|Photo - Facebook|
Tonight on Restaurant Impossible, Robert Irvine and crew are going to Auburn, Washington to makeover Spunky Monkey Bar & Grill. When Robert first sees the restaurant, he encounters 'inches of dust, mounds of grime, years of neglect, and an owner who doesn't seem to care at all.' Aside from the health code violations, there is also below average food and design complications. As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about the Spunky Monkey Bar & 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):
Other News and Updates:
Updates from looking at their Facebook Page:
- "The menu is great, and the decor is fantastic. We had great service and a new found feeling of appreciation from the staff. We will be back. Try the beef & blue burger."
- "Altogether, decorations and atmosphere are awesome....Food was great. Portions are awful and we either need more food for the sides or a lower price point."
- "This was our first visit back since Restaurant Impossible was here and I have to say, I was impressed!"
- "The service was fantastic, the food was delicious and my drinks were amazing!..The only reason for 4 stars is because the stool chairs are not the best comfort-wise, the bathrooms were not upgraded by restaurant impossible at all, and there's no way for anyone disabled to come enjoy some marvelous food."
- "We've visited twice since the Restaurant Impossible remodel. We've found the menu offers variety and exciting new options. The service is excellent and attentive. The chef has delivered our food and chatted with us about our experience. The owner has been present and attentive as well."
- "This place used to be fun, but they took out all the entertainment and replaced it with gray paint. I'm all for a facelift and new menu, but what's the point of going to a bar in Auburn if there's nothing to do?"
- "The food lacks seasoning, and the portions are too small. Ground beef is undercooked and isn't safe for human consumption. Desserts are tasty but too small. The meal cost $50.00. Although I like the atmosphere as well as the staff, I doubt if I will ever be back. Hopefully sales are up, but had the market been studied more closely, more sales could have been captured. And Oh My God! Those awful, uncomfortable chairs!"
- "We did NOT enjoy our lunch from the moment we arrived. Once in the door we had to walk up 5 or 6 steep steps to the restaurant which was challenging for one friend who uses a cane. The restaurant was nicely decorated with monkey themed canvases on walls, but the chairs at our table were small round unpadded child size and very uncomfortable."
- "We are so GROSSLY DISAPPOINTED with Spunky Monkey's choice to allow Restaurant Impossible to absolutely obliterate, and RUIN, their main theme....While we never believed this restaurant was 'in trouble,' or in need of any type of facelift (for heaven's sake, it was MEANT to be UNIQUE), we know that the owner's decision was most likely made in hopes of drawing a new/different crowd."
Other News and Updates:
- An article in the Auburn Reporter about the makeover in October has over 200 comments (even with Facebook account required comments), so this caused quite the buzz locally. Many people referred to the Spunky Monkey as a dive bar and some didn't even know they had a restaurant. There were also comments about the crowd it attracts.
- The Spunky Monkey has a website and keeps an up to date Facebook page in which they are active and respond to customers. Because of this, there is a lot more information about what has happened since the makeover.
- Here are some pictures of the makeover.
- On the restaurant website they said Robert Irvine didn't like the Caesar salad, but they have added it back to the menu and are letting customers vote for which items they want back on the menu.
Updates from looking at their Facebook Page:
Nov. 9th - The Spunky Monkey responded to a complaint about how Restaurant Impossible ruined the place with "We're sorry you weren't pleased with the new design and menu, but are glad our service was great. Unfortunately, the prior business model was not profitable, and we were rapidly approaching closure."
Nov. 11th - The Spunky Monkey responded to someone who tried to eat there but didn't want to go upstairs with, "Hi Tammy, we apologize for your experience. The downstairs area is no longer restaurant space, and we've relocated all service to the upstairs area. We are currently awaiting Liquor Board approval for family dining, which would allow all ages dining in the upstairs area pictured below.... Then on Nov. 26th, they updated with, "We finally have approval for families to dine, and we would love the chance to serve your family. We apologize for the wait, but are glad the liquor board finally has granted us the permit for upstairs."
