Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Restaurant Impossible - Bryant's Seafood Update

Photo - Food Network
Tonight on Restaurant Impossible, Robert Irvine and his crew are in Hueytown, Alabama to makeover Bryant's Seafood World. The owner Gail bought the restaurant about four years and was hoping to continue Bryant's 30-year tradition.  When Robert arrives, he sees she has done nothing to make the restaurant her own, and he will need to turn this "neglected restaurant" and "passionless owner" around.  As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about Bryant's Seafood 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 had been to Bryant's years ago for their seafood buffet and WOW! what a treat to go back after Restaurant Impossible had transformed it! The decor was pleasing, the staff very attentive, and the food was fabulous!..Even though it is a very small neighborhood restaurant we didn't have to wait long and got to feast on the wonderful fresh hush puppies while we waited! Can't wait to go back!"
  • "The fried Tilapia was delicious along with Alabama fish fry. The fried pickles were thick cut and hot from the frier. Couldn't stop popping the hush puppies. Can't wait to try more next time."
  • "Ok, last week the TV show "Restaurant Impossible" was in town to try to rescue this local landmark. Let me say right off the bat that my experience at lunch today was NOTHING like my last. The smell of scorched grease is gone gone gone.  The new decor is bright, comfortable and inviting. It was a much needed update. The staff has obviously been trained well...The new menu is appropriately narrowed down, but offers a good variety of interesting choices.  And, as always for me, the food has to be the star. And in this area I can say that my lunch was excellent. The fried shrimp were beautiful to see, seasoned perfectly and not at all overdone. The hushpuppies are light and have good flavor and texture. I am looking forward to trying out more of their offerings."
  • "Went in there last Friday to eat looked great inside looked lot better than before food was great hush puppies were like old Bryant's they weren't greasy"

Negative Reviews:
  • "First of all I remember Bryant's seafood years ago and the seafood was fresh and very good...Fast forward to today, they have changed owners and kept the same name....Service was quick with the food. But.... the food tasted like it came out of a groceries stores freezers case and it was not fresh at all...For where this restaurant is it had the wrong atmosphere for the area. Don't get me wrong this restaurant was nice but out of character for the area. I will not be going back, my stomach can't handle that terrible food again."
  • "$50 for lunch really???????I will never go back. My wife's order of Greek shrimp was drowned in salt and she sent it back and asked if she could just have the fried house shrimp. The waitress brought out the replacement food and said, "at least you will know what to order next time". Let me tell you that there will never be a next time"
  • "Now this is the new makeover Bryant's and when I got there I was impressed how nice it looked inside., new booths new floor, decorated nice but then the menu came...Very disappointed. Loved the old place a few years ago. Guess it's new owners, but afraid they will not make it much longer the way it is now. Too expensive, for what you get."

Other News and Links:
  • Here is the Bryant's Seafood Facebook page, which is not kept up to date, and there is only 1 post.
  • Here is the Bryant's Seafood website, and the menu, which is kind of confusing.  I am not sure if the first page is the items from the old menu and the second page is the newer items, but there are 2 sections for appetizers and salads.  Here is the old menu which is MUCH larger.
  • Robert Irvine posted a picture on Twitter of the filthy carpet at the restaurant during the makeover and said something along the lines of "If you saw this carpet, would you eat here?"  He later removed that tweet, but not sure why.
  • A quote from a local article says the carpet has not been changed in 25 years and that the booths are torn.  Everyone also agreed that the restaurant was in need of some T.L.C.
  • Bryant's currently has a Groupon deal which is $10 for $20 worth of food.
  • Here are the reports for 2 restaurant inspections for Bryant's, one in 2011 and another in 2012, which they received a score of 90 and a 92.
  • David Bryant was the former owner of Bryant's Seafood, and is going to be involved in a new seafood restaurant in the area.  He seems to have a great reputation as a chef and restaurateur judging by this article and comments.  The location of the new restaurant is only 10 miles from Bryant's.  So he will be competing with a restaurant that still uses his name.

