Kitchen Nightmares (US) Season 2 Episode 12: Cafe 36, La Grange, IL

Kitchen Nightmares (US) Season 2 Episode 12: Cafe 36, La Grange, IL - CLOSED

UPDATED : 26 December 2019

In this episode of Kitchen Nightmares, Gordon Ramsay visits Cafe 36, La Grange, IL. For the past two years, this American Bistro is being run by a pair of high school sweethearts Terry and Carol Gilmer. They are losing $10K per month and things are not going in their favor. In introduction part, Terry tells that he does all the work from cleaning, fixing stuff, and maintenance. He and his wife, both are having a perception that Chef Pinto is good and they serve above par food. Carol is worried that Terry does not delegate any work and is too much hands-on with everything. Chef Pinto talks as if things are all great and customers are happy with his food. No one in staff likes Pinto much and they think that restaurant would do better without Pinto.

Episode Related Info:
Kitchen Nightmares (US) Season 2 Episode 12
Restaurant Name: Cafe 36, La Grange, IL
Filming: February 2008
Air Date: 15 January 2009
Restaurant Close Date: 18 April 2009
Current Status: CLOSED

Is Cafe 36, La Grange, IL closed?

Yes, due to the poor economy, owners were forced to shut down the restaurant on Saturday, April 18, 2009.

Food Sampling:

Gordon arrives at the restaurant and meets with Terry and Carol. He orders wild mushroom risotto, duck salad and salmon crepe for sampling the food. The risotto is mush and too salty and Gordon sends it back. restaurant hipper. The duck salad is a weird combination of candied walnuts, orange and strawberries and the final dish salmon crepe is store bought, mushy and pathetic. Gordon sends all the dishes back. Gordon meets the chef Pinto and asks him about the food source. Gordon finds out that all the dishes that are being prepared are not fresh. Pinto is using one-week old preparations to make the dishes which amazes and disgusts Gordon. He calls Pinto a fake chef as there is no passion left in him. The owner Terry is surprised to find that they serve stale food in the restaurant.

Cafe 36 La Grange Kitchen Nightmares
Cafe 36 La Grange Kitchen Nightmares

Kitchen Investigation:

Gordon arrives at the restaurant before dinner service to sit down with the owners. Terry and Carol tell him that they have cashed in their savings and have put in over $1 million so far in the restaurant. None of them have any restaurant experience and both of them are unaware of the issues. Gordon checks the freezer and finds everything frozen. Gordon calls for Pinto and asks him about the supplies being frozen. Pinto responds that everything that comes in fresh is frozen and he takes portions out of it when needed. The only thing that Pinto does not freeze is calamari, which comes in frozen.

Gordon witnesses the dinner service and is amazed at the snail pace at which food is leaving the kitchen. Chef Pinto and Sous Chef Barney do not work together and the food is taking forever. Moreover, food is being carried out in trolleys which the server do not prefer. Gordon finds asparagus in the kitchen, Pinto boasts that they are out of the season. Gordon shouts at Pinto saying that this is one of most expensive veg produce available in the market. Customers are not happy with wait time and those who are not fed start to leave the restaurant.

After a dismal dinner service, Gordon tells the owners and staff that food is the main issue with the restaurant and more importantly the executive chef is lazy and cutting corners. He dares Pinto to come up to the speed and there will be changes now on.

The next day, Gordon teaches them to make homemade mushroom risotto and he takes carts out of food serving process. He introduces table side green veggie salad prep with cheese fritters, putting the carts to use. He then sits down with Terry and tells him that Pinto is not a right fit as chef and Terry needs to be firm. Terry approves his positive points and adds that this is his business and he needs to be firm.

The dinner service starts on a good note with the restaurant full of customers. The newly added salad is a big hit, however, the chef and sous chef still are not working together. The customers who get their food complain about food being cold or portion size. After another pathetic dinner service, the team regroups and Gordon tells them that food is bad, inconsistent and service is slow. Pinto thinks that dinner service was excellent.

Relaunch:

Gordon’s team give a makeover to the restaurant overnight, adding some freshness to the overall vibe. the dated interiors are gone and are replaced by a contemporary touch, dishes are replaced on each table. Gordon unveils the new menu to the staff and everyone loves new decor and the new menu. The sous chef thinks that the new menu will enable to speed up the process in the kitchen. The relaunch night starts strongly with customers getting good food on time. However, one hour into the service, chef Pinto falls back to his own ways and stops to communicate. That put the kitchen behind on the orders, Gordon makes Terry aware of the situation.

Gordon Ramsay with Terry and Carol Gilmer Cafe 36 La Grange in Kitchen Nightmares
Gordon Ramsay with Terry and Carol Gilmer Cafe 36 La Grange in Kitchen Nightmares

Customers are waiting for the food and Terry takes control in his hands and starts expediting the queue. The kitchen gets back on track as Terry starts running the line. Customers start getting food and they love the new menu, the relaunch is a success. After the relaunch, Gordon sits down with Terry and Carol and tells them that they need to be decisive now on. They thank Gordon for all he has done and offer him an old bottle of wine. Gordon requests them to keep the bottle in the restaurant and tells them that the next time he visits them, they will have it together.

What happened next?

At the end of the episode, we learn that Chef Pinto left the very next day and the sous chef Barney was offered the head chef’s job. Chef Barney later left to finish his culinary degree. Chef Pinto went on to work at another family restaurant in the area. Till April 2009, Cafe 36 continued to operate in La Grange, Illinois. Despite all the best efforts from Chef Ramsay, the bistro continued to go downhill.

Online reviews posted after the relaunch were mixed, many reviews also mentioned that the kitchen was most of the times out of stocks (Link in the resources). Few liked the changes after the relaunch, few also praised the service. Due to the poor economy, owners were forced to shut down the place on April 18, 2009. As of 2018, a chocolate store called New Vintage is operating where Cafe 36 used to run.

 

Resources:

  1. IMDB Episode Info
  2. Cafe 36 on Yelp
  3. Foodies share expereince: Before and After, Cafe 36
  4. Terry, a chef?

 

Is Cafe 36, La Grange, IL closed?

Yes, due to the poor economy, owners were forced to shut down the restaurant on Saturday, April 18, 2009.

Added Bits:
After sampling the food, Gordon asks Terry and Carol if they have any restaurant experience and they deny. Few users from La Grange report that Terry (owner of Cafe 36) was an Executive Chef at a well known suburban country club for over 20 years (Link in the resources).

 

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Episode Related Info:
Kitchen Nightmares (US) Season 2 Episode 12
Restaurant Name: Cafe 36, La Grange, IL
Filming: February 2008
Air Date: 15 January 2009
Restaurant Close Date: 18 April 2009
Current Status: CLOSED

1 thought on “Kitchen Nightmares (US) Season 2 Episode 12: Cafe 36, La Grange, IL”

  1. Hello! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Dallas Tx! Just wanted to tell you keep up the good job!

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