Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Restaurant Impossible - Marie's at Ummat Cafe Update

Photo - Food Network
Tonight on Restaurant Impossible, Robert Irvine and his crew are in Atlanta, Georgia to makeover Marie's at Ummat Cafe.  One of the reasons Marie's thinks they are struggling is because they are located next to Atlanta's oldest mosque and many potential customers think the restaurant is strictly for Muslims.  The owner Jaliwa has experience in catering, but it has not helped with running the restaurant.  Also, during the makeover of the restaurant, the design team has a fight that puts the makeover in jeopardy (Taniya vs. Tom).  As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about Marie's at Ummat Cafe 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:
  • "Went there for lunch and I was impressed. They have recently renovated the restaurant and it was very pleasant. The staff is friendly and the food was pretty good. I had the pastrami sandwich (served on whole wheat). I would have liked to have seen a little more meat on the sandwich but overall it was good...All in all, it was a good experience. Clean, friendly and free Wi-Fi."
  • "I came here from out of town upon suggestion from a friend. It was a Friday so there were a LOT of people there. It took a little over 30 minutes for my food to come out but it was well worth the wait. I got the shrimp and grits and my wife got the beef stew over rice and it was VERY, VERY good! I'm in Atlanta pretty often so I'm sure I'll be going back. Oh and the server was awesome!"
  • "Had the fish and grits!!! Amazing! Great atmosphere. I highly recommend it!"

Negative Reviews:
  • "Unfortunately, Marie's at Ummat Cafe didn't live up to the excitement surrounding the recent Restaurant Impossible renovation. It was empty on a Saturday evening, only four weeks out from the makeover. Even though it was empty, it took over an hour for us to receive a couple dishes and they were cold. The rest of the order was never brought out. The server, though pleasant, was not knowledgeable about the menu; he didn't even know what was on the special. The only thing that was any good was the sweet tea. We ended up walking out very hungry and very disappointed because we knew the neighborhood and really wanted to support a local business. Won't be returning."
*Reviews from Google, Tripadvisor, Yelp, Urbanspoon

Other News and Links:
  • Here is the Marie's at Ummat Cafe website, and here is their menu from Grubhub.
  • Here is the Marie's at Ummat Cafe Facebook page, which is kept up to date.
  • Here is an old Ummat Cafe Facebook page.
  • Here is another Marie's at Ummat Cafe URL that says it will be the future home of the restaurant. Not sure how long it has been like that.
  • There is a viewing party at the restaurant tonight for the show, which they are charging $15 a head (Link).  That event has sold out.
  • Photo - Facebook
  • The restaurant now has a new sign that states "As Seen on the Food Networks Restaurant Impossible" (pictured right, and Link)
  • The catering company that Jaliwa ran before opening the restaurant was call Buy The Dish, and here is that Facebook page, which is not up to date.
  • From the Yelp restaurant profile for Marie's at Ummat Cafe "With years of experience as a quality caterer, Jaliwa Owuo opened Marie's@Ummat Cafe in January 2013.  Her experience has enabled her to prepare all kinds of dining fare, from vegan, vegetarian, New American, Seafood, and Halal Foods.  Her former catering company, Buy the Dish Catering--now run by her daughter and Cafe Baker Ndola--supplied tasty foods and decorations for numerous clients throughout the Atlanta area and beyond."

There were very few reviews for Marie's at Ummat Cafe since the Restaurant Impossible makeover, and those reviews are mixed.  Who knows if that is any indication of them not being able to attract new customers, but usually a Restaurant Impossible makeover sparks local interest.  The lack of reviews makes it hard to determine how they are doing. 

The restaurant has sold out its viewing party tonight ($15 a head), which shows people are excited about the show, but that could be friends and family rather than new customers.  Also, as they have created a new sign that says "As Seen on the Food Network's Restaurant Impossible," they seem to be happy with the makeover.

UPDATE - Marie's at Ummat Cafe is now closed.

