Saturday, August 24, 2019

Restaurant Impossible - Al's Seafood Update

Tonight on Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine and his crew are in Essex, Maryland to makeover Al's Seafood.  Al's Seafood is a family-owned business that has been around for over 60 years and is in danger of closing.  The owner Chad and his sister Cara need to get their finances in order and stop wasting food.  They also need to inspire their staff and be willing to make changes to make Al's Seafood succeed.

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

  • "My wife and I absolutely love AL's Seafood !!!! Never had the same server twice in the three years and maybe 5-7 times we've been there but have never had bad service. So that speaks to the training and expectations management place on their staff and reputation. Oh and by the way the food is great and portions large. They're regularly on living social and/or Groupon to save you a couple bucks as well. Family style setting with nautical touches and flat screens all around showing sports. Don't expect a romantic setting but if food is the priority, Go Go Go."
  • "Crabs were heavy and steamed to perfection. Don't forget to order the lemonade, you won't be disappointed."
  • "The decor was definitely brighter as it used to be very dark inside. The menu was much more abbreviated and therefore the menu currently listed on this website is incorrect. We are all seafood lovers so we were able to find something we liked since that was the main focus. Each entree comes with a salad and one vegetable that you are not able to change unless you want to pay an extra fee. Our server was very apologetic about this and said that change was made by Robert Irvine. I don't understand this logic but maybe it will be explained during the episode. My crab soup and crab cakes were very tasty and contained no shells which was a big plus. Sadly, for a Saturday night the restaurant was almost empty and we were the only customers for our server who did an excellent job."
  • "We got the all you can eat crabs and corn which they have on Wednesday and Thursday. Crabs were well seasoned and tasty! The server Kelly was attentive and freindly. The owner even stopped by to ask if we were enjoying the crabs. We will definitely be back to request Kelly and take advantage of the all you can eat deal! The new dining room is inviting and comfortable too!"
Negative Reviews:

  • "Crabs tonight one dozen $70's. Okay I've been eating crabs for say 50 years these were NOT fresh definitely re heated really bad tasting you can just tell. Gross will never return....Wings good crab pretzel ughhhhh. No draught selection either like two beers on draught no wonder the place is empty for a Saturday night at 7"
  • "I was excited to see how the place had changed after the Restaurant Impossible episode but was left kind of disappointed. The placed does look better, brighter and more inviting...The menu has been cut down to only a few items. I had the chicken wings and wedge salad. The wedge salad was just ok and the chicken wings were a bit salty but tasty...however: $9 for 6 plain chicken wings is way over priced. My wife had the crab pretzel and cream of crab soup which she enjoyed. I had high hopes but sad to say I probably won't be eating there again anytime soon."
  • "I have been going to Al's for years, and I have always loved the place. I often get the half-bushel of Maryland #1's (large, extra large, and jumbo mixed) for a very reasonable price. But for the past two times they have sold me a half-bushel of mediums for the price of the #1's. I feel cheated and I regret to say I will never go there again. Dishonest and playing their customers for suckers."
  • "The restaurant was recently redone by Restaurant Impossible so we wanted to see the improvements that were done. As for the decor there is improvement but not all of it positive. The backs of the chairs are wrapped in a thick twine so everyone or everything that touches them will just add to the dirt/germ factor because they cannot be wiped or cleaned....As for the menu it is now a piece of paper with limited options and higher prices. You cannot even choose your sides. You have to take what comes with your entree. No substitutions.....One other problem I have with this restaurant is the parking. There is no visible handicapped parking spaces which I would think a restaurant would have to have. Their regular parking lot is about half block away next to a seedy motel. Not very safe for the elderly especially in the evening. "
*Reviews from Yelp, Tripadvisor, Google

Other News and Links:

  • The Restaurant Impossible makeover happened in June 2019.
  • Here is the Al's Seafood Facebook page.  There is no website for Al's that I could find.
  • Here is an unofficial Facebook page where people check-in and give reviews.
  • Here is a preview video of the episode at Al's Seafood. (Link)
  • Chad's father Al died in late 2017 and here was his obituary which detailed his time in the restaurant business. (Link)
  • On The Baltimore Sun Facebook page, people were commenting about Restaurant Impossible coming to Al's Seafood.  There were complaints about the hotel out back and the dumpster outside of the restaurant.  People also complained about Restaurant Impossible asking for free skilled labor for the makeover. (Link)
  • Al's offers a gift card of $10 for the price of $4. (Link)
  • Al's also offers a Groupon for $25 worth of food for the price of $15. (Link)
  • The menu for Al's changes frequently and they do post the menus on their Facebook page.


The reviews for Al's Seafood since the Restaurant Impossible makeover are mixed with people liking the food/crabs and new decor.  The negative reviews complain about the crabs, prices, and not being able to substitute sides.  Multiple reviews said Al's Seafood was pretty empty for a Saturday night, so that doesn't sound too promising.

*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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