Thursday, November 12, 2015

Restaurant Impossible - Ellendale's Restaurant Update

Photo - Food Network
Tonight on  Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine and his crew are in Nashville, Tennessee to makeover Ellendale's Restaurant.  In this ambush episode, the employees of the restaurant reached out for help as the restaurant has become rundown and owner Julie's management style has left the staff frustrated.  The employees see potential in the restaurant as it is a staple in Nashville, however Julie isn't sure if being on TV is a good thing.  She needs to decide if she wants Robert's help or if she wants him to leave.

As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about Ellendale's Restaurant 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:
  • "Simply wonderful!! I will be back. A golden gem on the outskirts oh Nashville. Good and atmosphere were amazing. Staff was excellent. Decor is beautiful!"
  • "Recommended by colleague. Excellent choice. Had beet and goat cheese salad and pork chop. Both great.service was friendly and efficient. Will go again on next visit to Nashville."
  • "Every time I am in Nashville I come to Ellendale's. The ribeye is cooked and seasoned to perfection. Service is always great. The musicians are well picked and offer a comfortable and soothing environment....If you're looking for something that's all inclusive and enjoyable in each aspect, this is your place!!"
  • "All-in-all this was a good Sunday brunch. If they'd find a way to have the food closer to temperature and maybe find some insulated carafes for the coffee, this would make a positive difference."
  • "Wonderful atmosphere, beautifully decorated, delicious food, friendly and professional wait staff and server, loved the visit!"

Negative Reviews:
  • "The service was great! Unfortunately the food was not good at all. I have only been for Sunday brunch,  but I would not return, even for the generous $3 mimosas. My advice if you go is to stick with the omelet station (no wait btw), and order another mimosa."
  • "Service was Decent. Live music was Enjoyable. That's about all. I ordered Steak Frites as the waiters suggested special. The fries were barely room temperature and the steak (ordered medium rare) was cooked close in some places, very inconsistent, but barely edible as the meat was tough and full of gristle....No reason to return" 
  • "Over the past couple years the food quality has gone way down hill. We stopped going there altogether until we heard that Chef Robert Irvine and Restaurant Impossible went in to fix the place. After going there today, I am convinced that no changes were made except the price increase. Everything was exactly the same and the food was still terrible."
  • "Our waitress was friendly, attentive, and helpful. The biggest negative is their cocktails, really terrible! Two who ordered the citrus sangria returned it as it was so sour it was undrinkable, one did not reorder but I tried the pometini, a pomegranite and vodka martini, again sour and bitter. A third who ordered a mojito had to add a packet of sweetener to the sour mixture. Apparently, the bar was out of simple syrup!...The tab for two dinners, one salmon and one chicken, and two very distasteful drinks was $75, too much for a piece of salmon and 2 chicken breasts which probably cost the kitchen about $10."
  • "YEARS ago, Ellendales was our favorite restaurant. But then things changed for the worse: Bad service, over price and bad food...Recently Robert Irvine did a "make-over" of Ellendales. We were excited! HOWEVER - HE FAILED!...I SINCERELY WISH "someone" would purchase this beautiful setting and turn it into a great restaurant!...The only thing ROBERT IRVINE did right was: THE DECOR. The decor and lighting was improved... but this was one of my LEAST FAVORITE "MAKE OVERS" in Roberts career. NOTE TO TOURISTS *This place is terrible... and has been for years. *Over priced.... and has been for years."

*Reviews from Yelp, Tripadvisor

Other News and Links:
  • The Restaurant Impossible makeover happened in September 2015.
  • Here is the Ellendale's website, which doesn't have a menu at the moment.  It states, "All new menu coming soon! Come for your favorites, be ready for some new tweaks to Julie’s menu. Thanks!"
  • The About section of the website says chef Julie Buhler was a personal chef to Dolly Parton, and has cooked for other country music stars.  The restaurant also offers a 25% military discount to anyone in uniform, which Robert Irvine probably likes.
  • Here is the Ellendale's Facebook page which has frequent posts, and they are having a viewing party for the episode tonight. 
  • They are really pumping up the Restaurant Impossible episode on their Facebook page and have even made their own cardboard cutouts, videos, etc.
  • Their Facebook page did post a picture of a menu in October, but I am not sure if this is current.
  • There are over 230 Yelp reviews (3.5 star avg.) for the restaurant if you are interested in looking at old ones.  There are also a lot of 1-star ones filtered. (Link
  • Julie is also the owner of a restaurant called Phat Bites and this restaurant was actually featured on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives in 2007.  Here is a video of that episode (fast forward to 2:25 if you are interested in Julie's segment). Screenshot from the episode is above.
  • Julie filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in 2013 with estimated liabilities between $1 million and $10 million.  (Link to Bankruptcy Filing)


The reviews of Ellendale's Restaurant have been mixed since the Restaurant Impossible makeover with complements on the atmosphere and service and complaints about the food and prices.  It should be interesting to see if the show mentions Julie's other restaurant or her appearance on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives.  It will also be interesting to see if the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing comes up in this episode.  It seems that everyone likes the location and the historic building, so if they can improve on food quality they could win back some customers.

UPDATE - Ellendale's closed in July 2018.  The restaurant posted this message on Facebook, "After nineteen years in business, Ellendale’s Restaurant will be closing its doors on Sunday, July 1st, immediately following Sunday Brunch.

It is with a very heavy heart that we must announce the closure of Ellendale’s Restaurant. As the proprietor of Ellendale’s, it has been an unbelievable journey to own and operate this restaurant and serve the Donelson community for nineteen years. The patrons, the staff, and relationships built have left an indelible mark on me that will last a lifetime. I am more thankful for them than I could ever simply convey in words. Opening Ellendale’s was a dream of mine. To watch it grow, change, and personally oversee all aspects as the chef and owner, has been one of my greatest joys in life. I’m off to new adventures, joy and growth!

I also want the opportunity to say thank you to all of our loyal customers, who, without their support love and friendship we would be nothing. Our intimate conversations and friendships will endure. What a blessing it has been to share your holidays, weddings, births, birthdays, and the passing of the ones we love.
I also want to honor the staff who has blessed me with their passion and the unending good times we have shared.

We hope to to see you for one last Sunday Brunch this Sunday from 10 AM to 3 PM. Reservations are appreciated and may be made on our Yelp App.

Thank you so much for your support, and stay tuned for what’s next.
— Julie Buhler and Team

Ellendale’s Restaurant is located at 2739 Old Elm Hill Pike. 615-884-0813"

*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

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