Sunday, 24 March 2013

US Season 6 - Mill Street Bistro - RENAMED

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Open or closed? OPEN
Location: Norwalk, OH
Website: http://www.millstreetbistrobar.com/

Episode Summary: Gordon visits Mill Street Bistro in Norwalk, Ohio ran by Joe Nagy, a very pretentous chef who is in denial about his restaurant. Joe opened the business with no restaurant experience after losing his job in food sales. His staff aren't happy about the way he treats them or the food they are serving. Joe claims it is fresh, farm to table but it is actually frozen, freezer to table. Joe talks down to his staff and blames them for problems that arise in the restaurant. The comment cards focus on Joes poor customer service skills and the way he talks to the customers. He believes he is a kitchen nightmare as he has no bums in seats.

Gordon invites Joe to his farm to show off his ranch where the produce from the restaurant allegedly comes from. Joe tells Gordon that people think he is pretentious but he isn't he is just passionate. Skinny the goat tries to butt Gordon, hahahahaha. Gordon is excited after visiting the farm and is excited to taste his food. Gordon isn't impressed with the name badges that the staff are wearing as it is not a chain restaurant and asks his server to take hers off. The server says the problem is the way Joe interacts with the staff. He asks for the "specials" and is told that they are refered to as "features". Gordon order the elk feature, the fish trio, scallops en croute, vegetarian ravioli primavera, onion soup, oyster rockefeller and the elk quesadilla. Gordon asks the staff to introduce themselves to him and ditch the name badges. The french onion soup is greasy, watery and short on cheese and onions,  the oyster rockefeller has bitter oysters and the oil garnish is all over the oysters, the scallop en croute has micro carrots as a garnish, the scallops are like bullets and the pastry is raw the quesadilla is chewy and tough, the vegetable ravioli is covered in the same oil garnish and is ice cold, the fish trio is dry, rubbery and greasy and tastes if out the freezer and finally the elk feature is tough as old boots and impossible to chew. Gordon describes the food as farm to garbage can and is shocked to hear the elk feature costs $35. Joe shows his true colours and believes that some things in the restaurant are below him and should be handled by staff and not the owner of the restaurant. Gordon leaves the restaurant to grab a bite elsewhere and Joe is not impressed.

Gordon returns for dinner service and to give his opinion of the food, he wasn't impressed with anything and did not take more than 2 bites of anything. Joe reveals that he fresh catch of the day is actually frozen. Joe is defensive of his food and Gordon tells him he is in denial. Gordon tells Joe to prove him wrong at dinner service. Gordon notices the huge Quiet sign in the kitchen and Joe tells Gordon there is to be no talking in the kitchen. The food leaves the kitchen at a reasonable pace and the food leaves without Joe telling them where it is going. The food does not go down well with the customers and many dishes are returned to the kitchen. A diner finds a stone in her ravioli and Joe tells Gordon he is over critical. Gordon had reached out to an ex employee and she calls to say she is outside. She quit a month ago after being constantly criticised. She has a catalogue of photos on her phone of old, terrible food and the packages of bought in meat. Gordon decides to investigate the food storage and finds frozen out of date food, half frozen food and the frozen oysters served to him at lunch. Gordon and Joe descend into a massive yelling match and Joe throws Gordon out the kitchen.


Part 2

The second part of Mill Street Bistro returns to Gordon and Joes argument over the onion soup continuing.  After the argument, they agree to draw a line in the sand and make things better in the restaurant. The next morning, Gordon calls the staff into a meeting, they let out their frustrations about Joe, who is secretly watching the meeting in another room. The staff are fed up and all admit to being on the edge of quitting the restaurant. After they have got all their frustrations off their chests Gordon reveals that Joe has been listening to them and brings Joe out to face his staff. He realises he needs to soften up with the staff and tells them he is 100% committed to change but they don't believe he can. Gordon tells Joe that he thinks the prices at the restaurant are too high. To demonstrate he brings out bags of fresh groceries with enough fresh food to cook five meals a week and compares the value to a meal at the Bistro. Joe agrees that the restaurant is too expensive. Gordon meets with Joe and Tom to show them some new affordable dishes including a burger and a walleye dish.

