Kitchen Nightmares (US) S05 E16: Chiarella’s, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – CLOSED

Kitchen Nightmares (US) S05 E16: Chiarella’s, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - CLOSED

In this edition of The Kitchen’s Nightmare, Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Dina Delphino and Tommy’s Italian restaurant Chiarella’s in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In 2007, the couple opens the restaurant after Dina’s parents closed the “original Chiarella’s” based in New Jersey. The loving couple figured out that it would gain popularity in Philadelphia as it was popular in New Jersey.

Chiarella’s starts very well. Customers show great interest in the ambiance and friendly nature of the couple. Tommy interacts with the customers personally and looks after the kitchen for orders while Dina assists him in managing the restaurant operations.

Chiarella's Kitchen Nightmares.jpg

Conflicts and Decline

Chiarella’s footfall decreases significantly, and that makes the cheerful couple depressed, especially Tommy, who looks after the finances. He cannot meet the expense deadlines and that makes him a completely different person.

Dina and Tommy consider that the wide range of food is exceptional, the décor is elegant, and the service is excellent. They both fail to understand the reason for decreased revenue, and from here, the conflict rises between them and they come to the verge of a breakup.

Whenever there is a complaint, Tommy gets depressions and hides out in the basement to relieve his tension with lifting weight and practicing golf. The lack of business drives him crazy and he ends up drained of stress.

Dina is quite upset with Tommy’s behavior. She tries to push him up but always ends up with a small fight about attitudes and responsibilities.


Episode Related Info:
Kitchen Nightmares (US) Season 05 Episode 16 (Including Re-vists)
Restaurant Name: Chiarella’s, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Filming: November 2011
Air Date: 23 March, 2012
Restaurant Close Date: 30 June 2015
Current Status: CLOSED

Is Chiarella’s, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania closed?

Yes. Chiarella’s closed its door for public on 30th June 2015. Everything was going okay except they could not get to stay in the same space after owner drove them out of lease due to increased rental costs.

Chef Gordon Ramsay Arrives at Chiarella’s

The Chef Gordon Ramsay arrives at Chiarella’s and meets Dina and Tommy. The meeting starts with a cheerful tone but ends in tears.

Chef Ramsay talks about the possible problems and Dina says it’s all about “inconsistencies”. Upon which, he asks about inconsistencies in food and service, and the couple, who has a staunch belief about their food, reflects that the food has no issue.

Now, Chef Ramsay asks about their responsibilities and here, they start blaming each other. Dina complains about the way Tommy handles the kitchen.

Gordon Ramsay talks to Tommy alone and finds out that he has lost his self-esteem and failure has made him dejected, but he is trying hard to keep the place running. He is the one who is unhappy about the disaster the most and needs a shoulder.

Chef Gordon Ramsay Criticizes the Food

After a disheartening discussion with Dina and Tommy, Chef Ramsay checks the food, which they both admire a lot.

He discovers the menu is stuffed with Veal and chicken dishes and every dish is named after some family member or celebrity, which is quite outdated style.

He orders veal Sinatra, steak Sarah Ann, and the land and sea Sheree. He rejects the food quality and says a clumsy mess to under-cooked steak, and claims that the Veal Sinatra is such a shame and disgusting being not tender and has a lack of texture. He notices the land and sea Sheree is bland and chewy and takes it as an insult to the Italian food.

Gordon Ramsay meets the head chef Felipe, who blames the owners for the outdated recipes and procedures and says they won’t let him work the way he wants. Tommy denies the claim and Chef Gordon Ramsay gets a bit loud about Tommy’s denial and says the food is disgusting and the overall experience is horrible.

Chiarella's Kitchen Nightmares Tom and Dina

Chef Gordon Ramsay Observes the Dinner Service

With the owners and the head chef having different opinions about the food, Chef Ramsay plans to observe the customers’ reactions to the food and the kitchen’s operation.

He finds the kitchen without a system. Chef Ramsay notices dishes coming back to the kitchen with complaints and checks every dish. The customers are unsatisfied with oily, watery, and tasteless food.

