Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Restaurant Impossible - Mystic Treats Update - Closed

Photo - Twitter
Tonight on Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine and his crew are in Ashland, Oregon to makeover Mystic Treats.  The owners Mike and Erika opened the restaurant three years ago and hoped to attract customers with their vegetarian and offbeat pizzas.  That concept has failed them and Robert needs to educate the owners, get them to choose an identity for the restaurant and redesign the menu.  As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about Mystic Treats 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):



This will not be a normal update as the restaurant is already closed.  The Restaurant Impossible makeover was in early November and the restaurant closed just a month after that in early December.

On December 8th, 2014, they posted on their Facebook page (which is no longer active):
"We have decided to close.  Over the next week, we will be selling several small items. come in and say goodbye."
Other News and Links:
  • The restaurant was in Talent, Oregon for 2 years, then moved to Ashland, Oregon.  The move cost the restaurant about $40,000 and their rent increased from $1,750 a month to $3,200 a month and eventually increased to $4,200 a month due to terms that increased rent $500 every 6 months. The building the restaurant is in has hosted many restaurants over the past 16 years. (Link)
  • In a September 2014 article, the restaurant said they were a week away from closing, and borrowed $5,000 from a loyal customer to stay open.  They said the rent was steep and they were behind on rent.  They also said the landlord was "tenacious."
  • When the restaurant closed, they posted some drama with their landlord on their Twitter page,, which is linked to their Instagram.  They said they were locked out by the landlord and offered no flexibility.  They also captioned a picture with, "$10,000 MAKEOVER - Now that we had the space renovated Becker Property can't wait to force Mystic Treats out so they can make even more money off our failure."  The restaurant also posted an email from the property management company that said they could remove their personal items, but if TV cameras were present, the doors would stay locked.
  • The retail space is listed for lease at $1.75 per square foot per month.  With there being 3,868 square feet, that puts monthly rent at $6,769, which is a large increase from what Mystic Treats was paying.
  • If you are interested in reviews of the restaurant, here are some from Yelp and Tripadvisor.

Conclusion:

It sounds like this one didn't have much of a chance as they were too far behind on rent and they had a landlord that wanted the money they were owed.  Moving their restaurant to the new location seems to be what doomed them.

*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

46 comments:

  1. Princess StarlightJanuary 28, 2015 at 4:22 PM

    Just right after Robert admits he has closed down his restaurants.

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  2. Will they admit at the end of the episode that the restaurant is now closed?

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  3. I highly doubt it

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  4. Thank God for a new episode, I'm so sick of the RI countdowns! How many are they going to have?

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  5. And they did admit that it closed at the end of the show.

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  6. I cannot understand why they chose to relocate considering what it cost them. $40,000 is nothing to sneeze at just by itself without factoring in the large increase in rent. Maybe they thought business would be better, but that's crazy.

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  7. I am glad to see such a likeable couple during this show rather than the typical angst filled episode. I really liked them and feel bad that this restaurant wasn't successful.

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  8. The countdowns just highlighted all the obnoxious drama. I'm all set with those too.

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  9. They were certainly willing to accept criticism and learn from Robert. I agree that they might have been okay if they'd had more time. The landlord certainly didn't seem very willing to work with them.

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  10. I agree. They really are likeable, and it's a shame they didn't even have a chance to turn around. I wish RI had visited them much earlier than they did. I think they could have been saved.

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  11. Just a question...
    is it normal for a landlord to put a $500 increase every six months in a contract or is that something unusual?

    If it is, it seems like they doom the renter to failure before they even open the doors.

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  12. What happened beyond the closing?

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  13. When I googled and found out they had already closed, I must admit I chuckled. But thinking what happened to the couple sobered my mood PDQ. My condolences to them.

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  14. Sounds like they owed a lot of people, including their staff, quite a bit of money, but the coup de grace was the landlords kept wanting more and more money, apparently to take advantage of the 10K makeover for themselves to raise rent.

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  15. Not that I've ever seen. Leases are normally by the year with a rent increase once at the beginning of the next year, at least the ones I've signed. And I never would have agreed to a $1000 a month increase in rent, especially over the first year. When the landlord gave them those terms, they should have laughed and told the realtor (if they had one) to find a different space. The jump in rent from $1750 to $3200 a month alone would have had me looking elsewhere.

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  16. I'm guessing that's the first time they've been honest since season 1.

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  17. From the first link:
    "Their new site has seen a succession of restaurants come and go,
    including an Azteca restaurant that was there for 16 years and then, in
    relatively quick order, a Korean barbecue, another Mexican restaurant
    and an Old Farmhouse eatery."

