Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Restaurant Impossible - Mamma Lucrezia's Update

Photo - Food Network
Tonight on Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine and his crew are in Bellefonte, PA to makeover Mamma Lucrezia's.   The restaurant is supposedly losing thousands of dollars a month and is causing trouble between family members and staff.  The restaurant is owned by sisters Maria and Stefania, and their brother has a competing Italian restaurant across the street.  The food at Mamma Lucrezia's is good, so Robert needs to focus on other things to try to turn the restaurant around.  As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about the Mamma Lucrezia'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:
  • "The prices were higher, but the quality was much better.....We did ask a lot of questions and we did get the impression that many of the restaurant regulars were unhappy with some of the changes and wanted many old items back.  I, for one, would still like to have seen the seafood vodka pasta on the menu....Overall, this was a great dining experience and I will definitely return.  Great food, great service & BYOB (makes up for higher prices in my book)."
  • "We finally got to eat here after the renovations we heard about. It was a fantastic meal!..The environment was great and the service was wonderful...The only suggestion we would make would be to dim the lighting ... it would help create an intimate and comfortable atmosphere. Overall, well done!! We'll come back, for sure. A great BYO Italian restaurant in Bellefonte!"
  • "I like the NEW MAMMA'S. Give it a try. Bellefonte needed an Italian place with fresh food. Help Mamma stay around"
  • "Great food, great service, great place to eat. I love the food here and have never had any complaints. Best Italian food around! Mangiare!"

Negative Reviews:
  • "Before, the place wasn't fancy, but had great apps and pizza at a good price, now.. Not so much. They decided to revamp their menu that it doesn't bear any resemblance to the things we liked before. They still have their old pizza, but only 9" size, and it was quite expensive. The rest of the menu was filled with fancy, expensive sounding items that none of us (3 people) could find anything we wanted to risk that kind of money on. The place does look beautiful, and the staff was great when we decided to leave. If they only could have brought us their old menus, it would have been perfect."
  • "I hope they use this opportunity to bring the food and taste standards back where they used to be. Hopefully they will settle in to all of the new changes.  I may give them a try again in the future,  but was not blown away by the food last night.  Expected more with Robert Irvine/Restaurant Impossible expediting the kitchen and standards.  I wish them the best of luck.  Worth another try in the near future.  But certainly didn't blow my socks off last night."
*Reviews from Yelp, Tripadvisor, Google

Other News and Links:
  • Here is the Mamma Lucrezia's Facebook Page, and here is their menu, which has online ordering capability.
  • The restaurant is a BYOB restaurant.
  •  After the makeover, the restaurant temporarily stopped taking phone orders and doing deliveries so they could try to perfect the menu. (Link)
  • Here is a VERY long Facebook post without paragraph breaks about why they went on Restaurant Impossible, the changes made, and how they are now serving fresh rather than frozen food.  Good luck reading beginning to end, but there are a lot of comments of support for the restaurant.
  • At the beginning of September, Mamma Lucrezia's new hours were Tuesday-Saturday from noon-10pm, meaning they started serving lunch. (Link)
  • Early in 2013, Maria's own brother, who she doesn't get along with, opened a competing restaurant across the street from Mamma Lucrezia's. Here is another long post with Maria addressing the situation.
  • In a local article about the makeover, Robert Irvine is quoted as saying, "Working with Maria, she’s been great. You’ll see a lot of changes. Menu changes, material changes, and the people will change and their attitudes will change, and I’ll tell you this restaurant will be the best restaurant in this area. (It’s) the first time I really loved — and I mean it — loved the food. It’s exceptional. I’ve tried everything."  He also claims an 87% success rate for the show in that article.


The reviews for Mamma Lucrezia's were not that bad before the Restaurant Impossible visit and even Robert Irvine admitted to liking the food.  The reason the show probably chose the restaurant was due to the family drama that they thought would make for an interesting episode.

The reviews since the makeover have been mixed, with there still being compliments on the food.  There are also regulars who are not happy that their favorite menu items are gone, which is something that usually happens after Restaurant Impossible visits.  Mamma Lucrezia's seems to be following the advice of Restaurant Impossible and is serving fresh rather than frozen food.  They have added lunch hours to the restaurant as well as an online take-out ordering option.

