Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Restaurant Impossible - Cave Inn BBQ Update

Photo - Facebook
Tonight on Restaurant Impossible, Robert Irvine and his crew are in Winter Garden, Florida to makeover Cave Inn BBQ.  The restaurant is a caveman/dinosaur themed restaurant, and it is the first themed restaurant that Robert Irvine has made over.  The restaurant is owned by brothers Buzz and Skip, and Skip is more interested in his Hollywood dreams rather than the restaurant.  Robert needs to fix the chaotic kitchen and the tacky decor in hopes of turning this restaurant around.  As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about Cave Inn BBQ 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:
  • "Love the new decor, the service was quick and the food good. I do miss some of the items on the old menu like the Mac and cheese but the bacon bits and brisket were delicious."
  • "A little pricey but very good food.   It did take time to get our food they were not in a rush"
  • "I still really liked the pulled pork, my daughter liked her burger and my husband liked the pulled pork as well. Happy to see decor changes they definitely brought more color into the establishment. Service was awesome"
  • "A tv show came and helped them with the menu and decor and let me tell you... IT ROCKED!!!  I had the brisket sandwich and I wish I would have ordered 2!!! It was perfect!!!.... I can't wait to go back!!! The service was excellent! No complaints!!! TRY IT OUT!!"
  • "Love this place!!! We heard Restaurant Impossible came to this place so we decided to give it a try. Loved the half rack ribs, the sandwiches, adult root beer float and the lemon cream cake. Highly recommend this place for a relaxed night out. Prices were perfect, didn't break the bank."

Negative Reviews:
  • "So to sum it up, pretty awful experience. The first visit was the last visit. Servers who were confused by the menu and so very vague about the sauces that were apparently supposed to be secret and told not to tell the patrons what taste they could be associated with. Beverages served one at a time over a lengthly period of time (two waters, a soda and a draft beer). A comfortable inviting atmosphere until the karaoke started, and that just made all of us question what the heck was going on. Friendly staff, again, very pleasant but the execution on all parts simply failed. Warm beer, cold food, staggered meals and a confusing and annoying "entertainment' offering. I had such high hopes being it only a couple weeks since the Restaurant Impossible makeover show finished up"
  • "On my first visit I thought the Atmosphere and Service could have been better but it really didn’t bother me because the Food was so good. On the second visit although the Atmosphere got slightly better, the Food was worse and the Service was awful. A lot of things can be overlooked if the Food is exceptional, however this was not a good experience and I doubt that I will ever be back. Besides, like I said from the beginning the location is so far off the beaten path that it is difficult for them to even get the traffic to be a successful business."
 *Reviews from Yelp, Tripadvisor, Florida Burger Lover

Other News and Links:
  • If you think you recognize Skip and Buzz, they actually appeared on an episode of 24 Hour Restaurant Battle on the Food Network.  They were on season 1 in a 'Theme Restaurant Battle' and they actually pitched their caveman themed restaurant.  They didn't win the episode, but I guess they decided to move forward with opening their restaurant a few years later.  The episode aired in 2010. (Link)
  • Here is the Cave Inn BBQ Facebook Page, Twitter Page, Website, and Dinner Menu
  • Here are some 15 and 30 second promos Cave Inn BBQ has posted on YouTube as well as a few other videos. (Link)
  • Cave Inn BBQ is currently offering a Yelp deal that is $10 for $20 worth of food. (Link)
  • Before opening, Cave Inn BBQ hired an advertising agency to design menus, logos, T-shirts, coasters, etc. (Link)
  • Owner Karen Klavans works for Walt Disney Resorts and has a CRM background. (Link)
  • Here is Gary's aka Skip's IMDB profile and LinkedIn profile if you are interested in his "Hollywood dream"
  • The restaurant opened in June of 2013, and Restaurant Impossible did the makeover in March of 2014, just 9 months after the restaurant opened.


There have been more positive reviews than negative reviews since the makeover and people seem to like the food.  There were a few comments on the place being "off the beaten path," so it seems location may be an issue.  The restaurant hired an advertising agency, has created commercials, and is offering Yelp deals, so maybe the location and being new caused them to do that.

It will be interesting to see if their appearance on 24 Hour Restaurant Battle is brought up on tonight's episode. The fact that they were selected to be on Restaurant Impossible just 9 months after the restaurant opened means they probably applied to be on the show shortly after opening, considering they have to apply for the show, go through interviews, etc. before the actual taping.  Perhaps there are more deserving restaurants in need of help, but Restaurant Impossible probably thought the themed restaurant made for a good story line.

UPDATE - Cave Inn BBQ closed in 10/2014 - More Info 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. I just find this such a bizzare concept for a restaurant. Cave Inn makes me think of "cave in" I.E. that the roof is going to collapase on me at any second. I also don't see the connection to BBQ either. Maybe finger foods?

    I have a feeling that a lot of people found this to be a confused concept making it difficult for them to even get off the ground.

  2. The one showing here is Aponte Pizzeria.

  3. "Crave Cave Paleo Restaurant", or "The Crave Cave" or just plain ol' "The Cave" would be a better name, IMO. Cave Inn sucks as a name for a restaurant, it's not an inn and sounds less like cave than cave in, as in roof the roof is going to fall in and kill you. And I don't see enough BBQing going on to warrant calling it a BBQ.

  4. ...and a preemptive "shut up yourself, bitch" to "wbp"

  5. I agree - not a great name choice.

  6. Where is the third Stooge?

  7. He was the Assistant Manager!

  8. Is Lynn a little confused about what a prehistoric/cavemen theme should be? A host stand covered in "Egyptian hieroglyphics" alongside dinosaur bones. Makes total sense!

  9. Lynn is for me the least impressive of the current RI designers. I'd love to have seen what Taniya would have done with the place.

  10. Cave man & BBQ, yeah, I'm missing the connection too. Cave man & a paleo diet restaurant makes sense.

  11. Cave Inn duo twice on FN? Seems to me Skip is using his restaurant business to get some exposure on the tube to advance his "acting" career.

  12. At least they didn't decorate it with mining regalia.

  13. Reminds me allot of Soup to Nuts. I give it about 6 - 7 months. The leadership of that restaurant is going to be its downfall.

  14. Considering his argumentative attitude throughout this episode, I doubt anybody would want to work with him.