Thursday, December 3, 2015

Restaurant Impossible - Cape Horn Family Restaurant Update

Photo - Food Network
Tonight on  Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine and his crew are in Red Lion, Pennsylvania to makeover Cape Horn Family Restaurant.  In this ambush episode, the owner Joni's husband reached out to Restaurant Impossible for help.  Joni is having trouble paying the bills and has lost control of her staff.  Robert Irvine installs hidden cameras for this episode and determines it is actually Joni who needs help with things such as her self-confidence.

As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about Cape Horn Family 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:
  • "We might have been expecting a bit much after seeing that the restaurant had been redone by Restaurant Impossible, however it is much better than before in my opinion. The decor is much better for starters, and the food is a bit better as well. Appetizers seemed a bit pricey, but the entrees seemed to be appropriately priced. The "Chef Robert Irvine" recipes seemed to be priced higher than the rest of the menu though, wonder if that's a coincidence... where Cape Horn Family Restaurant really excelled though was service. Our food only took about 10 minutes to be delivered, and didn't taste like it had been sitting under a heat lamp either. Typical diner quality food, I would probably give 3 stars for food alone, but the service alone warrants a 4 star rating for being so great"
  • "Service and food were great, a huge step from what it was....Decor was much better than it used to be, servers looked like they knew what they were doing. I think the uniforms are a little much, I mean it is a family diner not Gordon Ramsay's Steak..We didn't get the Chef Irvine inspired recipes, from what I saw there were three including an appetizer all of which I thought sounded kind of cheap but cost much more than that. Anyways, good job, I'll probably return."
  • "I had twice ate breakfast here, but never anything else. We decided to stop for lunch. I had chili and a burger. Chili was really good, however, the burger came with a soggy bun from the juices. Was ok...not great. The others liked their food. I will probably return."

Negative Reviews:
  • "I think chef Robert Irvine was way off target with this project. The decor was tasteful, however the food was extremely pricey and portion sizes were small. Limited menu items too. This is central Pennsylvania, we like good tasting food and decent portions. If these two criteria were met, then I can see the pricing being what it is. However $11 for a Parmesan crusted chicken breast and half cup of shredded lettuce on top is ridiculous!"
  • "The service was shockingly slow for being one of three tables with four servers working.  The salt on the wound was the server asking if we wanted a box for our mostly un- eaten food.  There's a reason we didn't eat it to begin with....     I don't mind paying money for excellent food and I rather pay extra if I know I'm getting something enjoyable.  What I do mind is paying high dollar for some cat food and what I suspect was frozen shrimp fried in old ass oil.  If I could give negative stars, I would."
  • "I was excited to try breakfast here following the Restaurant Impossible redo since I hadn't been here in years due to poor service and mediocre food. The decor has been updated and is inviting and cheery. We arrived well after the Sunday church rush was over.  The service was still terrible.  And the food lackluster. The table of four 29 somethings behind us had such poor service their entire check was comped by management. The staff then proceeded to complain about a minimal tip, which they were lucky to get, within earshot of other customers. They have learned nothing from Robert Irvine and I predict they will be out of business soon. The one star is a gift because the app makes you give one."
  • "I liked it better before the change...  The decor was a little dated but the food was what you'd expect from a family restaurant...  Tonight's visit was such a huge disappointment!  Over priced,  over cooked,  and tiny portion sizes is what we got... Can't say we will be back in the future.   After a $60 bill we are going to hit up Sonic because we are still hungry!"
  • "Before the Restaurant Impossible were there. Cape Horn Family Restaurant was one of my favorite restaurants. You got allot of good food at a good price. And a good choice of food. Since Restaurant Impossible was there, The Restaurant looks nice yes. And food is still good. But value is no longer there. Prices are way too (HIGH).... Bill was $35.00 bucks. We got nothing and paid as if we got 3 platters. I was very let down by the prices.And by the choices on the menu.I will never go there again.I don,t go to a restaurant simply because it looks pretty.I go for the food and the value. Which this restaurant lost."

*Reviews from Yelp, Tripadvisor

Other News and Links:
  • The Restaurant Impossible makeover happened in October 2015.
  • Cape Horn is offering a $25 gift certificate for $10 on the website. (Link)
  • It appears Cape Horn had a Facebook Page, but it looks like it has been taken down.
  • It also appears that there is no Cape Horn Family Restaurant website.
  • A local article during the makeover said Joni opened the restaurant 4 years ago after working for 36 years as an EMT.   She had no formal restaurant experience and is on the verge of bankruptcy.
  • On November 4th, Joni posted this on her Facebook page, "How many times do I have to explain why our menus are the way they are right now??? There are only so many hours in a day...I AM WORKING ON NEW MENUS...GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!! And NO the prices have NOT a matter of fact some prices have been lowered!! Funny how people will spend $100.00 at a chain restaurant but complain about an entree with 2 sides and a salad for $10.00!!! Rant over!"
  • Here is a long message Joni posted on Facebook thanking the show and the volunteers for all of their time.  She is very glad the show came to her restaurant. (Link)
  • In September 2014, Cape Horn was broken into with a burglar smashing a door with a rock and taking the cash register.  Joni is interviewed in the article about it.


The reviews since the Restaurant Impossible makeover seem to be a bit more negative than positive.  People like the new decor, however there are mixed reviews about the food and service, while a lot of people are complaining about higher prices.  Joni actually addressed the prices on her Facebook saying they have not changed, but perhaps the newer items have higher prices.  Due to no menu online and no website for the restaurant, it is hard to see what prices they have, but apparently the area the restaurant is in demands low prices.

UPDATE - The restaurant closed in August 2016.

*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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