Monday, October 13, 2014

Restaurant Impossible - Abudanza Update

Photo - Food Network
Tonight on Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine and his crew are in Wilbraham, Massachusetts to makeover Abudanza Ristorante.  Lou is the owner/chef of the restaurant and he is burned out from the restaurant due to caring for his family and a sick child.  Robert helps the restaurant with its management issues as well as a makeover, but he is so moved by the family and their story that he gives them another much needed surprise.  As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about the Abudanza 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:
  • "All in all it was a very nice dining experience and I will be returning frequently to watch the growth ,enjoy the food,and offer support and feedback. To Robert Irvine, I would say Italians know how to cook great Italian food...and Abudanza can do that very well. Sincere wishes to Abudanza for a huge success. Let's all support them."
  • "How do I start? Robert, from the food network...has saved this restaurant. The experience before was average at best...food was fantastic but the decor was bland and the service completely lacking. I was wary to give them another chance. Now? I am so happy I did. Exceptional and unprecedented are the only words I can use to describe the experience. The atmosphere is very bright and welcoming, the service was attentive and personable, and the food? My god the food. Absolutely delicious."
  • "Four of us went for dinner, love the new look, love the new amount of wait staff which made services more attentive and friendly....The menu was smaller with more distinctive meals, good more normal size portions, the food had always been good but this was such a great improvement in service so glad to give it another try!!... Not one complaint, so happy they have turned it around...they have taken changes to heart! Well be back for sure!, this is NOT the same place!!!!"

Negative Reviews:
  • "Dinner, nice new look, same caring attentive staff, food NOT so good, sadly worse meal ever at this palce. Have been eating there for many years. Not so sure I will return"
  • "Makeover??? Food Network went in and now the only thing they had going for them - good food with large portions - is Gone. 5 items on menu to choose from. 1 salad, no choice. Cost more than before...So disappointing to wait a week for a reservation and then only have a lettuce (from a bag-it was bitter) and burnt crouton salad that came with a half brown slice of lemon."
  • "We have been to Abudanza a number of time in the past. The food was always good and generous but the service was always poor.  Went last night to see the results of the Restaurant Impossible makeover.  The dining room is brighter but the service is just as bad as before.   The waitstaff doesn't seem to have assigned tables.  Different people bring you different things"

*Reviews from Yelp, Tripadvisor, Urbanspoon

Other News and Links:
  • Here is the Abudanza website and current dinner menu
  • Here is the Abudanza Facebook page, which is kept up-to-date.
  • The restaurant opened in 2006 in Springfield, MA.  Due to growth, they moved to Wilbraham, MA to their current location with larger seating capacity, a full bar and a banquet hall. (Link).
  • In late August, a few weeks after the makeover, the restaurant expanded their menu to include some of the old favorites. (Link).
  • The restaurant actually opened an Abudanza Express restaurant in Ludlow, MA (a few miles away) on September 3, 2014.  (Link)
  • In a local article a month after the makeover, Robert Irvine said, "It’s the first time I’ve ever wept at the close of a show. It was very moving. This was a very tough show."  The article also states that just prior to the Restaurant Impossible visit, the restaurant owners received a foreclosure notice on their home.  Robert said about this, "I was moved so much by this family that the show and myself, out of my own pocket and out of the show’s pocket, outside of the budget for the show, paid an amount of money to pay off the mortgage in arrears so they could stay in the house."  So this is probably the "much needed surprise" from the episode description.
  • In that article Robert claims an 87% success rate in the last 3 years.
  • Here is a GoFundMe fundraiser set up for LJ, who has ROHHAD Disease (Short for rapid-onset obesity with hypothalamic dysregulation, hypoventilation, and autonomic dysregulation.).  The disease is 100% fatal and the odds of having this disease as well as autism is one in 14 billion according to the fundraiser site.  Unlike another Restaurant Impossible episode, this fundraiser was actually set up 5 months ago and before they were selected for the show.

Conclusion:

The reviews for Abudanza are mixed since the Restaurant Impossible visit, and people seem to like the food and the decor changes made at the restaurant.  There are still a few complaints about service and some people were disappointed in the menu changes, which usually happens.  This restaurant was most likely chosen for the uniqueness of their story, and it seems that their story moved Robert Irvine.

One thing that doesn't add up is they reached out to Restaurant Impossible for help, have a GoFundMe fundraiser set up, and received a foreclosure notice on their home.  With all of this, just one month after the Restaurant Impossible makeover, they opened up another location (Abudanza Express) in a nearby town.

