and you see the prices are a little bit higher than before.

The reviews since Restaurant Impossible visited are mostly positive with people still raving about the food, especially the pizza.  There are a few negative reviews that talk about the sauce on the pizza, but I am not sure if this is the new sauce that Robert Irvine suggested, or if Barry went back to his old sauce.  There are also a few complaints about service (most likely due to being understaffed after the makeover), and of course there still a few complaints about Barry.

The food seems to be great at Mama Della's and if Barry can stay away from customers or change his attitude, the restaurant should be able to succeed.



*Visit Our Restaurant Impossible Update Page to see all Restaurant Impossible updates, and which restaurants are open, closed, or have been sold.  Also Like Us on Facebook  and  Follow Us on Twitter 

52 comments:

  1. Wow......thats crazy....I am sitting here watch the episode right now....I googled this episode to see what success they have had since the show. I guess, none.

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  2. We really thought it would be packed tonight... Especially since this episode has been advertised pretty well around town. We were really disappointed and feel kind of bad for Robert and his crew.

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  3. Honestly it seems as thought the negative reviews were written from competitors trying to steal his new thunder! As they all mentioned going to another restaurant!

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  4. Wow, I used to really love coming to this site after watching RI, but those forced surveys blocking the content are RIDICULOUS. I run a large site and I would NEVER think of putting something like this on it.

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  5. THIS. Great way to kill your own traffic, bro.

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  6. Couldn't agree more... the surveys are intrusive and annoying. Penny wise and dollar foolish, at best.

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  7. Wow, that's really sad that they couldn't pack the place the night the episode aired. But after the service you witnessed tonight, it's no wonder.

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  8. Well I can say this as I am AN EMPLOYEE at this establishment. Yes we are understaffed because of the lack of people in our area wanting to work and WILLING to work. The young man in the above comment is new and he is learning and I can guarnatee that he will do just fine. He has thus far. As far as the food, IT IS THE GREAT FOOD THAT WE HAVE ALWAYS HAD PLIS SOME!!!! ROBERT AND HIS STAFF DID A GREAT JOB AND I COMMEND THEM ON THAT. Mr. Barry is a very respectful, and a gentle giant. You jist have to get under that outer shell. I love that man like he was my own family. As a matter of fact everyone at this restaurant IS FAMILY. Please ignore these bogus reviews and try us out for yourself. You will never know a New York experience like ours unless YOU come into THE ONE, THE ONLY MAMA DELLA'S!

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  9. I love Mr. Barry.. He is a genuine and hard working man!!! I really wish him all the success!!! :-)

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  10. I too always log onto this site after watching a new episode. Tonight I had to click on a "survey" to access the site.I had 2 choices.One was to "like it on Facebook". I don't do Facebook and never will.I'm an adult. I chose the other survey where I had to click my age category. I clicked that and a pop-up for a strip club popped up. Are you kidding me ? I won't be back. I realize you are hoping to make money for your site but you will drive away your readers. Most of us are up-scale,intelligent adults.That is your viewership. We are not teenagers. Good luck with this.

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  11. No,Andrew left. If you read the FoodNetwork update for this place. It says that Andrew is no longer there.

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  12. Yes, I saw that but wondered if it was true. Hope he and his father didn't have a blow-out resulting in his exit.

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  13. I addressed the surveys in a previous post here: http://www.foodnetworkgossip.com/2014/01/google-surveys-more-information-about.html.

    Regarding that popup from BlueDesert, I have forwarded your comment onto Google as that should not happen. I will let you know their response.

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  14. I never have any problem with the survey. If you just hit the most negative response it is only 1 question. Also, just now I hit the link for the article instead of answering the survey, and I was able to skip the survey completely. It is not such a big deal. Respect the work of the person who prepares this website. Nobody is paying for reading his work.

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  15. Taniya Nayak is looking a bit fat. She also does not look very excited to be doing the weekly junkyard re-hash in two days. I really wonder why nobody just tells Mr. Irvine to f*ck off and take an extra day. Maybe he can only trust his young wife for two days at a time?

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  16. I never have any problem with the survey. If you just hit the most negative response it is only 1 question. Also, just now I hit the link for the article instead of answering the survey, and I was able to skip the survey completely. It is not such a big deal. Respect the work of the person who prepares this website. Nobody is paying for reading his work.

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  17. Wolfie63,


    I'm not one of those people that says sites shouldn't have ads, nor do I use ad blocker. I own a site that gets over 10MM visits/month but I always try to balance visitor experience with ad revenue (which is needed to run and maintain a site).

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  18. Matt,


    LOL, to read your explanation I would have had to answer the survey. Which I didn't.