Nov 18th - A comment about not being allowed to dine at the restaurant because a patron brought kids with him was responded to with, "We're so sorry you weren't able to dine with your family. The show producers did not integrate us into the remodel, and they moved everything to the upstairs area. We were informed by the liquor board that we are only authorized to have minors in the downstairs area (which the show did not remodel). We have installed railings in hopes we will receive the adjustment to our licensing to allow all ages upstairs. We definitely were not intending to exclude anyone, particularly families. We are waiting for the liquor board to approve the new layout."
Nov. 20th - The Spunky Monkey brought back karaoke to the bar stating, "It took us a few weeks to find our bananas, wires, and to bring back the fun, and we thank all of you who have patiently (and anxiously) waited--Karaoke is back and better than ever! The same great sound, a beautiful new place, and a new, but unforgettable host! More fun announcements to come....stay tuned!"
They also followed up with, "When we requested the remodel, we didn't ask for any changes in our entertainment. It took us time to reconfigure everything. This is our first announcement of what the new Monkey platform will be, and we're already receiving excellent feedback!"
There are also many comments regarding the change from locals on that post.
Dec. 11th - The Spunky Monkey brought the pool tables back to the bar stating, "It's taken five weeks for us to adapt to all the changes, but we are excited to say we have karaoke going strong (with some host's tips benefitting D.A.W.N.), we have TV's (yay!), and today---we have pool tables (black felt is being installed tomorrow). We STILL are committed to being the PREMIERE fun, laid back, quality place to have dinner, drinks, and fun (or all three!), and we're glad you're along for the ride. Cheers!!"
The bar/restaurant also followed up after some comments and stated, "We understand there are some who are disappointed, and we definitely do appreciate your work and support. We realized an immediate spike in business and a number of large event bookings due to the reinstall of the tables. With the revenue, we are investing in a makeover of the downstairs that will parallel the ambiance and experience of the upstairs" (I added a photo from after the makeover to now below)
Jan. 8th - The Spunky Monkey stated, "The downstairs is under construction now, and family dining will return when it's complete Regulations from the State aren't allowing minors in for now. We promise to be all ages fun very soon."
|Left - After RI makeover, Right - Pool Tables added, tables removed (Facebook)|
The reviews for the Spunky Monkey Bar & Grill are definitely mixed after the Restaurant Impossible makeover. People seem to like the interior and decorations, but there were many complaints about having to go up stairs and about uncomfortable seats. Most people thought of Spunky Monkey as a bar rather than a restaurant, so some of the regulars were not happy with the changes. Judging by the online comments and uptick in the amount of reviews for the restaurant/bar, the makeover definitely generated some buzz and had locals talking.
Before Restaurant Impossible visited, it seems that the downstairs area was the dining area and the upstairs was the bar area. Restaurant Impossible updated the upstairs of the Spunky Monkey, and turned it into the dining area, without touching the downstairs. The restaurant did not have liquor board approval for family dining upstairs, so this essentially made it impossible for anyone to bring minors into the restaurant to dine. The restaurant apparently got approval for minors at the end of November, but in January, they were saying minors still weren't allowed in.
The restaurant seems to have gone back to being more of a bar instead of a restaurant. They have removed tables and chairs upstairs and have replaced them with pool tables. They have also added their popular karaoke back, which many of the regulars seemed to miss. The Spunky Monkey has said that they are planning on renovating the downstairs for dining so minors will be able to dine at the restaurant.
I'm not sure if Restaurant Impossible is to blame for the permit issue upstairs, but maybe the restaurant would have been better off if the downstairs was made over. The kitchen is downstairs, so it makes sense to not have servers go up and down stairs. Also, as this restaurant was more of a bar to begin with, it may have made more sense for this place to be on Bar Rescue.
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