Conclusion:

There were not too many reviews for Bryant's Seafood, but the few out there were mixed.  People are obviously happy to see the carpet removed and the new decor in the restaurant.  They also continue to be fans of the hush puppies at the restaurant.  The negative reviews cite the restaurant having overpriced food that isn't that great.

It looks from the description of the episode tonight, it will focus on the filth of the restaurant along with the owner making the restaurant her own.  It seems this could have been another opportunity for a name change, as there are no 'Bryant's' involved in the restaurant.  In fact, David Bryant is about to become a direct competitor to this restaurant.  Only time will tell if there is room for two seafood restaurants in Hueytown/Bessemer, Alabama.

UPDATE - Bryant's closed sometime in late 2015 and the phone number associated with the restaurant is no longer in service.

*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 

30 comments:

  1. After the owner tasted the Gumbo and Irvine told her he had stuck his finger in it, she should have shot right back at him, "Oh..that's why it tastes like ass." lol

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  2. Shut this one off after 5 minutes. If you're not even trying (i.e. can't even bother to clean), why should I care?????

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  3. Unbelievable how no one who worked there saw the filth or the depressing atmosphere. How did they all miss the obvious???? Not convinced that the owner wants to be in the restaurant business.

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  4. Princess StarlightApril 24, 2014 at 4:13 PM

    I had this on for background noise as I worked on some manuscripts during the night and I ended up switching the station as she kept on fighting with Robert over the Hush Puppies. Also, it was starting to get annoying hearing her say she wanted to market the Hush Puppies. It kept on reminding me of Sebastian from Kitchen Nightmares.

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  5. I do think she wanted to be in the business, I just think she wanted to be in the restaurant business of her imagination. IMHO, most people (myself included) are fairly ignorant of what it takes to actually run a restaurant. Put those stresses on top of stresses of a failing restaurant and it's real easy to see how burnout happens.

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  6. My wife is from Hueytown. For years, Bryant's was a very popular place. They used to advertise on local radio. Then, they changed owners and it wasn't the same. At one time, the hush puppies were the best in the region and had a major local following. Changing the name wasn't really an option because the brand has so much equity in that area. Hopefully this will get them back in the pink, because there are not a lot of places to eat in Hueytown as it is.

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  7. VERY disappointing episode. RI doesn't even pretend to spend only $10k anymore -- they used to take the money used to hire kitchen cleaners out of the $10k budget, but not in this episode. They used to take the money used to buy new kitchen equipment out of the $10k budget, but not in this episode. Why bother pretending that the premise of the show is $10k, two days any longer???



    If you cannot stay true to your own premise, with integrity, I have no use for you.

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  8. I totally agree. I also wish they would get over the phony "we have 2 days..." What BS.
    Give them 4 days or 6 or a week. Let them get it done RIGHT. The viewer certainly doesn't care how long the re-do took. I relalize it's a game show.But please give the viewers some credit for not being morons.

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  9. Seriously. Why the hell is there a 2 day limit imposed? Is a bus full of people going to get blown up if the restaurant isn't redone in 48 hours? I'd rather have the place closed for a week so the construction crew doesn't have to rush everything, and it gives the restaurant manager time to retrain the staff, the cooks time to learn new dishes (or improve the old ones), and the waitstaff time to acclimate to the new layout and menus.

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  10. Agreed. The deluded lady thought that just because she was good at suckering people into buying whatever she was selling, that it would somehow mean that she going to be great at running a restaurant. Even when Robert was slapping her with some cold hard reality, the foolish woman was still being stubborn as a mule.

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  11. She reminds me of that insane Amy chick from KN - making crap food and acting like it was manna from heaven, and that anyone who thinks otherwise is a liar, a hater, or both.

