Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Restaurant Impossible - Oleander Bar & Grill Update

Oleander Bar and Grill Restaurant Impossible
Tonight's Restaurant: Impossible has Robert Irvine going to the Oleander Bar & Grill in Olean, NY which is owned by a mother/daughter combination, Kelli and Abby.  The daughter Abby is 7 months pregnant, and the restaurant opened only 6 months ago and is already in trouble.  As I do every week, I searched around the internet to read stories, comments and reviews about the Oleander to get an idea of how the restaurant is doing since Robert Irvine visited.  There wasn't too much with this restaurant being new and in a small town, but here is what I found (note - all reviews and comments are post Restaurant: Impossible):

The Positive Reviews:
  • "Go eat here! The new Restaurant Impossible changes have made this place awesome"
  • "However I must say that the homemade french fries were excellent. My wife enjoyed her chicken tenders. We got a lot of food for the price we paid....Overall, I'd say the place is "okay", it wasn't bad but I was not impressed (except for the very friendly service). The prices were average, the decor was so/so, the quality of food was mediocre (however the quantity was great)....Would I give the Oleander another try?....maybe, but I would not hurry nor go out of my way to return."
  • "We were there for dinner a few Fridays ago and had the best fish fry that we've had in ages!!!" 
  • "The bacon cheese fries were DEEEELISH! Big enough to just be the meal"

The Negative Reviews:
  • "We ordered fish frys....The fish was overcooked. The beer battered was very dry. I did like the breading on the fish. But very dry. The whole menu is very limited. Not impressed with the choices. Will probably not return."
  • "I was looking forward to the french fries... Only to realize it's more like sponges filled with grease cut into the shapes of french fries... My medium burger was more like a charcoaled hockey puck. The roll was stale (my guess, their solution to that problem is toasting it.) The fish sandwich my coworker got was obviously of the frozen variety. Same stale issue with the roll. =[ After weeks of my coworker hassling me about ordering from there, I finally decide to, and BAM! Instant bad decision. I wish I could take the food back (that is now partially digested) and ask for my money back. No wonder it only cost 20$..... From now on, I will be dining at the Beef and Barrel instead of wasting time and money on the Oleander."
  • "We looked at the menu and we were disappointed in the limited options available. I know that Robert Irvine is loves short condensed menus, however as a customer, I prefer restaurants with a wider variety of menu options and I'm likely to dine at a restaurant more frequently that offers more choices. I don't care what Robert Irvine says: I think a one page menu is too short."
  • "We were there Wednesday. Four of go out once a month and this month it was the Oleander. Only a few people at 6:30. Menu was simple but a lot of variety. Service was pretty good. My wife asked the waiter what the steak was marinated in and he didn't know. The lobster bisque soup was cold, we had to send it back to be reheated. The mashed potatoes were cold and we had to send them back to be reheated. The food was very good, well seasoned, only cold. There are only two desserts on the menu and both were fantastic. We will go back." 


Before Kelli and Abby bought the restaurant, it was called Breadstix Cafe, which was at one point seized by the State of New York because the owner owed back taxes.  There were not too many reviews of the Oleander, so this is a small sample size, but it seems as not too many are impressed with the restaurant so far.  Most of the positive comments came from the Oleander Facebook Page, and although the last review complained about the food being cold, those customers would go back.  The recipes that Robert went over with them are still on the menu, but it looks like they still have some kinks to work out as far as food and service.

Reviews courtesy of Urbanspoon, Foursquare, and Facebook
Image courtesy of Olean Times Herald

UPDATE 11/2013 - The Oleander Bar  & Grill has Closed.  More information on the closing.


*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 


  1. So, my husband, two of our friends, and their children went there tonight! I was very excited! 

    For appetizers we ordered the fried green beans and the Ginger Chicken Flat Bread- They were out of green beans, so we got the Texas Wings (hot sauce covered steak fries) instead. Both were very good- though there wasn't a taste of ginger to the flat bread. 

    For dinner, the little one got chicken tenders - which were hand breaded and fried--in a dirty fryer- they tasted more like fish than chicken thanks to the unclean grease. I got the pork chop chef featured on here and it was good -- until I found blood in it, turning me completely off of it. My husband had the Greek Salad, which was alright, but nothing special. My friend got the salmon platter which was boring, bland and featured overcooked crab and very warm lettuce. Her husband got the Serious Burger which had a very, very funny spoiled-mustard taste. 

    We were there for over two hours. It took half an hour for the waitress to get our order and another half hour to get our appetizers. We were just about ready to say 'forget it' and leave, but then our food came. We should have just left. 

    The Oleander made no money on our meals tonight. They ended up comping the pork, the burger, the salmon, and the chicken tenders, along with our drinks. The only reason the waitress got a decent tip was because we couldn't find any ones and didn't want to wait for change- having two unhappy kids (one two years old) with us. 

    When I pointed out the bloody pork, the waitress said she'd tell the owner. I said I wanted to tell the owner myself. I was told that the owner was in Florida, but that I could stop in on Saturday to say something. Yeah, no, I'm never going back there again. 

    If your restaurant was JUST featured on national television why would you choose that week to vacation to Florida? Probably because nothing has changed and you don't wanna deal with unhappy customers. 

    (tl;dr? Food sucked, service sucked, don't go there.)

  2.  My wife and I visited Oleander on Saturday October 20th.
    This was the weekend after the restaurant was featured on Food Network.
    We were surprised to find the restaurant at only about 60 to 70%
    capacity at 630pm on a Saturday night. Once seated, it took
    approximately 20 minutes to be greeted by a server. Our server was very
    nice and polite. When she arrived to take our drink orders, we told her
    that we never received a drink menu. She said she would be right back.
    She came back ten minutes later (now we have been there 30 minutes). We
    ordered an appetizer (buffalo wings). They arrived in 15 minutes with
    minimal seasoning. I had better wings from a pizza joint. We then
    ordered dinner, I ordered Prime Rib and my wife a steak. The food was
    good, however, once our server delivered our food, we never saw her
    again until after our meal. I didn't even have silverware, so I had to
    steal some from another table. Bottom line: although the restaurant
    looks nice inside, it seems the management and attention to detail has
    not improved. It would seem to me that the only thing Restaurant
    Impossible has done for this restaurant has made the dining room appear
    nice/stylish. It is likely this place will be closed in a year. They
    table behind us were remarking how awful their experience was as well.

  3. I like the post for giving the relevant restaurant information on the topic and best thing is that I agree with them at majority of factors they mentioned in the topic.
    Restaurant bars in singapore

  4. The Oleander has greatly improved. Kelli is now operating the place alone after Abby quit three weeks ago. She took a bunch of cash from the register like a spoiled punk would do. The verbal fighting never stopped.  Now Kelli has proper control of the restaurant and she will make it prosper. Yea to Kelli and BIG BOO'S to Abby

  5.  doesnt suprise me at all.  could tell by her attitudet this was going to happen

  6. just saw the tv show (rerun). its a shame the daughter turned out to be a crook. I naively thought the mother daughter team would work.