Sunday, June 16, 2013

Restaurant Impossible - Pier West Update

Photo - Food Network
Tonight on Restaurant Impossible, Robert Irvine and crew are going to Twin Lakes, Wisconsin to help out the Pier West restaurant.  The restaurant has lake views, and owner Chip Wamsley has been making his family angrier and angrier with the restaurant going deeper into debt.  Robert seems to be the only one who has his back as he tries to turn the restaurant around and reunite the family.  As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about Pier West 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:
  • "Restaurant Impossible Robert Irvine came and did a make over here. What a difference. A new menu, better trained staff and management, new decor, same gorgeous view of Lake Mary. The food is very good.... All around we hope they keep up the "new and improved" Pier West. They are an asset to this community."
  • "My food was quickly served, cooked exactly as I had ordered. Simple, delicious and reasonable. I'll be back to try some other menu items soon."
  • "They redid the joint AND. the menu! The food is even better now, it was horrible before!....Great food AND a great view! It should be a good summer for pier west this year!"
  • "I finally got to check out the new Pier West since it's Restaurant Impossible makeover.  The decor looked great and the food was fresh and delicious.  The only issue I had is that the service was back to being slow like it was in the past.  I look forward to bringing my family back for the food and atmosphere."

Negative Reviews:
  • "I must have had a bout of amnesia because I decided it would be a good idea to go back to Pier West for dinner. Having faith in the results of the show Restaurant Impossible, I thought "hey why not give Pier West a try". Well guess what, the food was terrible and the service was even worse. This was especially astounding because the restaurant was approximately 1/8 full and there was a server for every table."
  • "We ate here today for the first time after hearing about all of the improvements. It was a Sunday at 1pm and the restaurant was empty, although the outside patio was mostly full. We ordered 4 burgers and 1 macaroni and cheese and it took almost an HOUR for our food to come....... Hoping they improve their service since it is a lovely place with a great view of the water."
  • "I thought it was ok..... Overall it was too expensive for just an ok meal."
*Reviews from Yelp, Tripadvisor, and Google+

Other Stories: 
  • In a local article, the owner stated he charges higher prices during the summer months and lower prices during the winter for the local customers and expects to be called out by Robert for that.
  • Someone wrote a complaint about Pier West on Ripoff Report, which was titled: "Pier West Chip Wamsley is psychotic, vindictive and a very unprofessional employer; father of 6 kids by 6 mothers which he does not even pay child support on them all. Twin Lakes Wisconsin"
  • A review that was listed on multiple websites stated: "They wrote me two bad checks & have since refused to pay for services rendered. The work was done on 4/9/12 & involved several hundred dollars in parts. We are still owed over $1000. Shame on the people that run this place. Hopefully this review will serve as a warning for other contractors & service providers. DO NOT DO ANY WORK FOR THIS PLACE! (My ratings of food, decor & service were required in order to add my two cents. Based on the other reviews thank God I never ate there. Count my poor marks as my review of the owners integrity)"    The reviewer has also said that they plan on suing the restaurant.


The reviews for Pier West are pretty average for the restaurant since Restaurant Impossible visited, however they have improved from the reviews before the visit.  It seems as the food has improved, however the service is still slow and seems to still be an issue.  The main draw of the restaurant is the view over the lake, so if they can figure out the service, they shouldn't have problems succeeding.  Being in Wisconsin, the outdoor dining and lake view is more beneficial in the summer, so they will have to figure out how to keep customers coming in the winter months.

With the Food Network episode description stating owner Chip Wamsley is making his family "angrier and angrier," coupled with the ripoff report complaint and the review about writing bad checks, it will be interesting to see how Chip comes across on this episode. 

UPDATE 1/2014 - Pier West 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. What is wrong with Chip? He never seemed exited with the experience, not even the reveal. He looked as if he was expecting a favor from the FN and his family

  2. Chip seems like a problem 42 yr old child with a drinking or drug problem the way he acts and burns through money. His family seems to know more but not revealing it.

  3. Chip spent most of the episode grinning like an idiot. At least he's on his meds.
    If this restaurant goes down I'd look at him first. Kudos to fng for not cherry picking reviews

  4. This restaurant is never going to succeed with Chip being in charge. He has already written bad checks.

  5. Chip is a loser. And losers are always losers.

  6. His mother is a horrible person with no faith or compassion for her child.

  7. This place reminded me so much of Mars on Lake Como in Wisconsin in the Lake Geneva area. Bad decor etc but I don't think that place is hurting. Getting a new decor and fancy menu never solves the issues, does it?

  8. Chip's a drunken loser still sucking on daddy's teat, and needed a WAKE-UP call. No way I would trust food from this kitchen. If evolution took its proper course, Chip would have been hyena-food as a retarded child. I'm wondering if it was fetal-alcohol syndrome. What a piece of work.

  9. Went on a Saturday afternoon--it is the height of the summer season, but the place was empty. No paper towels in women's bathroom. Burgers were OK, but ribs and slaw were yukky. They threw half of an orange into my Long Island Iced Tea; not only does that take up alot of room, you simply cannot get it out without spilling what is left of the alcohol in there! To think they have this great chance to make it work out well and they STILL are nowhere near some of the other great restaurants around Twin Lakes. Won't go back again, their prices are too high for mediocre service and food.

  10. I disagree — I think she is just totally fed up. I don't blame her.

  11. Twin lakes residentJuly 21, 2013 at 5:17 PM

    Are you kidding me? how long to you support a grown man who can not get his act together!!! What a loser, he needs to be on his own and put on his big boy pants. His family is just enabling his horrible life style.

  12. The restaurant is now poorly run by the owner's other son, Brian. He can't be bothered most times to invest his time, but does spend a good deal of time in his office with his "exceptional whiskey." He has been overheard telling people he is a partner, not the owner. He explained to the staff he then doesn't have to take responsibility for the shortcomings of the restaurant rather than fixing them. He pays poorly but expects a great deal for the money. He recently added margarita pizza to the menu. The chefs rely on the herb garden outside for seasonings. Brian and his father then picked all the basil from the garden, causing the chefs to not be able to make the pizza. This man is running his business into the ground. Tax write-off? Once again, the Wisconsin Labor Board is being visited by employees past and present. He is a fool.

  13. just ate at pier west , horrible, cocky waitstaff and owner didn't care it took 1hr to get appetizers and cold yourself a favor, sell it.

  14. They might have, don't know. It's closed right now and sign out front says reopen spring 2014. fingers crossed.
    It's a gorgeous setting, too bad no management ever. Wait staff was putting the chairs up on the table next to us ten minutes after our table of 8 was served our entrees. Hello, anyone in this place watching this kid who wants to leave and realize this is wrong?? Nope, not a manager in sight.

  15. This place has been dead ever since mission impossible was there. They are never going to make it. Horrible wait staff. Horrible food. I find it funny that they are now closed until spring 2014. . Great location but terrible owners and staff. I hope they sell it so someone can turn it into the resturant that it should be.. then maybe I would go in there again

  16. Watching this episode for the second time tonight. Normally I would hate to see anybody fail. These are some of the worst people I have ever had the displeasure of seeing on TV. Chip may have been okay had he not been so battered by such horrible parents.... And Brian, his brother, is the Apple they didn't fall from the tree. Ugly to the core people. It's sad to see such a kindness fall upon such mean-spirited nasty trolls.

  17. Mad Dans is the spot in twinn lakes good food good drinks and excellent service