    So there had been a long time restaurant, and now in quick succession four failures. Sounds like the landlords are the problem. Ashland is a well off area and hosts an annual Shakespeare festival. So it is a prime location, but you have to give a new restaurant a chance to build up a clientele. I hope the location stays empty for a long time.

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  18. Seems as if this couple/this restaurant might have had an legitimate chance at turning things around, if they'd had more time and if their lease hadn't been so financially crippling.

    The restaurant part...??? Sure, they kinda got in over their heads. But they were on board with making changes. They might have been able to right the ship, in that regard.

    The lease part...??? What were they thinking...???

    That was just a bad business decision for any business owner to have made.

    As another poster stated, if someone puts a lease in front of you with terms as paralyzing as the terms to which the owners of Mystic Treats agreed - just find another place to rent. Move on. There's got to be another location in Ashland, Ore., to open-up a quirky little neighborhood restaurant.

    In the end, though, the owners voluntarily signed that legally binding contract - even if it was a terrible deal and the landlords are a bunch of barracudas.

    So, I can't really blame a property management company for holding their renters accountable for the terms of their lease. In the same way that restaurants don't make money when they have no customers, property management companies don't make money when they allow their tenants to stop paying the rent.

    That's the way businesses work.

    I really do feel bad for the owners, though. They seem like decent, well-intentioned people.

    Ultimately, I guess they were just hanging on to hope and being overly optimistic - if not also a little bit delusional - that a new location would bring in significantly more customers and, therefore, solve all of their business-related problems. If the solution were that simple, of course, then no restaurant ever would fail.

    Good luck to Mike and Erika in their next endeavor.

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  19. Yeah, I think the landlords saw a way to capitalize on the show having done the renovation. The link to the business listing shows the old restaurant before Mystic Treats. So no one looking to rent a restaurant that looks at this will see any of the makeover. All the photos are old. Not very smart, IMO.

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  20. I've never heard of it & I agree with you. Can't even get their feet under them before the increases start.

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  21. I'm thinking after the Azteca restaurant left, the landlords got greedy & started adding the $500 price increase every 6 months.

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  22. Seems like RI would at least vet places a bit better in order to avoid a hopeless cause. At least these were likable people instead of trash like several other episodes(Gombazz, Renea's Corner, Portugreek, countless others)

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  23. It was such a cool makeover, and I actually feel sorry for the owners. They seemed ready to make it work, and it might have if given time. Debt was just too much, coupled with what appears to be a landlord who was taking advantage of them to get rid of the restaurant, have the property for themselves. I liked the owners, and I sincerely wish them the best.

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  24. Bad reasoning and bad use of statistics. The *average* fail rate of restaurants may be 50% (assuming that's true), but those featured on the show are not a random sample or a representative sample of the overall restaurant population. These are restaurants that typically are on the brink of going out of business (hence the need for the show's help). It's safe to assume that he fail rate of restaurants in *this* category would be much much higher than 50%. It's plausible that ALL OF THEM would be out of business if not for the show, and if that's the case then RI has been pretty successful in their mission.

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  25. Next week they countdown their top 10 best countdown episodes.

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  26. Merlin_Arrowhead_AddictJanuary 31, 2015 at 2:27 PM

    Good point, but that assumes that the restaurants are honestly on the brink of going out of business. Is there an independent way of finding on the financial status of those restaurants pre-RI?

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  27. Only RI knows how much vetting they do. Though there may be a few restaurants that are just doing this to get the free makeover (i.e. aren't failing financially), that scenario seems pretty atypical. You can plainly see that these restaurants are problematic. Being on this show appears to be a move for the desperate, a deal with the devil in a sense. The owners are often portrayed in an embarrassing light, and the show goes out of its way to accentuate the filth, bugs, and general incompetence. There is just as much bad publicity as there is good publicity in being on this show.

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  28. I noticed they were serving Terra Chips with the burgers. If they were using the real deal, hoo boy, that's a big cost. ;) I love them, but only buy them when on sale.

    "The building the restaurant is in has hosted many restaurants over the past 16 years." I see the same thing in my town in many places. Usually has to do with lack of parking and middle-of-nowhere, 'who would even think there was a restaurant here?' locations. Our mall is also half empty because of the greedy owners/landlords and their questionable decisions.

    Tom, why didn't you put the lightbulbs *in* the trombones instead of just around them? Ah well, doesn't even matter.

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  29. This show may make other restauranteurs think twice about about having a makeover for a space they only rent. Also, as for the comments about the show not being honest about restaurants closing, that's hogwash. At the end of this episode, it did say the restaurant had closed. In this case it happened very quickly, just 1 month after the show was filmed. But for others where it has happened after the show has aired, I have seen it posted online on the RI updates.

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  30. Interesting that you mention Buffett. He's our one annual indulgence, and with decent tickets, priority parking, and the distance of the venue from my home, the bill usually exceed $300 for the two of us. It's ultimately worth it, but it definitely restricts us to a once a year treat.

