Thursday, December 26, 2019

Restaurant Impossible - Southern Grille of Ellendale Update

Tonight on Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine and his crew are in Ellendale, Delaware to makeover Southern Grille of Ellendale. Southern Grille is a southern-style restaurant owned by Ronald White who is working too hard to be in so much debt.  The owner has bills piling up, including medical bills, and is supposedly one month away from closing.  Robert Irvine also sees flies and fly traps all over the restaurant which is unappealing to customers.

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

  • "Amazing breakfast. They also just finished a remodel and the inside looks very updated. Pancakes were huge and tasty as was the French toast. Great prices tA great stop as part of a beach trip down Rt. 16."
  • "Today was my first time back since Restaurant Impossible did the makeover and the dining room looks fabulous, it now has a farmhouse feel with distressed flooring, bright white walls and farmhouse metal chairs, very nice. I just stopped in to pick up some stewed tomatoes & lima bean with dumpling soup to go so I didn't have a chance to look at the menu to see if there are any new additions but trust and believe that hubby and I will be coming back for dinner in a few weeks. The staff is very friendly and welcoming and the overall vibe of the place oozes Southern hospitality."
  • "The food is always great. Lima's and dumplings are our favorite. Wait times can get a little long at times. Not a huge fan of the 5% service fee to use your credit card. We will return, but will bring cash."
  • "The Food is terrific, great breakfast and the best biscuits and gravy I ever had!! Desserts are wonderful very reasonable! Love your lemon meringue pie!!!! Excellent!"

Negative Reviews:

  • "Very upset that they did NOT keep the new menu or any of the recipes from Restaurant Impossible. We asked the owner's daughter that night of the taping if they were going to continue with Robert's recipes & she said, "Yes, the whole menu, you see tonight". What a shame they didn't, keep their word. Everything we all had was fantastic. We went tonight, what a huge letdown. Another Restaurant, going under ask for help, gets FREE publicity & FREE $10,000 make over & more FREE publicity when it airs & FREE professional Business Guidance & Professional Chef Training & Recipes AND the OWNERS, go right back to cooking the same ole same ole, with the same attitudes that put them in the "please help me situation", but thanks for putting all the cash, labor & publicity into my restaurant."
  • "Unless you like finding surprises of the not-so-good kind in your food, I would highly recommend NOT going to the Southern Grille, Ellendale, DE. We ordered two pies, one chocolate meringue and the other lemon meringue, for a special occasion. A guest at the event found what she first believed to be a condom in her piece of pie. It turned out to be a rubber glove."
  • "There isn't a lot of competition in the area so if you've never eaten outside Sussex County this place might be satisfying. But if you've ever been elsewhere, you'll have had better food and this place will only be kinda mediocre. This isn't a dig at homestyle/comfort food. It's 100% possible for homestyle/comfort food to be amazing! This place just doesn't get there. I think it's largely because the menu is too broad and unfocused. It's not possible for 1. all the ingredients to be fresh or 2. the cooks to be good at 70 different things. Narrow it down and really *nail* a few signature dishes (from fresh ingredients) and they might be on to something."
  • "This restaurant recently underwent a renovation on Restaurant Impossible with Robert Irvine. The renovation did not help the quality of the food or the wait staff."
  • "Redoing the restaurant doesn't mean the wait staff improved. Waited almost 15 min and no one came over to ask us for a drink order. People were seated 10 minutes after us and got waited on. 2 staff were standing around."
  • "We went today because we were anxious to see the results of Mr. Irvine's remodel of the building & we were curious if service had improved. NOT. NOT. NOT."
*Reviews from Yelp, Tripadvisor

Other News and Links:

  • The Restaurant: Impossible makeover happened in August 2019.
  • This episode is available on demand from several cable companies before it airs tonight.
  • Here is the Southern Grille of Ellendale website and Facebook page.
  • Here are pictures of the new dining room from the Southern Grille Facebook page.
  • The Southern Grille serves muskrat which was a food item featured on another Restaurant Impossible episode in Delaware at the Wagon Wheel.  The Wagon Wheel closed in 2014, and when they closed, The Southern Grill started serving it on Wednesday nights. (Link)
    • This episode didn't highlight muskrat at the restaurant.
  • A local article from 2017 said Ronald White has been serving a free Thanksgiving dinner to the community (about 700 people) for over 10 straight years.  He also "works full-time as a building chief at Milford Middle School, runs a small trucking business and is his blind wife's full-time caretaker."
  • In 2018, Ronald White purchase The Hollywood Diner in Dover, DE and renamed it The Southern Grille Hollywood Diner.  That restaurant closed in mid-2019. (Link)
    • There was no mention of this on the episode, but this could have been an additional source of debt.
  • Here are the reviews for Southern Grille from Yelp, Tripadvisor, and Google.


The reviews for Southern Grille since the Restaurant: Impossible makeover have been mixed with people liking the food and the new makeover inside.  There are a decent amount of complaints about service and long wait times to get food.  Some people also complained that the menu was long and Southern Grille didn't keep menu items from Restaurant: Impossible.  The update at the end of the show said sales are up 40%, Claire was still managing, the flies are gone, and Laymere is pursuing his other interests.

*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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