Saturday, July 20, 2019

Restaurant Impossible - Josephine's Cooking Update

Photo - Twitter
Tonight on the season 15 premiere of Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine and his crew are in Chicago, Illinois to makeover Josephine's Cooking.  Josephine's is a soul food restaurant that is co-owned by Josephine Wade and her son, Victor Love.  After being open for over 30 years, the restaurant is supposedly one month from closing.  Robert must motivate Victor to take over the restaurant from his aging mother.

As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about Josephine's Cooking 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 food was delicious here! The service was great and the other diners as well! I recommend trying the gumbo if you do come!"
  • "This is the closest example of a real neighborhood diner we have on the southside. Of course you can you get delicious home-cooked favorites (like chicken & waffles, grits & biscuits, fried catfish, greens, etc.). But it's also a town square where residents talk about the issues of the day (politics, religion, culture, crime, business, etc.). Lady Josephine, the owner, is a mover & shaker in the broader community, not just ours. Black history sings from her photo gallery. If you want good cookin' seasoned with Black culture, you must visit Josephine's Hard Times!"
  • "I loved this place! The decor was fabulous. I ordered French toast and it was pretty tasty, next time I'll try an omelet. The owner is a firecracker and her restaurant attracts some of the most influential people in Chicago."
  • "Me my family had an amazing time, the owner is so polite. Food just melts in your mouth."

Negative Reviews:

  • "Do not i repeat do not go to Josephine Southern Cooking!!!! You will be highly disappointed! Charging $20 for some small ass portion sizes!!! In addition, they burned the muffins, no serving utensils, when asked for them, had to ask more then once for straws. The food is unseasoned! Messed up order and got an attitude when asked! I am good! Will not be coming back!!!!!!"
  • "So I decided to visit this restaurant because I wanted some chicken and waffles, but once I got there I was told they only sell that during breakfast, which is fine. So I proceed to order I ordered chicken, greens, and Mac&cheese, and I wanted a sweet tea because I'm a firm believer that you can't have soul food without sweet tea but the waitress said they were out, so I said ok. My food arrives, the chicken was good and crispy with good flavor, but the Greens tastes like they came out a can like the Glory Greens in a can. The Mac&cheese taste like it came out of a box, but with some hot sauce and pepper it was all good to eat. Then the waitress brought over some corn bread muffins that was really hard. I tried to put butter on it, but that didn't help at all. The place is newly remodeled, and it looks really nice, but I couldn't help but think that this place only really caters to people they know. "
  • "The staff was nice and sweet except for the tall guy. I'm not sure if he is the owner or management but he was a bit rude especially to my special needs kid who was trying to figure out what he wanted to eat but didnt make up his mind quick enough for him I guess. The fried fish on the buffet taste like rotten potatoes and the rest of the food was bland and tasteless. We ended up paying $60 for a family of 4 for the buffet. I was disturbed by the price and food quality. I didnt ask for a refund because it seems like they dont get much business minus the regular locals. The staff was nice and sweet minus the guy I previously mentioned.....The food was not good. I assumed they cater to the elders in the community and customers that's has been dining there awhile."
  • "What place has been remodeled and named Josephine instead of hard times. The remodeling is beautiful but the cooking still leaves a lot to be desired for the price and the choices. Meet there with classmates just so that we have space to be together. I don't eat much duh"
*Reviews from Yelp, Google

Other News and Links:
  • The Restaurant Impossible makeover happened in April 2019.
  • Here is the Josephine's Cooking website and Facebook page.
  • The restaurant was previously named Captain’s Hardtimes restaurant.
  • Here are some photos of the interior after the makeover.
  • Josephine Wade has done a lot of work for the local community and as an honor has a street named after her. (Link)
  • In May 2018, thieves stole copper wiring from the restaurant that was worth about $200 but caused $12,000 worth of damage.  The power outage also caused food in the fridge and freezer to spoil.  The community came together to help raise money to keep the restaurant open. (Link)
  • The reviews before the makeover were pretty bad with people complaining about the food and prices. (Yelp)
  • In June 2019, Josephine's Cooking opened at another location in Chicago - McCormick Place, which is a convention center. (Link)
  • Josephine's currently has a $5 off $20 offer valid only at their 79th street location (the one from Restaurant Impossible). 


The reviews for Josephine's Cooking have been mixed since the Restaurant Impossible makeover, but it seems they have improved a little bit.  The positive reviews mention the food and the owner while the negative reviews also talk about the food, high prices and how the restaurant favors the regulars.  In June 2019, a little over a month after the Restaurant Impossible makeover, Josephine's Cooking opened an additional location at a convention center in Chicago.  I would assume this was already in the works before Restaurant Impossible visited and is not the result of a dramatic turnaround.

*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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