Gordon arrives for a dinner service, testing the new dishes to see how the locals react to them. The kitchen however cannot cope and it falls apart as the communication breaks down and orders get muddled. Gordon encourages Joe to bounce back from it but instead they break out into another heated argument. Gordon shouts at Joe to get out of the kitchen so that he can help Tom to recover and finish the service while an agitated Joe shares his complaints with the customers. After the service Gordon tells Joe that he can no longer be in the kitchen. The next day, the revamped menu is revealed to the staff and he brings in consultant chef Brian Goodman to help. The new menu features confit duck, seasonal fish, elk sausage burger and an elk chilli.

On relaunch night, the kitchen runs smoothly with Chef Brian expediting and the customers love the new menu and the quality of the new food. Joe serves a fish dish to the wrong table causing confusion but the food is returned to the kitchen, new dishes cooked and a complimentary dish served to compensate for the error but other than this the relaunch is a great success and food is returned to the kitchen.

What Happened Next? In the months that followed, the menu has been slightly changed, keeping most of Gordons menu and there has been some staffing changes, servers Jen, Kayleigh and Rebecca are gone as is Chef Tommy. Joe is back as Head Chef. In December 2013, Joe renamed the restaurant and relaunched as Maple City Tavern, a family friendly restaurant. There are rumours that Joe has sold the restaurant, I will await further information.

Extra Reading

Mill Street Bistro to become family-friendly tavern

Can Mill Street Bistro owner survive round two on "Kitchen Nightmares'?

Gordon Ramsey has a kitchen nightmare as restaurant owner calls in cops after filming


Mill Street Bistro Bar - History


Can Chef Ramsay revive Mill Street Bistro? 
'Kitchen Nightmares' to be filmed in Norwalk
'Kitchen Nightmares' coming to Norwalk 


Mill Street Bistro Yelp Reviews
Mill Street Bistro Trip Advisor Reviews
Mill Street Bistro Urban Spoon Reviews


Mill Street Bistro FB Page


Love Hotel Hell? Visit my Hotel Hell blog here.

46 comments:

  1. No way this place stays open beyond this year. As the epilogue already stated, nearly half the staff has already left... and, even worse, Joe has managed to worm his way back into the kitchen after swearing he wouldn't. Alongside Sebastian and David from the Black Pearl, Joe's gotta be the most arrogant, delusional, clueless d-bag/blowhard of an owner in US KN history. : P

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    1. I think Amy's Bakery completes the trifecta of worst owners of US KN history ever!!! Sad because there are more deserving, appreciative struggling restaurants out there that would truly benefit from Chef Ramsey's expertise and business makeover.

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    2. Horrible,nasty person.He's trying to have a family place when he's not qualified to run McDonalds.

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  2. I really like Gordon but you know why I hate this show? There are too many douche bag restaurant owners out there. Why is this? Joe from Mill Street Bistro is a perfect example. I just don't understand why people are so f*cking arrogant and think they are the answer to anything. It's pathetic. Either man up for real and get a clue to your limitations (every man/woman has them) OR step aside and let the world continue without your warped perspective of yourself.

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  3. Joe the arrogant owner reminds me of Joe Biden the VP for some reasons.

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    1. Nah..he reminds me of John Mcain ... looks like him too.. lol

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    2. Or Joe Craven - Double
      LoL

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    3. No way! He's Elmer Fudd to a T! There is an outtake on the Blu Ray which shows Joe point a shotgun at Gordon but Gordon simply puts his finger the barrel so that when Joe pulls the trigger it explodes in his face.

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  4. Joe the owner is a like cross between Joe Biden and John McCain!

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  5. When I hear that this place is closed I'll smile. And Joe reminds me of a crazy lunatic, he makes Sebastian look normal.

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    1. No I disagree Sebastian was the worst one ever in all the kitchen nightmares shows, he is one that if I were Gordon I would have walked out on and took all the improvments back that I put into the place. A lot of these idiots end up just selling the place after the show, they only get Gordon there to put a ton of money into the place so they can sell at a higer price. It's a shame this can't be seen before hand so Gordon backs away from these money grubbing a-holes.

