Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Restaurant Impossible - Mill Creek BBQ Update

Photo - Facebook
Tonight on the season 8 premiere of Restaurant Impossible, Robert Irvine and crew are going to Redlands, California to makeover Mill Creek Cattle Company.  Mill Creek is a BBQ restaurant that supposedly has tasteless BBQ and inefficient management.  The owners Lisette and Steve bought the restaurant and modeled it after her father's restaurant in a nearby town that goes by the same name.   As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about Mill Creek Cattle Company 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:
  • "Well I was a fan of this place BEFORE the make over and I'm still a fan. The owners are usually there now helping out which I love."
  • "Went there largely to see what a restaurant impossible makeover restaurant would be like, and I gotta say, I was pretty impressed. I ordered the black and bleu burger, and it was flavorful, tender, and juicy...All in all, a good value for the quality of food....As far as everything else goes, staff was friendly and helpful...The decor was very well done, and the atmosphere was pleasant and inviting. I'll be back soon."
  • "Had the triple threat bbQ plate, tri-tip,  hot link, and brisket. Good bbq, good service, will be back."
  • "I didn't get a chance to make it out to Mill Creek before RI came and reworked the place, so all I can comment on is how they are after the change and from what we saw we loved everything! The staff was friendly, the food came out quick and was great!"
  • "Excellent brisket and the new decor is very clean and attractive. I would recommend trying some of the new menu items. BBQ sauce is awesome."

Negative Reviews:

  • "The decor is quite nice but unfortunately the food wasn't that great. The brisket and tri tip were kind of cold and a little dry. BBQ chicken was just okay. Fries tasted like they would if you left them all day and came back to them at the end of the day to finish."
  • "The ribs were good and meaty BUT the sides were a joke.  Soggy fries and not many of them,  two infant portions of Mac and cheese, and four soggy onion rings.  COST $43.!  Robert Irvine failed with the food but made the place pretty.  Lots better BBQ places to spend your money!  I'm going back to the original Mill Creek Cattle Company in Mentone!!"
  • "Heard Robert Irvine was here last week and decided to come check it out. To my disappointment it was not that great. The food was cold and lacked in flavor. "
*Reviews from Yelp

Other News and Links:
  • In a local newspaper article, the associate producer for Restaurant Impossible said, "Mill Creek was selected because of its involvement in the community and its giving-back nature."  Kind of interesting that the producer admitted that.
  • Here is the Mill Creek Cattle Company menu.  The menu is still pretty large, and menu items from Restaurant Impossible are all labeled with "R.I." (6 RI burgers, 1 sandwich, wings, ribs, chili).  Also note that it is the same website URL for both locations of Mill Creek Cattle Company - 1 in Mentone, 1 in Redlands.  If you were wondering, the locations are 6 miles apart and about a 10 minute drive.
  • A few comments in this blog post seem to think location is the problem with the restaurant as it is in an industrial area with not much traffic after 5pm.
  • Someone in this Facebook post says all of the meat is smoked at the Mentone location and transferred to the Redlands location.
  • Here is the Mill Creek Redlands Twitter page, where the owner has kept in contact with Robert Irvine and seems very appreciate of his help.  The owner also said he is building off of Robert's principles and ideas and has gone to cooking classes.  Robert even chimed in on a customer complaint about the restaurant being out of ribs at 11:30am saying it was "unacceptable" and to "fix it on your dime."
  • Mill Creek offers a Restaurant.com deal for $10 worth of food for $4.  There are many reviews on the site, which are mostly positive.

Conclusion:

There have been a LOT of reviews since Restaurant Impossible came to visit the Mill Creek Cattle Company in Redlands.  The majority of the reviews are positive and people like the food, decor, and think the service has improved.  The complaints about the restaurant include food being cold, bad fries, and having to read the menu off of a chalk board rather than a printed out version.

The amount of reviews since Restaurant Impossible came to visit seems to indicate that business has picked up, and it is a good sign that most of the reviews are positive.  The reviews before the Restaurant Impossible visit were also pretty positive, so maybe the location was part of the problem.  Or perhaps the restaurant wasn't struggling that badly, but it made for a good story.  Whatever the reason for the RI visit, it seems like the publicity generated for Mill Creek has had a positive impact on the restaurant.  The the owner also seems very grateful of the Restaurant Impossible visit and has showed the effort to improve.  If they can continue to impress the new customers and work on the small issues, this restaurant may be a success.


UPDATE 3/8/2014 - In a local article after the episode aired, Lisette said:
"I didn’t think our food was a problem. I honestly believe it’s our location.  People don’t know we are here. ... If they are on Redlands Boulevard, they will go to places there before they spend the two minutes it takes to drive over here. Mainly we went on the show to have him help us figure out how to let people know we are here, and we do have good barbecue.”
They also said since the makeover, they have separated the walk-in customers from dine-in customers and have added a bar.

*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 

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