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  12. Princess StarlightApril 27, 2014 at 8:01 AM

    Actually she reminded me of both half Amy and half Sebastian. The Amy half is what you just described and the reason for Sebastian is due to the delusional-ness of her thinking that she had a marketable item to sell to the masses, when in actuality she did not. I might try to watch the episode all the way through On Demand but I don't know yet.

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  13. Gotta keep production costs down somehow! FN is one cheap-ass network. These are the people who are now giving away year supply of junk-food as a prizes! (Rewrapped) If you had it go on for that long, they'd have to hire more actual trades (a lot of volunteers have a weekend to give, but not a week) and that'd cost money.

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  14. The place is too small to make a consistent profit even if she got everything in shape. The retailing of the hush puppies is an outstanding idea. Hope she had a non-compete with the old Bryant and has an iron clad right to use his name!

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  15. I've eaten there for over 3 decades, 1 time since the ownership change. The food was good and inexpensive and the hush puppies were as good as their reputation, the reputation that preceded the current owner. Apparently experience as a 'korporate axective' doesn't ensure success in the real world. From a $700,000 gross to failure, what a shame.

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  16. Biff SchmuckatelliMay 1, 2014 at 3:30 AM

    since the new owner is a corporate type. She will probably minimize food costs (thus the frozen grocery food) and look to sell the place as soon as possible to get a maximum return on investment after RI did the remodel. If she doesn't do that, she will be making a poor decision, because as soon as the new Bryant owned restaurant is open, her restaurant will be done.

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  17. I think they impose a two day limit because it provides more drama on the show and after all, they are in the entertainment industry. But I have to agree two days is ridiculous...what is more ridiculous is the fact that its actually NOT TWO FULL DAYS. I believe they remodel over 36 hour period.

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  18. wow, I came on here to say way to go Gail, and then read all of your comments, hard to criticize people that do something when all you people do is watch tv and type your opinion ...judge people without knowledge of the whole story, nice job lazy America, grow up and do something, stop sitting on your ass and judging, great job RI, and Gail nice job on changing and hope all goes well with what you do

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  19. Biff, with all due respect, in your Bumbino's post you knocked RI on cost of fresh food and now you're intimating with no proof that this owner will use frozen foods? Which one do you prefer and why?

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  20. Profitability is the only way to remain in business. If it is in fact too small how did they survive for over thirty years? It was posted here the former owner is opening a place within ten miles.

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  21. Or since Ri hadn't worn gloves perhaps he should have warned her prior? we all know he's a stickler for hygiene and cleanliness.

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  22. Carrie, very well written, you're not as "ignorant" as you claim!

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  23. Mike, extremely well written! The show is for entertainment and the two day limit creates false drama to supposedly make the show more compelling.
    If the mission statement of the show were to actually educate and rescue these restaurants they would have a more realistic schedule and much less drama. Unfortunately, they would probably not succeed.

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  24. Thanks! I know enough to know I have no business going into that business! :)

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  25. I like to come back here when a show is about to be rerun. Once I saw she was the hushpuppy lady, I decided not to rewatch. I'm a bit surprised it's still open.

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  26. How did that open sewer get a 92 from the health inspector? That would get a 50 in my town, I guess we expect people to clean up North...

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  27. Who wants a nasty, cold hush puppy in a bag? They are bad enough fresh made...

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  28. Went to a place in Boston center the other day with 14 seats...... Been in business for years, rent is probably 10 times the cost to run that little place in Alabama.

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  29. That was very wrong for Robert to tell the owner he stuck his grubby hand in the dish after she had tasted it. There would definitely be big trust issues going forward if that was me.

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  30. You know Food Network wouldn't broadcast an episode if there was no cooperation from the restaurant owner. Some people need more convincing to change than others. I think someone who is stubborn then learns that they are wrong gets more out of the experience than someone who agrees from the get go.

    Those are the people who change everything back to the failing ways the moment the TV crew packs up.

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