Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Restaurant Impossible - Mama Campisi's (Mama's On The Hill) Update

Tonight on the season 7 premiere (7th season despite debuting in 2011) of Restaurant Impossible, Robert Irvine and crew are going to St. Louis, Missouri to makeover Mama Campisi's.  Mama Campisi's is also known as Mama's on the Hill and the restaurant claims to be the creator of toasted ravioli.  The restaurant is suffering due to frozen food, recent employee thefts and finances that are not adding up.  As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about Mama Campisi's 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:
  • "Every time we travel to St. Louis we like to try a new restaurant on "The Hill." Mama Campisi's is now my favorite! I had their signature dish, Pollo Spedini, and it was one of those dishes that you want to lick the plate clean!...We'll definitely be returning to Mama's on our next trip!"
  • "Probably one of the best lunches ever. We were told that Restaurant will be on Restaurant Impossible in the near future. I hope I can catch it. If you are anywhere near St. Louis....stop in and have a meal! You won't regret it. Also very affordable." 
  • "Mama's on The Hill is a part of history. You have to go. The service is always good and the Italian food cannot be beat."
  • "Live in the area and visit The Hill regularly. Mama's is one of my favorites. Service was great. The decor has definitely had a face lift. It's a small place, but looks brighter now. Toasted ravioli was as good as it ever was--don't miss it when you visit here."
  • "The food was very good and the service was fast and friendly. Portions are huge so pace yourself...If anything the only complaint was that the table was a bit small for the five of us and all the food."

Negative Reviews:
  • "My first impression walking in was the place is too small for the amount of table they tried to cram into the place. We were seated in the back room. I felt like a packed sardine. It was uncomfortable for me to even sit at my table because of how close the table behind us was."
  • "the food was really good. the menu was HUGE - too big, like they're trying to please everyone & specialize in nothing....the atmosphere is what lacked. old, mismatched tables, uncomfortable chairs & the tables were right next to each other"
*Reviews from Tripadvisor, Yelp, Urbanspoon

Other Stories:
  • Mama Campisi's offers all you can eat pasta on Monday nights for 11.99, and they keep an up to date Facebook page.
  • The MLB World Series starts tonight with the St. Louis Cardinals facing the Boston Red Sox, so the locals will probably be watching that over Restaurant Impossible.
  • Mama Campisi's won Best Italian food in St. Louis in 2010 from Cityvoter.
  • Mama Campisi's claims to be the creator of the toasted ravioli in the 1940's, and the restaurant closed in 2005 due to personal reason.  The current owners bought the restaurant and reopened in February 2006.
  • Here is video of a local news story right after the Restaurant Impossible makeover.


Mama Campisi's/Mama's On The Hill has more positive reviews than negative reviews with many people raving about the lasagna and the toasted ravioli.  A few reviews stated that Mama's has gone back to the original menu with the only dish on the menu that Robert Irvine added being the pasta with rabbit.  There are a few complaints about the seating and how close the tables are at the restaurant.  There were also a few people who claimed in the summer that the air conditioner wasn't adequate enough to cool the restaurant.

It seems that the reviews weren't too bad before Restaurant Impossible came to visit, and that the restaurant probably applied for the publicity.  They may have been chosen due to the unique story of employees stealing money and the fact that they claim to be the inventor of toasted ravioli.  Either way, it looks like Mama Campisi's is making the most of the opportunity.

UPDATE - As a poster pointed out in the comments, Lance Ervin (Dad of the family) actually opened a new restaurant in March of 2012 called O'Kelly's.  In the 'About' section of the restaurant, it says "When you visit us, you are treated as “FAMILY”."  Hopefully that doesn't mean they will ignore you.  If they had enough money to open another restaurant just last year, I doubt they were struggling at Mama Campisi's.  Seems like they pulled one over on Restaurant Impossible, and I'm sure other restaurants out there are more in need of help..

