Saturday, July 27, 2019

Restaurant Impossible - McLanks Family Restaurant Update

Tonight on Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine and his crew are in Columbia, Missouri to makeover McLanks Family Restaurant. McLanks Family restaurant is owned by Sheila Lankford and her five adult children help run the restaurant.  They all fight constantly, and the fighting is ruining their relationships and also hurting the restaurant.  Robert will need to fix their relationship as well as the restaurant if McLanks wants to succeed.

As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about McLanks 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:

  • "Great food, great prices, and such a great variety! The catfish dinner, chef salad, nachos, fried okra, and fried green tomatoes are my favorites so far!!
  • Great family that runs this restaurant. If you haven't tried it, you should!! I'm excited to go back."
  • "Everyone should eat here. I needed to know what a Robert Irvine's Restaurant Impossible restaurant was like and McLanks is just down the road so no brainer. The smoked wings are AMAZING and on Tuesday's their $.50 a wing...a new Tuesday dinner in this household. We also ordered the special of the day which was a delicious 3/4 lb. flame grilled burger that was legit and satisfying. I am seriously impressed."
  • "A little pricey, but the food is amazing!! Table service is a little weird, but they're super friendly and fast service otherwise. Love love LOVE the chicken wings!!"
  • "This chubby girl knows her food. So you can trust me when I say this place was great!! Food was amazing, service was perfect! My husband had ribs and I had the tenderloin, both perfectly seasoned and cooked. Will definitely be back next time we're in town."
  • "Absolutely FANTASTIC experience. I couldn't be happier. I had the smoked brisket gyro with fries and fried cabbage. All of which were absolutely PHENOMENAL! Friendly people from the minute I walked through the door until I was finished eating. Little to no wait and the food was hot and fresh. Legitimately a hidden gem of Columbia. If you have one restaurant to choose from for the month and you don't eat here you are making a HUGE mistake. From prices to setting and food quality this place has to be experienced. It's almost too good to be true but I'm telling you it's real."
  • "Best wings! Fast friendly service. Renovation look amazing. Price for entrees a bit much for the type of meat but I'll definitely go back."

Negative Reviews:

  • "I had potato soup. Nothing but watered down instant potatoes. No taste. They had a dinner menu for lunch. Too expensive for lunch.Do not see many cars there.I see great reviews. Maybe need to try again."
  • "So, tried the "new, improved" McLank's last Tuesday evening. Not that impressed.I ordered the catfish, which was to come with roasted potatoes, vegetable medley, some remoulade, and some pineapple salsa. I asked and was told the vegetables were cauliflower and zucchini. I also asked that the salsa be on the side, which it was. Catfish coating was like a leather coat, not flaky at all, more like rubbery, and came off all in one piece. I had to ask for the potatoes, as they were not delivered with the rest of my meal. The vegetables were so overcooked as to be unrecognizable"
  • "Not only was our order messed up as in we did not receive the appetizer, I ordered a bacon cheeseburger with fries, no bacon and the fries were still half frozen or at least cold for something that was to be fried. To top it off there was at least one hair in my food. They did offer to remake it but my appetite was ruined by that point."
  • "Showed up at noon on a Friday after they reopened from food network. After waiting for someone to come out of the kitchen they informed me they would open in “bout an hour.” everything else including the door says 11 am."
  • "First time visiting since the remodel. The remodel looks great but did not care for the changes to the menu. Seemed a bit high for what you got"
  • "I thought this place was going to be better since it was revamped by Robert Irving. The first attempt to visit after revamp it was closed due to gas line break. The second attempt The service was no different than prior experiences sub par. Now with higher prices and less menu options. I was really wanting to see this small business succeed."
*Reviews from Yelp, Google

Other News and Links:

  • The Restaurant Impossible makeover for McLanks Family Restaurant happened in May 2019.  
  • Here is the McLanks Family Restaurant Facebook page.
  • In an interview with the local news, Robert Irvine said McLanks lost $75,000 last year. (Link)
  • The building McLanks is in had a bad reputation for being really old and the Restaurant: Impossible makeover helped with some updates.  Sheila also said that business has been better since the makeover. (Link)
  • McLanks has gift cards for sale - $6 for a $15 certificate or $10 for a $25 certificate. (Link)
  • On a local Columbia, MO Facebook page, people are talking about how the restaurant always looks empty and they don't like the smaller menu or higher prices. (Link)
  • On another post from that page, people also talk about how it looks empty and they thought it was closed.  Others say more care should be done to the exterior of the building to make it look more inviting.  A couple people did complement the food. (Link)


Reviews for McLanks Family Restaurant since the Restaurant Impossible makeover have been mixed.  The positive reviews compliment the food (especially the wings) and the family running the restaurant.  The negative reviews complain about the service, higher prices for smaller portions, and the limited menu.  Sheila did say that the business has been better since the makeover.  It seems that locals of Columbia, MO also think the building/parking lot always looks empty and the outside isn't inviting.  That is probably not a good sign, but maybe after their episode of Restaurant Impossible airs, the restaurant will get another boost.

UPDATE 5/2021 - Jeffrey McWilliams (one of the son's/owner) was arrested in May 2021 for a homicide that involved a home invasion and drug use.  The homicide was in 2017, so it occurred before McLanks appeared on Restaurant Impossible. (Link)

UPDATE 6/2021 - Mclanks closed in June 2021 and posted the following message on their Facebook page, "As much as it breaks my heart I have to tell you that McLanks family restaurant and catering will be closing this Sunday, June 6th. If we run out of food before then we will close before then. I have always said that my family comes first and right now that’s what I have to Focus on. It has been an amazing 4 yrs and I will never forget the support our customers have shown us!! please come by and see us one last time before we close our doors. We will be having specials all week! Again thank you Como for all the love and support these last 4 yrs!!!"

*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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