Kitchen Nightmares (US) Season 3 Episode 01: Hot Potato Cafe, Philadelphia, PA

Kitchen Nightmares (US) Season 3 Episode 01: Hot Potato Cafe, Philadelphia, PA - CLOSED

UPDATED : 26 December 2019

In this season premiere episode of Kitchen Nightmares, Gordon Ramsay visits Hot Potato Cafe, Philadelphia, PA. This restaurant is owned by two sisters Claire and Kathryn & their sister in law Erin. Their niece Danielle, who is just 21 years old and has no formal training handles the kitchen as the head chef. Around eight months after opening the restaurant, a bad review by a local newspaper, in which the restaurant was dubbed as ‘Spuddy Hell’ (link in sources section) has ruined the reputation and business of the restaurant. In the introduction part of the episode, the owners are clueless about what to change and their niece Danielle does not really want to be a chef. Danielle is doing whatever she can to help out the family.

Hot Potato Cafe Philadelphia in Kitchen Nightmares
Hot Potato Cafe Philadelphia in Kitchen Nightmares

Gordon arrives at the restaurant and meets the owners. He sits down with them and asks them the issues with the restaurant, no one comes up with an answer which baffles Ramsay. Gordon is surprised that a 21-year-old is running the kitchen. Gordon asks them the specialty of the restaurant and all three of them come up with different dishes, ironically, no one suggests potato.

Episode Related Info:
Kitchen Nightmares (US) Season 3 Episode 01
Restaurant Name: Hot Potato Cafe, Philadelphia, PA
Filming: May 2009
Air Date: 29 January 2010
Restaurant Close Date: 30 August 2010
Current Status: CLOSED

Is Hot Potato Cafe, Philadelphia, PA closed?

Yes, the food quality and the service started declining in and around June 2010. The restaurant closed on 30th August 2010, roughly around 7 months after the episode aired on Fox.

Food Sampling:

Gordon sits down to sample the menu and orders hot potato soup, spud skins and a shepherd’s pie. The hot potato soup is messy, lumpy, very thick and bland. the second dish, spud skins are from frozen potatoes, baked three weeks ago and are dreadful. The third dish shepherd’s pie is “2/3 mash and 1/3 greasy” as per Gordon. Gordon asks the waiter Brian to take the shepherd’s pie back to the kitchen and let the owners taste it once. The owners taste it and do not like it either. Gordon comes to the kitchen and meets the head chef Danielle. Danielle reveals that she does not know cooking and is here just to help out the family. She tells that being a chef is not a career choice for her.

Later in the day, Gordon arrives at the restaurant before dinner service to sit down with the owners.
Owners have invested little over quarter million dollars into the restaurant but are not seeing any returns. There is no passion left and owners have started to resent each other’s company. Gordon says he wants to see some passion and drive in dinner service and asks Claire to expedite the kitchen during dinner service. The restaurant is full at the dinner service and Katheryn and Claire are as clueless as earlier. Claire tries to expedite the service but fails miserably. Danielle pushes orders out of the kitchen in a timely manner and this is just one good thing about dinner service.

Gordon gathers the team after a pathetic dinner service. He tells them that none of the owners are passionate about turning the restaurant into a success. Gordon tells them that he can not work with zombies and in an abrupt move walks out of the restaurant. Claire, Katheryn, and Erin follow Gordon and talk to him one more time. They tell him that they are committed and they do care about the restaurant, they convince Gordon to help them. Gordon tells them that he is going to be 100% committed and they must be 200% committed in return to make it a success.

Knowing that the owners are committed, Gordon returns the next day and as a challenge, he asks the owners to make potato dish. He tells them that the best potato dish will go into the menu as specials, this brings new energy into the owners. Everyone likes Danielle’s dish and it goes as special into the menu. Gordon also shares the recipe for a good shepherd’s pie with Danielle. At dinner service, customers are happy with the specials, however, the portion size of old dishes is huge. Customers leave with lots of food in takeaway boxes, taking with them the restaurants profits. At the end of dinner service, Gordon shows the owners the amount of extra food they are giving away. As a sign of tradition-breaking, he takes the staff to the backyard and makes them break old over-sized plates.

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 modern touch, dishes are replaced on each table. Gordon unveils the new menu to the staff and everyone loves new decor and the new menu. Gordon also brings in a successful local chef Richard March to mentor Danielle and to help her with the food. A couple of hours before launch, Gordon shows the samples of food they will be delivering at the relaunch to the staff. Gordon also surprises them by telling that ‘Idaho Potato Commission’ (Link in sources) has given them next three months of potato supplies for free.

 

Just minutes before the relaunch, Gordon reveals that the food critic who gave them “Spuddy Hell” title will be joining them for the relaunch. Customers are amazed by the decor and menu changes. The kitchen starts strongly with good food leaving the kitchen timely and customers loving the food. One hour into service, food critic arrives and orders food. He loves his soup and pierogies. He also tries more dishes after the initial order, the staff and the owners are ecstatic. The food critic published an excellent review for the food (link in sources section).

The owners are overwhelmed with the type of service and food they delivered on the relaunch. After the dinner service where no customer complained, Gordon shares his amazement with the relaunch. After the relaunch, Gordon helps them with some promotion, reviews, and response after the relaunch are all positive.

What happened next?

Initially, the Hot Potato Cafe maintained the food and service standards. Yelp reviews after the relaunch were positive. According to one local food critic, the food and service began to slip and by June 2010. The restaurant closed on 30th August 2010, just seven months after the Kitchen Nightmares episode aired.

A new restaurant Lloyd Whiskey Bar is now running where the Hot Potato Cafe once operated. The reviews of Llyod Whiskey Bar are good.

Chef Danielle is currently working as an RN (part-time) The Watermark at Logan Square, Philadelphia, PA and is working as a bartender at Tir Na Nog Bar and Grill (link in sources section).

Resources:

  1. Episode IMDB page
  2. The Hot Potatot Cafe, Yelp page
  3. Idaho Potato Commission
  4. Brian Mcmanus's "Spuddy Hell" review
  5. Brian Mcmanus's review after the relaunch
  6. The Hot Potato Cafe closure report
  7. Chef Danielle's LinkedIn status

 

Is Hot Potato Cafe, Philadelphia, PA closed?

Yes, the food quality and the service started declining in and around June 2010. The restaurant closed on 30th August 2010, roughly around 7 months after the episode aired on Fox.

Why did the Hot Potato Cafe, Philadelphia, PA close?

The craigslist ad advertises the business as a "turn-key" operation because management is moving on. At present, the link to the advertisement has expired on craigslist website.

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Episode Related Info:
Kitchen Nightmares (US) Season 3 Episode 01
Restaurant Name: Hot Potato Cafe, Philadelphia, PA
Filming: May 2009
Air Date: 29 January 2010
Restaurant Close Date: 30 August 2010
Current Status: CLOSED

2 thoughts on “Kitchen Nightmares (US) Season 3 Episode 01: Hot Potato Cafe, Philadelphia, PA”

    1. RN – Registered Nurse. They monitor, record and report symptoms or changes in patient’s conditions. Also, sometimes they maintain accurate patients’ reports and medical histories, administer medication and treatment to patients and observe reactions or side effects of medications.

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