Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Restaurant Impossible - Uncle Andy's Diner Update

Photo - Food Network
Tonight on Restaurant Impossible, Robert Irvine and his crew are in South Portland, Maine to makeover Uncle Andy's Diner.  The owner Dave happens to be a stand-up comedian, and one of his problems is that he is more worried about telling jokes than the quality of food coming out of his kitchen.  His side gig as a stand-up comedian is also straining his relationship with his family.  As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about Uncle Andy's Diner 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:
  • "This place is such a cute diner, and I'm not sure what it looked like before the Restaurant Impossible makeover, but it looks very clean and hip now. The best part about this diner has got to be the pricing...Overall, I thought the food was great for the price and it's a very pleasant diner to go if you're in South Portland."
  • "After the "re-do" by the television program, the interior is new, with dark contemporary wood floors, new chair seats, new popular paint colors, etc...We'll go back, since we live in the neighborhood, and the cafe is in a convenient location. Food was average, but fairly priced."
 
Negative Reviews:
  • "I dont think the current owners understand how to CLEAN nor do they understand good SERVICE. They have a brand new place and it's already dirty and dusty. I can't even tell you how rude the waitstaff are...Anyway-sadly disappointed! I was really hoping to get my neighborhood diner back!"
  • "A total, dirty, overpriced breakfast joint that after its TV makeover makes me wonder just what they were thinking."
  • "The makeover itself was a little bit disappointing.  The ladies room was very dirty and had a terrible stench.  The service was TERRIBLE....The food was only ok. Never again!"
  • "The wait staff was so unorganized it was painful to watch. When a waiter did actually come speak with us, 20 minutes into our wait, he told us that he would not be able to take our order for another 20-30 minutes and gave us the option to leave, which we did."
  • "So all in all an OK experience at the refreshed Uncle Andy's. Service was subpar....sorry but it was.The manager was nowhere to be found to expedite or man the register. The waitress was overloaded and no one bothered to notice let alone help. FAIL. The food was good. It was a good meal but not a very memorable experience."
  • "We immediately noticed that all the black tables were very dusty but we sat down anyway near the window. There were cobwebs in the windows and the bowl that held creamers on our table was also very dirty....The prices are reasonable and the service was very good and welcoming. Unfortunately, the food and the cleanliness will not make me come back."
  • "Ditto all the previous reviews about non-existant service and degraded food quality since the "upgrade". This used to be a good basic diner, but it is worse than it was before the show arrived."
 *Reviews from Yelp, Tripadvisor

Other News and Links:
  • Here is the Uncle Andy's Facebook page.
  • The Fogg's have owned Uncle Andy's for 10 years
  • Here are some Uncle Andy's Restaurant Inspections (Link)
  • In a May 2014 article (before the show was filmed), owner Dennis Fogg said they were fans of the show and were shocked they got picked.  He was quoted as saying, "There’s a lot of stuff that doesn’t seem to fit at first.  We’re not a failing restaurant. We’re here 10 years, so we’re doing pretty good.”  He then went on to say, "At first, the failing-restaurant thing sort of got me, because it’s not.  But my kids were more worried about my wife and I striving and striving and not getting anywhere. Once I realized that, it was OK."
  • On their Facebook page, they asked fans to leave positive comments on review sites, and if they had a negative experience to contact the restaurant directly (Link).  Sounds like they are trying to get their rating to increase on review sites, which some people may consider unethical.
  • In a recent local article has a lot of updates about the restaurant since the show filmed: 
    • Dennis said the business has had an uptick in popularity, and they are now preparing for an increase in customers after the show airs.  He also admits to having trouble keeping up with the business, which has caused long wait times for customers.  They have hired six additional employees to try to keep up.  
    • The old set up of the kitchen allowed Dennis to entertain with his animal pancakes and jokes, but the new set up has a window in between the diners and the kitchen.
    • The increased business has allowed the Foggs to finally pay their adult children for working at the restaurant — they previously worked just for tips. The family has also paid off debt, and Tina has been able to work fewer nights as an Alzheimer’s nurse.
    • A "Customers Wanted: Apply Within" sign has returned to the front window

Conclusion:

The reviews for Uncle Andy's Diner since the Restaurant Impossible visit have been mostly negative and people have a lot of complaints about the service and the cleanliness of the restaurant.  The few positive reviews about Uncle Andy's seem to say the prices are fair.  Judging by the amount of local articles and the uptick in business at the diner, it seems the local people were excited to go try Uncle Andy's Diner, but ended up disappointed.

The restaurant admitted that they had trouble keeping up with business after the show filmed, and they have hired additional employees to help out.  If they want to succeed, they will need to provide better food and service to the people that come to the restaurant after their episode airs.


