Saturday, September 7, 2019

Restaurant Impossible - Madison Street Retro Diner

Tonight on Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine and his crew are in Muncie, Indiana to makeover Madison Street Retro Diner.  Madison Street Retro Diner is owned by Rita Watkins and her health is impacting her ability to run the restaurant.  Rita's daughter Melissa can't seem to step up to the plate to take over the restaurant.  The food at Madison Street Diner is some of the worst food Robert Irvine has ever tried. He will need to motivate Melissa and give her the skills necessary to take over the restaurant and make it successful.

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

  • "I ordered a cheeseburger with fries and cottage cheese. Ask for napkins the cheeseburger was delicious. I had mayo ketchup and mustard with lettuce and pickles. Great value great service and very clean. Highly recommend"
  • "Breaded tenderloin sandwich was yummy and service was excellent"
  • "The food is good, the environment is really neat. The menu is a little small, but they do it well."
  • "I give it 4 out of 5 stars, knocking off a point for the bad meatloaf. But everyone there was very friendly and talked to you as if you were family and had known you all of their lives. We will definitely be back again!"
  • "The food is fantastic, the service is better than best, and the camaraderie, the clientele, the atmosphere of friendliness would and should make it even better than the five stars this establishment richly deserves! And the prices are extremely affordable!"
  • "Today was our first time dining there since the remodeling and it was really nice! The new decor was much improved as well the atmosphere. The hand-painted mural on the backwall was well done and interesting. Our server was friendly and prompt as well attentive to our dining needs. I had a BLT that was great which came with a choice side besides fries. I would definitely recommend this diner!"

Negative Reviews:

  • "Been only 4-5 times. Last time was it. 40+mins for food. No one came out to tell us anything. No refills. Saw people come in after us, eat and leave. I was annoyed. The daughter/manager KNEW and kept looking at us but she still did nothing until we went to pay. She finally apologized for food once the CC was in the machine. We were there for a late breakfast. Which turned to early lunch. There were over 10 tables open when we went in, so they were not busy. The excuse she told us, her dad left line and our ticket got lost in the shuffle. Really?"
  • "They use to have very good food. But with the new menu it isn't very good and it is expensive"
  • "Menu is too small, food isn't what it use to be. Prices to high. Miss the old place!"
  • "Not much improvement service was still slow."
  • "Restaurant Impossible FAIL! Gave it a shot & got a moldy roll & my friend had egg shell all throughout her beef & noodles. Manager had the gull to say well they're homemade noodles, eggshells happen! Ummm no! Won't be back"
  • "First of all 3.24 for (1) glass of iced tea is ridiculous. Online menu says 1.49. Others got waited on that came in after we did. Restaurant was good before Hollywood came in and changed things. Breakfast all day doesn't exist. Menu stinks. Never going back. Got up and left."
*Reviews from Yelp, Google

Other News and Links:

  • The Restaurant Impossible makeover happened in July 2019.
  • Here is the Madison Street Retro Diner website and Facebook page
    • For some reason there are casino links all over the Madison Street Retro Diner home page.
  • There are a lot of posts on the Madison Street Retro Diner Facebook Page about the changes from Restaurant Impossible and there are updates on what they have done since the show.
  • On August 6th, the restaurant responded to a customer, "We are trying so hard. It's a big switch going from packaged food to 100% made from scratch items. I am proud of my staff for working so hard trying to figure out how to deal with 3 times the customers and a brand new menu at the same time."
  • On September 2nd, Madison Street Retro Diner said they were able to order another grill and are now open for breakfast all day.  A Facebook post said, "BREAKFAST NOW SERVED ALL DAY! Thank you to all of our customers, new and old, who have shown us so much love this past month! Because of you we were able to buy a second grill much faster than expected and can now offer our whole menu all day!"
  • An earlier post right after the makeover said they stopped serving breakfast all day due to Robert Irvine's suggestion.
  • This was the season finale of Restaurant Impossible, but they have already been filming episodes for the next season.


The reviews for Madison Street Retro Diner since the Restaurant Impossible makeover have been mixed with people liking the food and the remodel, while there are complaints about the service, smaller menu, and higher prices. The restaurant has admitted that the adjustment has been hard to move from frozen ingredients to fresh and that the staff needed to be trained to deal with the changes and increased business.  Madison Street Retro Diner has said that the increased business allowed them to order another grill and they have now gone back to serving breakfast all day.

UPDATE - Madison Street Retro Diner closed in May 2020.  They posted the following message on their Facebook page, "We are heartbroken to make this announcement. 
The Retro Diner will not be reopening. Many of you watched our episode of Restaurant Impossible and are aware that we have had financials issues in the past. When Restaurant Impossible visited us, we were given the tools to succeed. We were finally in a position where we could afford to pay off much of our debt. We were hopeful for the future, but then this epidemic occurred. We had been making payments on our back taxes, expecting to be caught up by the end of summer, but once the quarentine began, we were unable to make them. The State of Indiana decided to move forward with seizing property, even during this national crisis.  We held on for a miracle, but we were not able to recieve any of the grants. We hate that this has occured, but there is no way for us to move forward at this point. That being said, our head cook has decided to use his savings and has purchased the old Byrd Landing and is in the process of opening a new Restaurant. No opening date just yet, but hopefully this summer. His willingness to open his own restaurant will allow for several (if not all) of our previous employees to get back to work. We wish him the best of luck on this endeavor. We will miss all of our loyal customers, and hope to see you around.
-The Retro Diner family"

*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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