UPDATE 5/2015 - Abudanza has Closed.  More information on the restaurant's closure.

*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

105 comments:

  1. I don't understand why they opened the new location either. Robert Irvine and RI gave them a total of $20,000, but according to what he said, that went straight to their mortgage.

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  2. If anybody wants to help their little boy out, there is a GoFundMe site -

    http://www.gofundme.com/ROHHAD

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  3. He's wife is horrible. She acts as if he's some playboy living the high life. He's busting his arse trying to provide for her and their SEVEN kids. I guess she feel asleep when the words I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in
    health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.

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  4. Something doesn't pass the smell test here.

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  5. The 20K went straight to their mortgage because they were 6 months behind. They mentioned that they would lose their home.

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  6. Once you told us that the owner is now expanding to a second location, it reminded me of the episode a few years ago in Texas, I think. The owner of the bbq place had moved all of his cooking supplies to another location so that RI ended up buying him all new kitchen equipment.

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  7. Are we sure that's where the 20K went?

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  8. You can get business loans and investors for restaurants.

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  9. Banks will load money to businesses even when they won't help someone stay in there home.

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  10. So they have two general managers.

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  11. What an ugly remodel job. Do you want to sit in the room full of cans or the giant sick kid face room?

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  12. Yep, he said he was so burnt out, so they open another place?

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  13. "Opened another restaurant location a month after the makeover."


    Where? Doesn't this restaurant have the same name?

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  14. Robert mentioned ON THE SHOW that the 2 checks were made out to the bank that carried their mortgage and NOT directly to the owners

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  15. I had mixed feelings about this episode. I felt sorry for the husband. His wife is a nag. She should never have spoken about him on air like that. It certainly was nice of Robert and The Food Network to pay $20,000. to the mortgage company. They should have done it in private and not broadcast it. It made it seem like a tacky promo stunt. Obviously it worked. Look how many people here and on FN.com are gushing about the "gift." Grown men are crying,etc Charity is great-but tooting your own horn about it makes it seems like a publicity stunt-that worked very well in this case. There are thousands of people who donate time,money and services to help those in need and they NEVER speak of it. That is true class.

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  16. No passion for the business, no money, foreclosure, no time for the family (really, 7 kids???) a nag for a wife that doesn't mind threatening divorce on national TV, bad food and service......Hey y'all, lets open another restaurant!

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  17. When I saw the second guy in the blue shirt I was thinking the same thing. There is so much more to the story of these RI re-dos that is never reveled. The editing makes for good TV but is not truthful.

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  18. DVRs are wonderful pieces of technology. I just re-watched that part. Robert DID NOT mention the 2 checks were made out to the bank. He told him the amounts, said the money was going straight to the bank, then handed him the envelope.


    So, unless you personally opened up the envelope he handed the owner and looked at the checks.....


    Are we sure that's where the 20K went?

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  19. The optics of that don't look too good, do they?

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  20. News Flash to the nagging wife.....When there seven kids to support it is no wonder that the husband is never home. He is working to support you and your brood.

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  21. So they were losing their house, about ready to divorce and ONE month later they opened another location? Just unbelievable how much things can get distorted on reality TV.

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  22. I am seeing a lot of bitterness and jealousy on this site. The show ran for an hour. That's not enough time to put EVERY single aspect of their lives on display. You don't know where they got the additional funds or how, and it's none of our business. Furthermore, Irvine was extremely genuine in the presentation of the gift. There is nothing wrong with receiving a gift on television. The show is based on charity anyway, thus I don't understand the argument of "private" gift giving. I'm happy that they received the assistance they did. Additionally, the personal problems of the family obviously should be handled in a therapy office. Those humans aren't perfect

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  23. Just found out RI is coming back to Albuquerque to redo another restaurant! I might volunteer as I think it might be fun. Hard work obviously, but fun.

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  24. I don't know about you, but if I'd went through the humiliation of asking a reality TV show for help saving my failing business, having that and my personal life's problems, and he had a few, put on display for a TV audience to see, I wouldn't want to compound the humiliation by accepting $20,000 to save the house I couldn't keep out of foreclosure on camera. They could have easily left the foreclosure and "additional funds" out of that hour and let the guy keep at least a little self-respect and dignity. Same goes for his wife's bad mouthing him and their marriage. I would have sent her packing, on camera.

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  25. A nag of a wife???Do you live there life??? They have a terminal ill son....So unless you are in her shoes dont judge!!!

