Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Restaurant Impossible - SiP Bistro Update

Photo - Food Network
Tonight on Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine and his crew are in Holly Springs, North Carolina to makeover SiP Bistro. SiP Bistro was opened just three years ago by husband and wife Justin and Sarah and it is already struggling.  Justin is demeaning to the staff and doesn't let Sarah make many decisions despite her background in hotel and restaurant management.  Robert needs to mend their relationship, makeover the dining room, and determine how to make their small kitchen efficient.

As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about SiP Bistro 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:
  • "Drove about an hour to try this place out and were very happy we did! It has a decent wine list and the service was very attentive. My husband and I shared a large charcuterie and cheese plate that was excellent, the best we've had since we lived in Europe.....Finished up with mini eclairs and a great cappuccino. Would definitely recommend this place."
  • "Awesome wine at Sip...IX Spaceman, Moon Duck was amazing!!! Food was delish! Highly recommend this small town Bistro."
  • "One of my favorite places in Holly Springs. I've been for breakfast and lunch and everything I've tried has been delicious. The staff and owner are incredibly friendly. I also really like the international coffee menu. Cool place."
  • "After 2 successful Sunday brunches at SiP Bistro, it is finally time to update my review. Just note, my rating is only for their brunch and lunch menu because that is the reason why I would return here....Service can still be hit or miss from what I have observed but during these past 2 visits we have had fantastic servers....Overall, if you are looking for a quick lunch or scrumptious brunch then SiP Bistro is your place!"
  • "Wow, what a great experience! I am glad that I gave SiP Bistro another shot after they were ambushed by Restaurant Impossible. Also, I really like like the new look...Service was great compared to my last visit, the food came out quicker and our waiter took great care of us. He also really valued our opinion about everything which is awesome. "
  • "Excellent wine list, relaxing atmosphere. It will be even better once the weather is a bit warmer and you can sit outside, too."
  • "While my pre-Restaurant Impossible experiences at SiP were enjoyable with regard to food quality and service, my post-Restaurant Impossible experience today surpassed them all. I love the fresh new look and feel of SiP along with the cozy seating around the shiplap fireplace focal point, the wine glass window racks, and the bright, classy new SiP sign made with drinking glasses illuminated by white lights. The previous ambiance was warm and cozy, but new ambiance adds a fresh new feel with quietly sophisticated charm and class."
Negative Reviews:
  • "I really want to like this place, but it's just not that great. It's really cute inside, minus the bathroom that was significantly dirty....The coffee was just mediocre.. not great, not terrible. I may return to SiP for a glass of wine sometime, but that's probably about it. Cute place, but needs some work."
  • "My sweet mom tried to take me out to a place she thought was nice and I'd enjoy but it was pretty bad. Would've been ok at $40, but at $60+ it was unacceptable."
  • "The remodel looks really nice and we had high hopes. Unfortunately, we went for dinner and left hungry. There are only small plate selections and we were hoping for a meal. The service really wasn't very good either. It will be a while before my wife and I are willing to try this place again, which is a shame since it is so close."
  • "Lots of upgrades by Food Network seem to equal bad service, small portions, and higher prices. To make matters worse, there's almost no selection in food. Huge disappointment."
Other News and Links:
  • The Restaurant Impossible makeover happened in February 2016.
  • Here is the SiP Bistro website and their mission statement from the website.
  • Here is the SiP Bistro Facebook page which is kept up-to-date.
  • SiP Bistro has two Groupon offers for Charcuterie, wine and desserts for 2 or 4 (Link).
  • This article says Sarah applied to be on the show 2 years ago, but was told they weren't a fit for the show.  Then in January 2016, the show reached out to them and Justin had a Skype interview with producers.  They were later ambushed in February.
  • Justin and Sarah owned a coffee shop in Winston Salem called Cafe Roche, and SiP Bistro was originally opened to expand that concept.  A blog post from Sarah's blog says how they weren't planning on serving food at first, but when they started serving food, it took off.  People were ordering sandwiches and lunch and dinner and no one really cared about the wine and specialty beverages. Due to this, they focused on food more and tripled their payroll to hire servers.  It is a long post that describes their identity crisis and issues they have if you are interested in reading.
  • Here is another long blog post from Sarah that is full of issues at the restaurant and excuses/explanations for them.
  • Here is a 7 minute interview with Robert Irvine and Sarah on the local news that discusses the issues from the restaurant and Robert claims a 80% success rate.

The are a good amount of reviews for SiP Bistro since the makeover, especially since it only happened two months ago.  A lot of the reviews are positive with people complementing improved service, the decor, and the food and drinks.  There are a few negative reviews that say service is still a problem, the prices are too high and the menu is too small.

UPDATE - SIP Bistro closed in October 2017.  They posted on Facebook and said that people taking advantage of a Groupon had a lot to do with it. (Link)

*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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