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  31. I generally avoid Buffett concerts because I don't like crowds. 2006 (I think) at the Flamingo in Las Vegas was the last one, 1995 and 2 of his 1990 Solo Acoustic Tour shows before that. I'd go if he did another solo tour. Just him and Mac McAnally. Perfect shows except for the asshat behind me kicking my seat that I had to threaten to break his legs if he didn't stop. Oh, and everyone climbing over seats the second night to get some pizza he had ordered.


    The Flamingo show was funny because before the final song, he announced the party was moving to Margaritaville (which was having it's grand opening a couple of weeks later). Knowing no one who wasn't a high roller or had connections was getting into the party, I scooted out and grabbed a seat outside the door by the reception stand and watch all the angry Parrotheads who descended on the club and were turned away because it was a private party and they weren't on the list! lol By morning, the garbage cans around the casino and hotel were overflowing with Buffett related stuff and there was still a lot of grumbling going on about not getting to party with Buffett even though they spent a lot to go there to see the show.


    I did go back over New Years (planned months earlier) and paid $125 for Margaritaville's NYE party and soft opening. Drinks, food, champagne toast at midnight. Drinks were their regular high price, the food was one display table with mostly sliced vegetables and a nasty looking dip, and about once an hour, they would bring out 1 (one) tray of mini-Cheeseburgers in Paradise, which would disappear immediately. There was talk all week that Buffett was going to show up, but of course he didn't. I should have taken the money and went somewhere else. I could have went up to The Venetian and saw Paris Hilton and Nicole Richey. lol

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  32. The 1977 Buffett concert was good because people still sat in their seats and listen to the show rather than standing, yelling, dancing/drunk staggering around like the one I went to in 1995. That was before the Parrothead thing really took off. I know someone in his band and could probably get backstage for the whole show, but I don't want to be a pest by asking.

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  33. I'll think about it, it's still a ways out for me to plan. If I do go, it'll probably be a last minute decision. I'm only a few miles away from the casino he's going to be at and I don't anticipate he'll sell out.

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  34. I'm really surprised, since some seriously ugly posts have been reported but not remove.

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  35. At least Gordon Ramsay knew when to pull the plug. I quit watching RI about the time an owner, watching him eat, said to his staff, "Here's where he makes the face."

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  36. They give him challenges like Dinner Impossible, so he wouldn't have time to go into fake counselor mode.

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  37. They made everything from scratch like ketchup, cheese, pickles. So they would almost certainly not buy easy to make bagged chips.

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  38. Very disappointed to read this, but not surprised. We visit a lot of the Food Network chef's restaurants and have been to nosh! many times when passing through. The food was always excellent (really going to miss the lamb burger), the service was good (though lately it had gotten complacent), and the decor excellent (think it was done by Tom). It was always worth the detour to get there. We had noticed that it was never busy, but we chocked it up to the fact that we always went around 3:00. However, when we finally made it there for dinner on a weekend and it was the same story, that's when we realized that it probably wouldn't be around much longer. We'd hoped to finally visit Eat! on that trip, but it was already closed.


    Robert Irvine seems to be a great guy. My brother met him (didn't know who he was at first) returning from his last tour in Afghanistan. Can't thank Robert enough for his dedication to the troops. But I wholeheartedly agree with many of the other posters below, for a guy who "saves" restaurants, having only two restaurants and both of them go out of business in just over a year really puts a ding in his credibility. Very sad.

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  39. He's been doing RI for several years now, so why did he think trying to run two restaurants while devoting 11 months out of the year to the show was a good idea? He's always getting on other people's cases about trying to split their attention on other enterprises instead of devoting 100% of their efforts to their restaurants, yet he doesn't seem capable of following his own advice.

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  40. "I failed at running two restaurants while doing the show, so the best solution is to now run THREE restaurants while doing the show! I am so smart! S-M-R-T!"

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  41. So glad this site exists, not only because—unlike at fn.com—the commenters are, by and large, sensible people (there's a severe lack of spam here, too! Woo!), but because we see the unadulterated numbers. Padding is bad! (at least in this case)

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  42. I really need to download more episodes of D:I. I think the show ended before I even got Food Network, so I've seen very little of it.

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  43. I guess 2 days and $10,000 wasn't enough to save it, huh? LOL !

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  44. There were at least 4 Old Farmhouse restaurants in Southern Oregon, they all closed down. It is interesting how many restaurants were in that location in Ashland and closed.

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  45. Greedy Landlord wants to squeeze every drop of blood; can't even wait until they can get on their feet. Well now the greedy SOB has an empty building bringing in nothing. Hope he chokes on it for a while...

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