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  26. Excuse me you have no right to judge her....How dare you??? She is a mother who trying to deal with a terminal ill son.....Again unless you walk in her shoes dont judge!!! She is the most caring and WONDERFUL Mother and you dont know what it is like to watch your child slowly die...........

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  27. Really what is wrong with you????Nagging wife really she a mom who trying to have the family spend what time is left with the son who is terminally ill....How can you call yourself a human being????

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  28. Yes, he said the money was going straight to the mortgage company.

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  29. Biff SchmuckatelliOctober 15, 2014 at 3:36 AM

    and how can you call yourself anything other than a man hating feminazi? That husband was working all the time for the wife and family, he wasn't doing anything wrong - all she did was threaten him with divorce - where's your compassion for the poor husband (assuming this whole episode is truthful and not another fake reality show plot)

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  30. Biff SchmuckatelliOctober 15, 2014 at 3:39 AM

    that's what's wrong with pc feminazi's they don't believe in judgment when a woman is involved. But if the roles were reversed, and the man stayed at home nagging a hard working woman and threatening divorce, you would be all over it with judgment and condemnation - one word for your ilk - hypocrite!

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  31. Biff SchmuckatelliOctober 15, 2014 at 3:42 AM

    yes of course, all American females are blameless and can never ever be wrong about anything or held accountable it's always Cherches Les Hommes

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  32. Biff SchmuckatelliOctober 15, 2014 at 3:44 AM

    them opening up another location doesn't pass the smell test as others have noted. It appears as if they took the 20k to open the new place and used their terminal son as leverage to browbeat the banks, etc to not foreclose - maybe they went to the media. I'm not stating this as fact, it is just my hypothesis.

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  33. Biff SchmuckatelliOctober 15, 2014 at 3:48 AM

    a lot of hard work, no money, no TV time or credits - anyone that volunteers for something like that has had their pilot light blown out some time ago.l

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  34. If she didn't want to be judged, she shouldn't have appeared on national television.
    If it's on my screen, I will judge however I want.

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  35. Her brood? I don't think she made those babies all by herself.

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  36. Volunteerism isn't about money or credit. It's about doing something good and maybe having some fune in the process.

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  37. umm absolutely not you cant
    believe everything you see on a tv so if you dont know the family personally dont judge,,,,,all for ratings!!!!!!!!

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  38. and i have every right to judge too!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  39. all for the rating sir..... all for the rating

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  40. friend of the family?

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  41. Go right ahead, I don't give a rat's ass. Unlike you, no one here is telling you not to

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  42. Rather obvious ain't it

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  43. That sick kid and 6 others were about to be on the street, you can;t yell at the guy for going to work. You think he would last long as a homeless kid? The guy has no choice but to try and save the business as best he can.

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  44. hi if you would like to speak to me directly find me on FB AND MESSAGE ME....... by the way I work at a major hospital to help support me & my husbands kids so before you judge me get your facts straight and the money went directly to the morgage company not that I have to explain that to you RI are the only ones that need to know that. YOU have NO idea what my marriage is and who is to blame. As for a second location you know NOTHING of that too. I can promise you that not one red cent came from my household for it ...... sincerly June
    ps I never wanted to do this show, I did not want my life plastered all over national TV I did it in support of my husband who asked me too and Never threatened my husband with divorce on national TV we already had major marital issues do to other things other than business that you have no CLUE about .... try watchin the show again and get your facts straight about me... and none of you NEED to speak ILL of my children that I go to work to support every day

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  45. June, thanks for commenting and trying to clear things up.

    Still curious about how you were able to expand to a second location if you are willing to share.

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  46. By the way working and taking care of a very sick child going to boston childrens hospital all the time takes a toll on any parent who has to do it all on their own with NO help .................. look up those facts about parents of terminally ill children before you judge one .....

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  47. Thank you. My thoughts also.

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  48. It's called Abudanza Express and is located about 6 miles from the main Abudanza. It's in Ludlow, MA which is just off I-90, so maybe it's a better location as far as business goes, not sure.

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  49. I'd be surprised if a bank put off a foreclosure due to a terminally ill child. I am in a business where I see a lot of foreclosures and I haven't yet run into a bank willing to wait on a foreclosure for such a reason. Typically the only reason they will stall it is if they think money will be coming in due to a business turn around, inheritance or something similar.

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  50. someone who has a heartOctober 15, 2014 at 10:26 PM

    You people are honestly heartless. I want to see you live a day in their shoes ! Don't have anything to say don't say it

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  51. It actually went to their mortgage so they have a place to live to keep the place going...if u dont know the whole story I suggest you keep your comments to yourself

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  52. Its ass* learn how to spell. She does bust her ass like she says in the show she works in the morning and takes care of the kids after work at night .

