Monday, October 6, 2014

Restaurant Impossible - Padre Rita Grill Update

Photo - Food Network
Tonight on Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine and his crew are in South Padre Island, Texas to makeover the Padre Rita Grill.  The restaurant has been open for four years and has both food and music, but is apparently not good at either.  Robert needs to get rid of the tacky decor and get the owners to focus more on their bottom line to turn the restaurant around.  As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about the Padre Rita Grill 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:
  • "Ordered the South Padre burger and it was EXCELLENT! All food we ordered was hot and fresh! Service was excellent as well!.... The food here was less expensive than others we have eaten at, on and off the island."
  • "This was our first trip to the island and I had researched all the restaurants. We were only there for a week but this was my favorite. I hesitated because of the bad reviews since the makeover but was pleasantly surprised to find a great restaurant and exceptional wait staff. And the food........outstanding!...On the negative side, the chairs that were chosen in their recent makeover are terrible. The men in our group didn't have as much discomfort and the ladies. They lean back too far and the fronts cut off circulation in anyone 5'6" or shorter. Your feet can't touch the floor. Still worth the visit even with this problem."
  • "Food was good - Arrived early about 6:30pm for dinner and we were seated outside on the patio. Furniture wasn't particularly comfortable, but we weren't there to eat the furniture. I ordered grilled skirt steak salad which tasty but had a little too much lime juice on it....Our server was polite and though it took awhile to get our food, he kept us apprised of the status of our order."


Negative Reviews:
  • "The hostess was very sweet and did a great job of hyping up the new menu by Chef Irvine. I honestly think Taco Bell or Taco Cabana would have been a better choice. The smoking margarita was not good. We had our hopes up for delicious  food and were very disappointed. The prices were far too high. The owner playing guitar and singing was speaking to my friend at the table saying he looked super bored. It was extremely inhospitable and awkward. Will definitely not go back there. Tourist trap."
  • "I really wanted to like this place. When we walked in we were greeted by some sweet hostess who explained that they had just reopened from The Food Network giving them an overhaul....Staff- With the exception of the hostess the staff was very unprofessional and slow....Food- It was so cold who knows if it would have tasted better warm. The margarita was pretty, but I might as well have drank straight tequila.... The guacamole was in a condiments plastic container. Not worth the $10.  Overall, it was not a good experience. We saw several people walk out because of the service and one table refusing to pay for the quality of food they received. We should have taken that warning and left ourselves."
  • "First impressions,  something out of a bad combo of Hee Haw and Miami Vice episode when it comes to looks.  Menu is severely limited.  Margaritas,  meh. Owner plays music so don't be fooled by the "live" music ads since it's only okay.  Singer talks more than David Lee Roth at a Van Halen concert."
  • "First time visiting the island and saw this place looked busy so decided to give it a try. Big mistake. The water tasted horrible like something was wrong with it. Then the food came. The food was horrific. Took 3 bites and asked for our check. Food, service and atmosphere was very bad. If you see this place just keep driving."
  • "I love Restaurant Impossible, but Robert sure screwed up this one. Some of my former favorites were the fabulous comfortable chairs, great deluxe nachos, variety, buffet, and tropic charm. Not any more since the Irvine makeover -- stark typical faux beach look is the word. I think they put the entire $10K into blue paint and ridiculous beach canvas changing room for the great musician"
  • "The first time my husband and I went, it didn't go well. Since it was revamped and featured on Restaurant Impossible, we gave it a second try. That was a big mistake.... Nothing tasted fresh....When we were there many others began complaining about the service and quality of food. Save your money. Go somewhere else."
*Reviews from Yelp, Tripadvisor