*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

23 comments:

  1. That's great to know, thanks!

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  2. Decor is one thing, how food tastes is another. But when cleanliness is pointed out to you and you shortly revert back to not caring about cleaning -- at a health department inspected restaurant? That's very telling that this place is going to close soon. And a still unorganized wait staff? The owners let everything go in one ear and out the other.

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  3. Still can't get over ANYONE thinking muskrat is an appropriate dish to serve. One of the most disgusting episodes I ever watched.

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  4. How hard can it be to notice the dirt and then clean it up?

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  5. Could not stand the guy so I turned this one off. Find some actual likable people to help please, not delusional, whiny, selfish, lazy idiots.

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  6. I wondered about that also. Makes me wonder just what constitutes a failing restaurant in his mind.

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  7. Since they said they weren't that busy, there should have been plenty of time to clean. When I worked in a restaurant at 18, I was told "If you have time to lean, then you have time to clean."

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  8. Dude stole some of his act too, a big no in comedy.

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  9. After being on a show like this you would think they would keep the place spotless for a while.. Guess not.

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  10. They are very deceptive about what you will pay after your into price. They even make up stories of "their was an asterick on the contract you signed" when people actually printed them out and there was none.

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  11. It's good to be aware of that, thanks for sharing your experience. Always better to go into something with eyes wide open!

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  12. Why do ppl alway have something negative to say about others i mean really atleast they made it on tv what hat yall dne

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  13. I have a feeling that Giada gets on women's nerves more than men. I find her obnoxious too, but am guessing her overbearing personality traits get to women even more.

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  14. LOL serial rapists make it on TV too Chief...

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  15. OK I am calling out Irvine on his Lobster roll...

    First off he claims he can get fresh Lobster meat for 16 bucks a pound...Well it is 35-45 a pound retail and I think 16 bucks a pound wholesale is not possible, even in Maine. But lets assume it is...

    5 ounces of Lobster then lemon, roll, mayo, and Fries would still cost 6 bucks. So if he sells them for 6 bucks that is a 50% food cost. He yells at people for having food costs over 40%....

    Of course in winter the price of Lobster nearly doubles so they would be losing money even with no labor unless they jacked the price up.

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  16. Re: The Salon Pro-Fieri Article: To me, there isn't much good on TV. Food Network has at least provided
    entertaining shows. But, I am betting lots of people find Fieri
    irritating. And, Justin? Man, he's really abrasive, in my opinion. I am
    so glad that he hasn't made it. The utter joke that FN actually made
    that fake-cowboy dude its "Star," without so much as an Internet search
    into his vile history, is emblematic of FN's current problems. Lastly,
    if anyone's looking for an FN show that features cooking as its actual
    main subject, try out "The Kitchen" on Saturdays. It's pretty good!

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  17. Cleaned my business and not let it fail...

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  18. Lobster is an average of $15 a pound in Portland, Maine, downtown. I'm more than sure that's the price he's getting.

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  19. I think the fact that they have some uneducated child posting rude and poorly-written attacks to anyone who criticizes them on their FB page - and follow-up attacks from more family members - says it all. They claim to be a business, they need to act like one - alienating potential customers is not how you do that.

    Just one example of the recent unprofessional posts, there are many, many more:

    "Uncle Andy's Diner: This is what's wrong with america haters r going to hate and its usually the ones who have no idea. It sad how people who haven't visited before the show have options and its more sad that people don't understand about owning a diner and catering to people with not over price dinner menus. And FYI my fathers hash is home made so either u dont know the difference or u have never been in to try it. Or more then welcome to come in and see how we make it. Can looks like dog food
    Like · Reply · August 29 at 10:55pm

    And then they (and family) argue back when you post a response.... this is what they recently replied: "Lets just all agree.....XXX is a clueless idiot. Is that grammatically correct enough for your bad manners and taste." and "Being fat and angry is no way to go through life".

    I'd like to think this man, Dave, taught his children better manners, but I guess not. So, just proof that the restaurant isn't the only filthy thing up there.

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  20. This is like the fourth or fifth one that closed in September of 2014.

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  21. Right? Why not put Possum or Skunk on it while she's at it?

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  22. Restaurants are pretty gross during volume, even in the cleanest facilities. I have resigned to that fact and give no fugs. I hate cooking every night, and I still need to eat.

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  23. Michael F. CopadoMay 28, 2015 at 11:57 AM

    It's actually a pretty well known Lenten dish in Michigan. It was actually approved as a Meat replacement in this area in the 1800's so despite folks not knowing about it outside of certain communities with a French Catholic origin it's actually a big deal in others. And when done right it's quite tasty. But unfortunately it wagon wheel's wasn't all that appealing looking.
    http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0701338.htm

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