    Best regards,


    Vic

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  19. If you have so much experience running this major website then why are you such a dick about it? And why do you keep coming back to say how much the ads suck, and that you are not coming back? You sound like a major asshole.

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  20. how do you get confused over half cheese/half pepperoni??? sheesh!

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  21. I came back to respond to two comments which were directed to me.


    But thanks for playing.

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  22. Seriously, I can't think of a more basic pizza order!

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  23. We all know what kind of website you run. 10 million hits a month, lots of nature shots of wet beavers and big snakes.

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  24. I head Baton Rouge had a high crime rate, maybe that is why it didn't pack in at night

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  25. Yeah, agreed... it's unusual to see the name of another restaurant in a review, let alone multiple ones.

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  26. Maybe he wasn't sure about which side the pepperoni should be on.

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  27. The response from Google -
    Please note that we don't use surveys for ad retargeting. The strip club pop up is likely malware on the user's computer.

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  28. [citation needed]

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  29. Sharon Lynne CaballeroMarch 30, 2014 at 11:54 PM

    I believe that it is good to change some things after the Restaurant Impossible episode. However, I agree with the owner on the Pizza Margherita. If you want this pizza, you should take it the way it has always been made in Italy and here in the states. If you want other toppings, you should order something else. Pizza Margherita is only made ONE WAY!!! I hope the owner takes heed to Robert's guidance and changes his attitude, but I do believe he should stick to his guns where the Margherita is concerned!

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  30. Do you want to make money and stay in business or do you want to be right? When I see a restaurant has too many rules.....I leave. I am paying them, they are not paying me to eat there.

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  31. Neither one looked to happy to be around the other. Good for Andrew.....cut the apron strings. Get your own life. Daddy seems to be a real tool.

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  32. What you are suggesting is ridiculous. If someone doesn't want a Margherita pizza, they shouldn't order one. If you order one, you are getting a very specific dish. The customer is not always right and in this case, the customer is a complete buffoon.

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  33. Dood, you have a malware problem. Don't blame this site for it.

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  34. This is the first time I have been held hostage by a stupid 'survey' before I could read the content of an article. Usually I can skip something like this, but after 7 attempts I give up. Screw you Food Network.

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  35. Then go someplace else. Do you order a Cobb Salad and then ask them to hold the egg, avocado, and bacon? If you do, you're making a fool of yourself and your business is no great loss to the restaurant (except for the loss of comedy you provide the employees).

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  36. That's about the caliber of response I'd expect from someone who clearly doesn't under the concept of a restaurant menu.

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  37. It is true....I am an idiot....dumb as they come......I should be declared incompetent I am so stupid.....duh, duh, duh....that's about all my pea brain can come up with. I shall defer to smart people, such as yourself. Now let me go lick some windows if you please!!!! Duh....duh....duh.....

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  38. After we saw the show, we drove 2 hours to try it. The only complaint I have is he was out of meatballs. Food was really good! He greeted us in a polite manner. I will definitely go back,

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  39. Then go someplace else.


    that's what they did and why his business was failing

    As for you Cobb Salad example why would you be upset if they are paying full price for a not-Cobb Salad? Since the object is to make money and they want to pay the full price then you'd be a fool to turn them away
    Also ticking off a customer is a loss because angry people are more likely to tell others not to go to your business then happy customers telling people to go.

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  40. You do understand his attitude is why he was failing. .if he wants to turn away business because of his pride then he shouldn't be shocked when he goes out of business.

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  41. That's silly. You do remember he was failing right? Yes he could refuse their request, but that is just bad business as his profit margin can attest too.

    A lot of Northern and Western restaurants sell "southern" food that is not "authentic" to the region but they make changes to accommodate the customers who live there not for the customers who are actually from the South. That was his problem he's trying to sell to New Yorkers and Italians in the South...

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  42. I find it very interesting that there is significantly more discussion about the log-on surveys versus this particular episode?

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  43. Tammy, that's great! Hopefully, this restaurant will continue to flourish.

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  44. This is pizza he's serving, not Kobe beef that a customer is requesting well done with A-1 sauce.

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  45. i went to mama Dell's NY pizza to get a meatball sandwich i was there for 45 mins
    i ask why it takeing so long and i was told it will be 40 mins for it to be realy
    that NO GOOD AND CRAZY THEY ARE A DICK ASS HOLE NO GOOD

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  46. Tony Please, there are all sorts of different styles of pizza in Italy.

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  47. Grow up, most places do not serve fria gras on Beef Wellington anymore either....

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  48. People ask to hold the egg yolks all the time...

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  49. My sister orders half the cheese....

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