*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. It's not impossible for the place to survive, but let's be willing to say that a place run by black Muslims is not the most comfortable place for whites. The place has to focus on being what those that attend the nearby mosque like.

  2. Wow, just wow! Even if those are your true beliefs I cannot believe that you would actually post this...this is 2014.

  3. I wouldn't feel comfortable there and who knows if they would even welcome me? Black Muslims tend not to like my kind.

  4. Doesn't matter the year; some things never change despite how many wish it to be. I'm not blessing or hating that fact...I'm just stating it.

  5. Though I won't make it to your restaurant ( I live in Arizona), Jaliwa, I was very touched by the graceful manner in which you embraced the loving criticism of Chef & your children. You are a loving mother & leader in your community. Your community will continue to need your mother-spirit & continue to need your leadership. You are -emphatically blessed- to have the opportunity to facilitate positive change in this world & improve lives - improve spirit - give hope. I wish you the best success & see you enlightening people's faith. Kudos also to the show for giving such a great great gift.
    Much ♥+★★★★★ to you Jaliwa!
    -Karina, just a white girl in Az ; )

  6. Obviously YOU are uncomfortable around black Muslims. Please do not speak for all white people. I go to a place for the food not necessarily for the people that run it. Decent owners and servers do keep people coming back along with great food. Do you feel uncomfortable going into an Asian restaurant? I've worked at a Japanese restaurant for seven and a half years. Up until a year ago I was the only Caucasian employee until my son and his friend became busboys. It never made me uncomfortable. I was raised in a muti culture family and neighborhood and even traveled the world while in the Navy. Other races/cultures have never made me feel uncomfortable. Open your eyes and your heart. There's a lot you're missing due to your feeling uncomfortable.

  7. The fact is sorrybedford is that there were LOTS OF WHITE PEOPLE IN THE RESTAURANT DUMB BUTT!!! Gosh I hope you dont procreate. Good Lord!

  8. Sorry-butt immature ignorant and ill-mannered statement from bedfordnotsogreat! Seems to me ur a little insecure in your white skin & unsure or who you are? Yes. Go back in the hole you crawled out of or show some class. Poor example of an American is what you are.
    -Karina,proud American proud white girl.

  9. Bunk tnt is what you are! I don't like your kind either & I'm white. WILL YOU DUMB BUTTS GET SOME CULTURE & SOME CLASS??? Oh you dont have the capacity... I understand. Well just stay down then we've already pased you up.

  10. I suppose you wouldn't be comfortable in a kosher Jewish deli, either. Funny, because I know lots of non-Jews who eat at such establishments. And I would not hesitate to patronize Marie's @ Ummat if I were in the neighborhood.

  11. I'm a middle-aged, white, Jewish woman who for a long time shared an office with a young Muslim woman. We saw it as an opportunity to educate one another to obtain a better understanding of each other's religion and culture. That is the only way we can ultimately learn to live in this world.

  12. You kind being bigots?

  13. Yelp reviews for Chef Lenny Kessler Canyon Resort are very positive. The menus are full of food that I want to eat or cook.

  14. The FN chefs "appear" squeaky them.....their FN images are just that....images. They have as much dirty laundry as the next guy.

  15. That was the week before she was cut.

  16. You may want his food, but do you want his on-screen presence? Plenty of chefs are superior cooks, but it doesn't mean they're fit to helm a television program.

  17. I look at it like this. Some contestants have trained more than others. Of course you cant buy a personality, (we call them politicians) or at least I do... Lenny has not been doing cowboy food his whole life. I believed he studied in Germany also. I think he knows his way around food... I also know Luca trained with Marcella in his off time on camera presentation and I will guess he can cook his way around his POV. Nicole, I would like to see a show on coastal food, and she has moments. Sarah has changed so much I am not sure who she is, I am just glad she isn't pageant girl anymore...Remember Dimaris last year, she changed herself and POV also, plus, nobody is watching a pie guy at the time it was aired where I live. If I dislike the winner I just wont be watching.
    There are two weeks left, I am sure FN knows the star.