Other News and Links:
  • Here is the Padre Rita Grill website, and their Facebook page, which is kept up-to-date.  Their profile photo is a picture with Robert Irvine and their cover photo is another picture of Robert Irvine with the caption "South Padre Island Cuisine Created By Chef Irvine."
  • Here is their menu, in which they have "Robert Irvine's Creations" marked with a star.  The menu looks much larger than the usual post Restaurant Impossible menus.
  • Here are a few pictures of the interior from their Facebook page.
  • The restaurant was originally named PadreRitaVille, but it they apparently had to change the name due to Jimmy Buffett.  I wasn't able to confirm that as the reason though. 
  • The location the restaurant is listed for sale for $850,000.  The listing is still active, but has been on the market for over 4 years (1654 days as of writing this).  Another listing says the property is rented for $5,000 a month.  So, it appears it is the owners of the building are trying to sell and not the Padre Rita Grill owners.

Conclusion:

There are a lot more negative reviews than positive ones for Padre Rita Grill since the Restaurant Impossible visit with reviews complaining about the food and service.  Some people complained about high prices, while others thought the prices were less expensive than nearby restaurants.  People also had complaints about the new seating, which is uncomfortable. 

Padre Rita Grill seems to be very happy about their Restaurant Impossible experience with hostesses telling customers about it, the menu having "Robert Irvine's Creations" marked, and their Facebook page having Restaurant Impossible related pictures.  With the restaurant being in a large tourist area, maybe the appeal of visiting a restaurant that was featured on Restaurant Impossible can help bring in customers.


*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

55 comments:

  1. Matt, Buffett vigorously protects his copyrights and trademarks. They more than likely got a cease and desist letter from his attorneys about the name.

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  2. Here's an interesting bit of info...

    http://www.trademarkia.com/padreritaville-85085918.html

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  3. Great link. Link states the decision to abandon the name PadreRitaVille was an inter partes decision. From Wikipedia:

    The term inter partes is the Latin for "between the parties."[1] It can be distinguished from in rem, referring to a legal action whose jurisdiction is based on the control of property, or ex parte referring to a legal action that is by a single party.

    Lawsuits where all interested parties have been served with adequate notices and are given a reasonable opportunity to attend and to be heard are referred to as inter partes proceedings or hearings. When a judgment is given, subject to any right of appeal, it would be inconvenient if the same issues could be endlessly relitigated by the same parties, so they are all bound by the result. However, anyone who was not a party to those proceedings and who can demonstrate a legitimate interest in reopening the issue, is entitled to petition the court for the right to be heard. However, in some circumstances, the judgment is given in rem, i.e. it binds everyone whether they were a party to the case or not.

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  4. Turned this one off after the drama queens little tantrum to begin the show.

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  5. I just started watching this episode and already Cathy's attitude absolutely makes me furious! She ASKED Robert to come and help and she treats him like dirt? What is up with that?! I don't care that she 'wears her emotions on her sleeve' as her husband says, she must have been aware of what Robert does and how he acts from watching the show! If it were ME, I'd have walked away almost immediately.

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  6. I don't understand why she thought she was being personally attacked when he was just asking questions about the business.

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  7. Me neither. Like my husband said, "RI didn't call YOU lady, you called THEM."
    I absoutely do not care for the chairs they chose for the makeover. I can see why people say they're uncomfortable, but then again, the ones they had weren't very practical. There's a new restaurant near us that has very uncomfortable seating and we haven't returned because who wants to be uncomfortable when eating?

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  8. She got better, but I'd have walked out when it first started. She's lucky Robert came and not me!

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  9. Sign above a walkway, which he takes down: "Be nice or leave." Irvine's response: "(repeating the saying on the sigh) They obviously don't know I'm here, (throws the sign to the floor) that's how nice I'm going to be."


    He walked in there with an attitude not to mention acting like an asshat doing his usual griping and disrupting the decor as he walked in.


    I turned it off too, probably for good this time..

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  10. You keep promising you won't watch the show anymore but you keep coming back. I think you like to complain about RI.

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  11. And that lady's baby voice. I don't know how Robert can stand them.

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  12. That's all you can add?

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  13. Quick.....call Century 21!