Embarrassed and disappointed with the criticisms, Tommy goes down to the basement and Dina takes charge of the kitchen till the shift ends.

At the end of the shift, Chef Ramsay holds a meeting with the staff and the owners to highlight the issues and he criticizes the food. He tells them to throw this idea out of the mind that their food is good, but Dina again denied the fact.

Frustrated with the denial behavior, Chef Ramsay suggests Dina and Tommy shut the restaurant to save money.

Chef Ramsay Goes to Dina and Tommy’s Home

After 24 hours of sheer frustration, dealing with owners, staff, and denial, Chef Ramsay decides a home visit to have a chat with Dina and her eldest daughter.

He tries to convince Dina that she better should understand the disgusting food. She denies the bad food and Chef Ramsay tells her that if she stays deluded he better leave without wasting the time. He suggests her coming out of this delusion. Reluctantly, she agrees with him.

Next, with the help of Dina and her daughter, he tries to push Tommy to get him out of disappointment. They try to infuse confidence in Tommy, and he promises to adhere to Chef Ramsay’s advice with a positive attitude.

The next morning, Tommy comes to the restaurant with a smiley face and looks confident. He tries to learn to cook with Chef Ramsay and enjoys it a lot. Chef Ramsay wants Tommy to involve in the kitchen to have better control of the business.

Chiarella's Kitchen Nightmares Dina and her Daughter

Chiarella’s Renovation

With his team, Chef Ramsay renovates Chiarella’s. To give it a new look, he changes almost everything from the theme to style, and from linen to furniture and convert Chiarella’s into a cozy contemporary eatery.

He cuts short the menu and dishes with a unique style that attracts and appeals not only to Dina and Tommy and the staff but also caters to the local taste.

The next morning, Dina and Tommy come to the restaurant with their staff, and to their surprise, it was a new Chiarella’s with a new aesthetics. They all checked the food and presentation and agree upon the quality and change in the food.

He introduces a new chef to the team to help maintain the standards and everyone accepts him warmly.

Chiarella’s Relaunch

With all goals set, relaunching of Chiarella’s becomes a success. People flooded in and enjoyed the exclusive food with a nice presentation. Dina and Tommy are more confident and have forgotten the grudges.

Tommy takes the control of his business and looks wonderful on the floor. Team work more coherently in kitchen, staff pitches in with timely delivery and patrons love the new offerings on the menu.

What happened to Chiarella’s, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania after relaunch?

Ending act of the show shows a successful launch of Chiarella’s with both Tommy and Dina assuming the right role and driving the restaurant in right direction.

Philly Mag covered the experience at new Chiarella’s after few months from the filming and a month before the show aired. They would not term it as extreme makeover, just a little tweak with food mainly focussed on young hip crowd than to Italian food lovers. Thomas (Tommy) was actually happy that Gordon helped him to come out of a rut. Philly Mag termed food as above average but nothing sensational.

In a revisit, Gordon also returned to the restaurant a year later. Business is 20% up and they also have applied for liquor license for generating more profits. Gordon is happy to see them on successful journey and offers to contribute towards their liquor license. Tommy is full of energy and confidence.

Chiarella’s closed on 30th June 2015. It was shocking because they were having great reviews across Yelp, Tripadvisor, Facebook and foursquare. Few negative reviews were there but they were not related to food. Chiarella’s blamed the rising cost of renting the space for the closure of the restaurant. They wanted to keep the restaurant running but owner of the space was pushing them out of their lease.



1. Restaurant Profile on Yelp

2. Chiarella’s IMDB episode link

3. Facebook Page of Chiarella’s

4. Restaurant's website

5. Philly Mag's restaurant visit

6. Restaurant's Closure News

7. Restaurant's Closure News on Inquirer


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Episode Related Info:
Kitchen Nightmares (US) Season 05 Episode 16 (Including Revists)
Restaurant Name: Chiarella’s, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Filming: November 2011
Air Date: 23 March, 2012
Restaurant Close Date: 30 June 2015
Current Status: CLOSED

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