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  53. She was expressing the feeling about what the restaurant was doing to their marriage. The owner for the business??? He wouldn't want to do anything else but have that restaurant.yes she does have 7 kids..and unlike most people she doesn't sit at home and mooch, she works..but there is so much bills and medical bills for her to pay and she couldn't keep up. You think you have the whole story but you dont so mind your own business.

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  54. why is everyone hating on this episode? Nobody is getting hate on any other one

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  55. What an ugly person you are :) yeah I would want to sit in a room full of cans that have meaning behind it and where they have the face of a beautiful kid that has a giant heart !

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  56. Wow you have absolutely no heart..the child is sick can't you see? How would you feel if you know that your child could die at any moment? They want to have something that could look up and smile to because they actually have a heart unlike you.If you met him, you would instantly fall in love with him..oh wait but I dont think he would want to meet a piece of dirt like you. And yes, I would love to sit in a room with cans because they have a purpose unlike you.

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  57. Thank you, you actually have a heart unlike these people

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  58. Will you stop? Yes they did but that was in the process before RIGHT came. He wanted to expand so it didnt burn out. Just keep your comments to yourself

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  59. Its unbelievable how people like you can be. They were in the process of opening it before RIGHT came. Just shut up

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  60. He wanted to expand so it didn't burn out???? What does that even mean? Also, just as an FYI, when you ask for help from a TV show, you KNOW people will be watching and discussing what was on the show. That's what gets new people in the door after RI leaves.

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  61. Since you obviously aren't aware, it's arse in a lot of countries, namely England and Australia. Maybe the poster used it because it seemed less crude, who knows.

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  62. With other episodes, a few of post our "meh" opinions and move on. When people start coming in and telling commenters to shut up, to not judge, to stop talking, etc..it only fuels the fires.

    Honestly if you want us to stop talking about it...maybe you and your friends should do so first.

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  63. "don't have anything to say don't say it" What does that mean????? Doesn't make much sense.

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  64. Your response is making me laugh!!!!

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  65. not that I have to explain to anyone but Yes the place is in another establishment and was ready to go so no investment needed & no bills but rent, product, and employees and my other son is there hes 22 thank you for everyones distrust.... June

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  66. The makeover was amazing and personally I would rather live on the streets than have an ugly soul such as yours in my establisment ..... I would post what my husband said to reply but this is not the place to post such words

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  67. In fact, Americans pronouncing it ass is a corruption of arse. In most other English-speaking countries, an ass is a donkey.

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  68. Best of luck to you on both places.

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  69. Much of what they've said doesn't make sense, thanks for pointing that out. They also need spelling and grammar lessons or at the very least, a functioning spell check program.

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  70. From what I understand, the new location was in the works before the show. It appears that perhaps they felt they could increase revenue, that might explain that. Either way, it was difficult watching the toll of their son's illness taking effect. I felt for what they are facing. No one wants to lose a loved one. I believe that RI and Robert did a great thing, and since I don't know the full story, I'll just pray for the family.

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  71. You can sit in my garage there are llots of cans out there.

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  72. So you would have your 7 kids live as homeless people instead of having me in your place because I think the room full of cans is cheesy? Seems very selfish and a very bad life choice really.

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  73. Unfortunately, hoppy, you've opened yourself up for someone to criticize you for caring about grammar and spelling. However, I'm on you side, as you know.

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  74. I figured slings and arrows were on their way, but I knew you'd be in my corner! When people come to defend their friends, it just makes them look like idiots when they can't even spell basic words or figure out how to put a sentence together.

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  75. But I don't choose to air my life on TV and ask for hand outs.

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  76. Still doesn't answer the question how you can open another location with bad credit and major debt at the first location. Why not use that capital to improve the original restaurant?

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  77. If they were asking me for the load, I'd ask them just that. They didn't, so I'm just going to watch the show and wait for a way more annoying restaurant owner to spend time heckling.

    Seriously, this turn in RI for a "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" charity season isn't working for me. I'd rather that the Cooking Channel clones, like Restaurant Redemption and Restaurant Takeover get a shot on the "big" network.

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  78. You can sit in your own garage with your cans because your cans have no meaning what so ever to anybody. And you can sit and think of how you are such a disgrace and no life

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  79. Seriously you need to just get a life bro.

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  80. someone who has a heartOctober 16, 2014 at 11:04 PM

    One silly mistake forgot to put nice . Get a life

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  81. You are still playing victim here saying you did it all for your husband....