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  14. Yep. Buffett won a major lawsuit against a restaurateur who named his place Cheeseburger [not in, BTW] Paradise. In the end, the publicity made the man's business boom, so everygody won.

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  15. All television shows, no matter how popular, run their course. Restaurant Impossible is coming to the end of the line.

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  16. I didn't get the Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville connection. But Padre Rita? Padre is Spanish for father, and is usually reserved for Catholic priests. Rita is a female name. There are no female Catholic priests. So right off the bat there's confusion.

    The decor makeover was fine, excepting the chairs it seems.

    Husband seems to be a realist which is good. Wife, ugh, being so compassionate is good in a nurse, but when you are a business owner sometimes you have to be an a__hole. Give direction to the employees and if they don't follow through, fire them. Or maybe it was all an act on her part to create drama (a long time musician manager would understand the need for good theater.)

    As to the food and service, sometimes it's prompt and warm and good other times it isn't, per the reviews. So there are still problems in the kitchen and with the wait staff. 2 days and $10,000 can't fix that.

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  17. I think RI jumped the shark when it did the bowling alley.

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  18. The Padre is a reference to the restaurant being on South Padre Island—not to a priest—and the Rita is definitely short for margarita. Ville? There's no question in my mind that the original name was a play on Margaritaville, especially since they made it one word, and I'm sure they heard from Buffett's legal team.



    It's still a confusing name, but Grill makes much more sense anyway. I would personally have dropped the Rita part.

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  19. sorry, but I was 100% with the wife at the beginning of this episode. I'm so tired of Robert Irvine coming out and grilling these owners about the cost of this, the value of this, the amount of this, and on and on and on. Why he can't just say bring me out your P&L (or computer) and let's go over it. It's like he's purposely asking questions with the intention of embarrassing them, rather than doing a much more appropriate review of actual numbers (actual, as opposed to the ones that they have tried to memorize for his benefit). Yes, all owners should have a rough approximation of what they're spending and what their costs are, that goes for any business. But if I were asked to rattle off numbers, upon first meeting someone, on camera, and under pressure and nervous, I'm not so sure that I would do any better job. She's right, it makes for great ratings.

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  20. Robert's job is to see what's wrong with the business. Any restaurant owner worth his salt can answer those very basic questions. I own four restaurants and could tell you everything he asked about each of my stores. She was pissed because she was embarrassed that she didn't know her business and he called her on it. He can't fix what's wrong if he doesn't ask questions. Looking at a piece of paper doesn't give you the whole picture.Robert and this show are changing lives and she changed her tune when she figured that out.

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  21. Not buying it. If you know RI is coming to your restaurant, any owner with a brain would be running those numbers consistently & be well versed in what they are. As Irvine said, he has limited time and has to get to the bottom of the problems right away. Knowing that information helps immediately.
    I ran a restaurant and part of the daily paperwork was the food and labor costs. Every day. I could have reeled off those numbers to anyone, whether I'd just met them or not.

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  22. Paulas attempt to "white wash" her tarnished image is so very transparent. Paula...please stop. Retire and enjoy your millions. You can't fix this problem. Accept it. The people she is paying big $$$ to fix her image won't tell her this.....they are profiting by her mess.

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  23. I need to go back and find all the people on the Food Network site who called me a "hater" just because I said this place would close within months lol.

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  24. You'd think comfortable chairs would be a must for any renovation.

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  25. He should get paid more for those episodes. I don't know how he feels about how many places are just turning around and selling after all the work he does with them.

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  26. I think this show is steadily going down in quality, and yet for some reason, I keep watching it too. I still like Chef Irvine. It's the fact that most of these owners are turning around and selling that makes me want to shut it off... but I keep watching anyway. I think I have a problem.

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  27. She even said she knew her husband had memorized answers to the questions he knew Robert would ask. Why didn't she make any effort to at least sound like a knowledgeable owner?

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  28. At least her husband studied up for Robert's visit. She seemed to think the baby voice and the giggling would cut it.