*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. Copied from Yelp, but found due to a former (disgruntled) Mama's employee who commented on the RI update page:

    "Lance and Andrea Ervin opened O'Kelleys this past March. The pub is named in honor of Lance's mother, Elizabeth Ann O'Kelley. Their families' ancestry originates from County Tipperary and County Cork, Ireland. Some of the recipes on the menu have been handed down from generation to generation.

    Some may recognize Lance and Andrea from their restaurant "Mama Campisi's" on the Hill. In 2004, the couple became owners of Mama's, fulfilling a lifetime dream of Andrea's. With a lot of hard work and dedication, of not only Lance and Andrea's, but their five children as well, Mama's continues to thrive as a St. Louis Original today.

    O'Kelley's is a definitive desire for Lance. Restoring the building, built in the 1800s, to its original glory, was a task the couple took great pride in. They felt the beautiful architecture and wood work should not compete with any other elements. The Ervins plan to operate on the same principals served at Mama's. When you visit us, you are treated as FAMILY."

    Seems they have two restaurants, not just this one, and that's Lance's "other" business he referred to at the start of the episode. Two restaurants would keep me away from home, too.

    With my armchair psychology degree (I.e., only from reality TV viewing), I was speculating that a woman with back surgery in her recent past and symptoms of depression would be ripe for Rx abuse. (But again, I'm no doctor, and A&E canceled "Intervention", so ignore my non-food aside, please.)

  2. Yeah I found the episode to be a little odd, especially since yeah. They never mentioned the "other job", which is unusual. And these people didn't exactly seem bad off (look at Andrea's diamond wedding ring. Wow). I'd rather they help people who need help and not go there for a "good story"

  3. On a related note, anybody see this weeks Hotel Impossible over on Travel Channel? its a Super storm Sandy 2 parter continuing next week. Upon learning that the family owned millions of dollars of other properties (along with lots of other drama), Anthony and the crew packed up and left. To be continued... (Looks like they might be offering to another nearby property).

  4. they not only have another restaurant but they have rental property, and a car dealership but I'm sure they didn't disclose this to the show as they are very selfish and greedy people

  5. Suzy Abdelmalek
    Ok first of all my brother in law josh was the general manager and this is all a lie she is not suffering and was no where near having to close her doors. Yes some employees stole from her but it wasn't much. She actually had to hide all ten of her car from the crew so they wouldn't think she had too much money! My brother in law no longer works thee because she basically stole his money, she told him he had a week I paid vacation and fired him without pay when he got back oh and he was paid under the table like some of the other employees. He actually told me she has stolen money from employees before one employee thought his garnishment on his paycheck was going to his child support but it never did she just kept it! She's a disgusting greedy bitch that deserved a big plate of karma spladini!
    Just now

  6. Everybody claims they invented the Toasted Ravioli!!! :) My dad claims he did as a teenager when the restaurant where he worked on The Hill in St. Louis in the late 40's early 50's. The restaurant had extra ravioli that they needed to use or get rid of. He also needed a lunch special. So,, he dropped the ravioli in the hot oil and threw a side of marinara on the plate for color. Voila! Who knows?! He said they started getting requests after that and... :) You know how we Italians are. We invented everything that is right in the world! Just ask one of us!

  7. Sounds like they cook the books. Maybe the IRS watches restaurant impossible

  8. I saw the show on possible restaurant family is very nice restaurant sounds like they are

  9. When we ate there I saw the menu that Irvine designed. He does not know St. Louis. His prices were out of line for the rest of the Hill, and he dissed the famous St. Louis salad that people expect. His entrees were without salad, which people expect in that area. The redo of the decor was shabbily done - just a quick coat of paint over nice wooden tables; the paint is already peeling, and the "brick" wallpaper looks like a 70's disaster. I spoke with the daughter who said that he staged conflicts within the family that did not exist. He even filmed the younger kids at the table doing homework when their school was on summer break.

  10. That's illegal. They should report her to there state attorney general. My husband had employer do that and we got the attorney general involved. Needless the money was paid.

  11. Sorry responding about the child support thing. In regards to the pay issues id call the labor board