*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. Century 21!!!

  2. 87% success rate? Could FN Gossip have gotten it wrong? Naa!

  3. Finally, it looks like a restaurant that actually wants help and not to turn around and sell! I wish them well.

  4. I try to watch every episode in full, but I just didn't find the owners liable enough to watch and I am not sure why.

  5. You know you've got great food if Robert Irvine finds nothing wrong with it!

  6. Robert liked the food and the kitchen was clean. So those two issues are off the table. Now being behind on your taxes is an issue and not regularly doing the books bespeaks a different issue which doesn't make for good drama. I hope she gets that squared away. As for the decor, it's a northeast corridor pizzeria, I've eaten in enough of those not to be bothered, but a makeover is fine.

    Family is the real issue here. And let's not ignore the elephant in the room. They are Italian, and so most likely Catholic. But Maria is a lesbian. If you're a practicing Catholic, those two do not mix. maybe that's why the brother has a problem. But trying to put your sister out of business is not a Christian thing.He's just as much in grave sin. Unless he somehow holds his sister responsible for their mother's death. I don't buy his "everything is good" persona.

    Younger sister called it her mother's restaurant. No it isn't. It's your sister's restaurant, named in honor of your mother. I can only imagine losing a parent at such a young age is traumatic, but don't hold your sister's business hostage.

  7. That looked like a weird love triangle going on between dem three

  8. The "partner" was creepy. Looked like she was jealous of the sister. Also looked like she wanted a piece of the business. Like you said, weird.

  9. I really enjoyed this one. Please do more episodes like this where the people are easy to root for and actually have some redeeming qualities.

  10. I agree. I liked them, especially the sister with the dark hair. I do have to agree with the poster above about the rivalry between the sister and the sister's partner.
    I would bet that the brother really DID do those things, was surprised when Robert confronted him and tried to play it off. I would LOVE to know if he went back to his poor behavior or what.

  11. I'm surprised - this is probably the first time that the food wasn't garbage and the decor wasn't filthy enough to make Robert want to puke/shut it down.

    Also, was it just me, or when the brother was talking to Robert, he was trying so hard to flex his arms to make his biceps look bigger than Robert's?

  12. That could explain the animosity - the sister's girlfriend used to go out with the brother, and then dumped him for the sister. That would really make some guys feel inadequate.

  13. One thing - if he does hold any judgement, he is a hypocrite. Maria isn't hurting anyone. She is a great girl. Mike? He sure has partaken in some seriously illegal stuff and has damaged lives in the process. He's caused serious trouble for a lot of people. I think we saw a bit of his character on the show, but that's nothing. His issues go far beyond being an abusive, ignorant bigot.

  14. There is no love triangle. That's pretty sick. There are two sisters - Maria and Stef. Their mom died when Maria was six and Stef 4. Shawnee is Maria's girlfriend. The only issue is that Maria is all Stef has, -- Maria has been like a mom to her since they were little -- so there is some jealousy there..

  15. Not weird. Shawnee is part of the family. It's like any couple who want to support the other one in a business. The family troubles have left Maria holding the bag and working far too much for any human being. Rightly so, Shawnee has been ticked off and has had to cover for Stef again and again. Stef doesn't want to be officially on the restaurant, which means she can benefit, but if it fails, she walks away scot free. Nice deal if you can get it. Maria's partner, on the other hand, is willing to step up financially and legally. I don't in any way, shape or form get how that is weird. it's appropriate and I'd protect the person I love similarly to take weight off their shoulders.

  16. Nothing like that ever happened.

  17. Yeah! Noticed that too!

  18. Stef is hot, that's all the reason you need

  19. Is their dad still alive, I don't recall much being said about him other then the girls didn't appreciate how they were ignored as children.

  20. I didn't say I know for certain, just that it was a possible reason for all the drama. When they confronted the brother, he seemed rather elusive on why he was being such an ass to his sisters.

  21. What do you mean by liable? That doesn't make sense.