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  29. True. Thank goodness there was one in the family that had a foot in reality.

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  30. She's probably had success in her life with that fragile baby girl act. I don't see her as an effective nurse either, but obviously that's just an opinion based on her behavior.

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  31. I didn't expect it to close so soon.

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  32. Plus stupid Egyptian décor via designer Lynn, who apparently doesn't know the definition of Paleolithic.

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  33. I doubt he cares much. He gets paid regardless doesn't he?

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  34. SHe is an unstable airhead that could not run a hot dog cart...

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  35. Buffet should worry more about his crappy music, but middle aged people still crowd into his shows so I guess he does not need to.

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  36. Probably. But I would feel like my work is futile if I were in his position.

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  37. I thought Robert was being a bit tough on her, but in his defense, she was pushing his buttons by not knowing anything about her restaurant, and wasting his time with the damsel in distress act. If she called him to fix her restaurant, then she's well aware that she should have had her facts and figures together before he came, and that Irvine does not suffer fools gladly.

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  38. The wife was a total emotional time bomb. Nice temper tantrum there girlie. What an idiot. She was so annoying. What was all of that pink garbage in her hair??? Grow up honey!!!

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  39. The wife and all the servers looked dirty and unkempt. Like they sleep in a dumpster overnight and do not own combs,soap or shampoo. I would walk into this place - see the grubby looking staff - and leave immediately. Would it have hurt the wife to go to a beauty salon and spend $50 before appearing on national television ? Several million people saw her look awful on TV. You have to wonder if her elevator doesn't quite go to the top floor.The food could be the best in the world.Having it brought to your table by these grungy folks would be more than I could take.

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  40. The infantile wife seems to either be off her psych meds or needs them adjusted. What an effin FRUITCAKE! How does the husband, who looked fairly normal deal with that kook? And yes....before you go on national television, get your hair done (would help to take the pink feathers out too).

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  41. The wife seems like she took way took much LSD on a Grateful Dead tour and never quite came back.

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  42. I will be called sexist but I don't care. My personal experiences with females in charge is that at best they are tolerable, but usually they are awful.. The woman in this episode enforces that opinion of mine.

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  43. Biff SchmuckatelliOctober 15, 2014 at 3:53 AM

    obviously a pair of laid back California hippie types that thought good karma would take care of everything - they didn't want to deal with mere details. Complements though on their 37 years of marriage which is a better track record than most of us have.

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  44. Last concert I was at, the ages in the audience ranged from single digits to the 70s.

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  45. Biff SchmuckatelliOctober 20, 2014 at 1:58 AM

    one needs a certain quality to be a good leader and manager. I call it manliness, though since it is illegal to be a real man in the USA we now call it womanliness. Margaret Thatcher, Janet Reno, George Patton and Abraham Lincoln had this quality which can be exhibited in either men or women (not sure about LGBT people - not an expert in that field)
    but this woman didn't have the quality - she wanted everything to workout through osmosis

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  46. Biff SchmuckatelliOctober 20, 2014 at 2:06 AM

    knew this place was doomed. I bet the brother in California took the money and ran leaving the older and more gullible brother holding the bag

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  47. Agreed. They all looked like they needed a good scrub and shampoo. Would gross me out if someone leaned over my table with hair hanging down like that over my food.

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  48. I bet most of them could only name 2 songs...

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  49. Paula is just fake, annoying, and has terrible food. Her being racist is just overkill as far as not liking her.
    I looked up a dish once and her recipe came up, it had a can of cambell's soup in it! That is gross!

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  50. You must be the ridiculous, belligerent, immature owner of this restaurant.

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  51. Can you believe her infantile arrogance when she told Robert he should have done his homework? They didn't know he was coming? They've never watched the show. Classic example of entitlement.

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  52. Barely, I couldn't believe when he told both Robert and her to stop. Obviously clueless as to his wife's belligerence and blind to her infantile behavior.

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