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  82. I'm starting to suspect we have one person making all those comments using different names. Writing style and phrases used are too similar.

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  83. That statement doesn't make any sense either. Have you heard of punctuation or sentence construction???

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  84. Why is it none of his business, loser?

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  85. Especially since they usually remove any personal pics from these restaurants.

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  86. Why does he need to "get a life"? It takes seconds to post comments.

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  87. Is it really any of our business? It's not OUR money Robert gave them. Who those checks were made out to and where the money went is really between Robert and the family.

    BTW: if the checks were made out to the mortgage company, then even if Robert gave the family the checks, they wouldn't be able to cash them themselves...

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  88. Will never understand why a family member would read the comments, let alone argue with people.

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  89. Actually I read her comment somewhere that she bought a stair o lator for the home for her son now that she knew they would stay in the home.

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  90. The thing I find a little annoying is that Robert gives $10K of his own money, which is like $10 to him, and the crew has to kick in $10K, and maybe for each of them part of that is a lot of money. He could have easily kicked in the $20K

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  91. Bill, my first thought was if the restaurant cannot sustain a steady profit going forward, they will be back in the same situation after a year or so.

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  92. Biff SchmuckatelliOctober 19, 2014 at 8:32 AM

    You have a very good point. In fact, just viewed again Michael Moore's Movie Capitalism, A Love Story - so I stand corrected, those banksters would never let a sick child prevent them from throwing the family out.

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  93. Biff SchmuckatelliOctober 19, 2014 at 8:34 AM

    probably sooner than that. They live in a high tax area and the restaurant business is probably the worst business to try to make a comfortable living. Few ever succeed in the long run. I think the wife stated that she works at another job, the husband should probably sell the restaurant and get gainful employment depending on his skill sets (what ever they may be)

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  94. Biff SchmuckatelliOctober 19, 2014 at 8:37 AM

    I think you meant "if you don't have anything good to say, keep quiet" In general, that is a good maxim to live by, but in our pressure filled, messed up society, people need to vent a little to let off steam and in general, reality tv is faked so it isn't the same as going up to people in real life and giving them a hard time about their problems. It's the same as goofing on the Kardashians, etc.

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  95. Biff SchmuckatelliOctober 19, 2014 at 8:44 AM

    That's a valid point. However, it really wasn't a good strategy to talk about divorce on the show. It would have been better to keep that to yourself because the show portrays the husband as a hard working martyr and you as basically the bad guy. That's how these shows operate, there always has to be a bad guy or girl in the mix. If one chooses to air their dirty laundry in public, it shouldn't come as a surprise that a lot of unkind criticism will come your way. I advise you to quit reading these forums and try to get on with your life. Most people realize that a lot of reality TV is faked. We tend to vent and let off steam because it's hard to look at the people portrayed in these shows as genuine. I don't think most people if they saw you all in real life would give you a hard time. Finally, it would probably be better to sell the restaurant, and have the husband get a regular job if possible (depending on his skill sets).

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  96. Biff SchmuckatelliOctober 19, 2014 at 8:53 AM

    that may well be but we can only go by what is presented on TV although it would be foolish to think that any reality show wasn't faked. Still Americans are so regulated, harassed and stressed by life in general that a little venting about a faked reality show can't really do any harm. Almost all of our rights in this country have been taken away, that's why so many people get offended when you state that we cannot judge, have opinions, etc. In Houston, the Mayor is subpoenaing the sermons and communications of pastors, so even freedom of religion is under threat. So please don't tell people what they should or shouldn't communicate. Bad speech is what needs protection, not going along with public opinion.

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  97. Biff SchmuckatelliOctober 19, 2014 at 9:02 AM

    valid point, but to me hard work isn't fun, and I'm not going to do something that's physically hard unless I absolutely have to (I'm a disabled Vet so moving around for any length of time can get painful and wears me out)

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  98. There are plenty of ways to volunteer that aren't physically taxing. I hobble around on a cane due to nerve damage after back surgery, but I still volunteer my professional services as an editor/proofreader to those who want them. Heck, most of the time, the documents can be emailed back and forth, and I don't even have to leave my house.

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  99. I think the sister-in-law was named Jill.

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  100. Princess StarlightOctober 19, 2014 at 1:44 PM

    Oh, god, not to jump on the bandwagon here but this is just making my brain hurt on trying to process what has been written. (I know I am not perfect when it comes to writing but man, at least people can understand what I am saying).

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  101. Read on the Food Network site that the child in the episode died.

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