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  6. Sad, sad, sad... what a guy that Joe is. Sad

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  7. Omg wat a idiot I couldn't stand watching Gordon help this pompous ass

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  8. I am normally a huge Gordon Ramsey fan, but I was quite disapointed with him in this episode. The reason is he told the employees he had thier back, so they could speak the truth about what they thought about the owner of this restaurant. At the end of the second episode all of the employees that spoke up were fired, and the ones that kept thier mouth shut were still employeed there. Gordon if you are going to promise something you should follow through, or at least compensate the ones that got fired because of your show! And yes I agree with the others if the owners don't want help walk the hell out, there was a few episodes where I said, I sure wouldn't put up with that shit, they asked for help, then talk to Gordon like that? Gordon has great self control that's for sure haha.

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    1. I think this was a rare instance in which Ramsay may have misread the owner's intention to change his ways. Like Sebastian before him, Joe was merely putting his head down and paying Ramsay lip service until he and his crew left, all the while planning to immediately go back to his old ways and sack all those who were "disloyal" to him during Ramsay's visit. : P

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    2. How do you know the staff got fired? I think it's more likely that they quit as soon as Joe went back on his word and went back into the kitchen.

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    3. totally agree

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    4. yeah i cant agree with that move. wish we knew more about it. the shows formula doesnt really allow much follow up with the staff that inevitably leave (although the business is a high turnover business inherently)

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  9. I guess it wouldn't make for good TV... but I have learned so much about cooking well from Ramsay's various series... if I were to meet that man (Gordon) in person, I would absorb every bit of his advice and ask for more. If he stayed up all night to prepare a new menu for my restaurant, I would be right beside him, taking pictures, making notes and asking questions. To kick Gordon as Joe did is the stupidest thing he could do... but stupid does as stupid is... Gordon wasted his time trying to educate Joe. I doubt that overpriced restaurant will last a year.

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  10. Did he fire the staff, or we're they smart enough to get the hell out of there on their own!

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  11. I don't understand these deekhos who called for help and when help comes, they get arrogant and shit. If I were Gordon, I would just walk out as there are many other restaurants that really need help.

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    1. i think the show producers deliberately pick people they know will cause conflict.

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  12. the owner seems to think that he is the first restaurateur to use the direct from Ranch/farm to table. It has been very common in Vermont, and the Northeast in general.

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  13. Kayleigh is hot! Very pretty.

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  14. Er...he is supposed to have worked with top European chefs and he puts raw onion in the French onion soup? Really? That is just so ignorant!

    I don't like the way Ramsay tells the staff to take off their badges though - not really his place to do so at that point, or at any point actually. And I certainly wouldn't want to eat that slice of chocolate cake after Ramsay has been dicking about with it! Ew!

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    1. I had no problem with them taking off their badges, chef Ramsey was right, they are not a franchise, so why do you have on a badge, plus he was being silly, and it was kind of funny.

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  15. I felt really bad for the staff in this place, particularly during the second episode when Gordon asked them to speak openly about the problems then he turned around and said 'Oh by the way, Joe has been listening!'. I thought that was a pretty shitty thing to do and it was so clear that Joe was just saying what he knew Gordon wanted to hear.

    Gordon should have walked out of this place without helping as it was obvious that Joe just wanted the menu overhaul and airtime. I hope the server's he fired managed to find other jobs pretty quickly. Like I said before, was really disappointed in how Gordon handled this and he did not have the staff's back at all.

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    1. I felt for the staff as well, but how do we know they got fired? Maybe they got fed up with all the bull, and left!

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    2. First Gordon has had the staff talk about the owners at other restaurants with the owners watching before and its worked great. I think Gordon just didn't realize how truly bad it was, about how truly bad he treated his staff. You could see the look of shock and horror on Gordon's face as they continued to tell him about it.
      Secondly you don't know they were fired. It sounded like a lot of them were really considering quitting to begin with and with the owner obviously going back to how he was after Gordon left I think that would be a great reason to leave. Even if the owner did fire them unless he told them it was because of the show Gordon wouldn't really be able to help.The staff said several times the owner uses them as scapegoats always nitpicking and blaming them for everything.
      So unless you know for sure what happened don't be disappointed in Ramsey it more then likely is not his fault.Though i completely agree that Ramsey shouldn't have helped him at all should have just walked right out.

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  16. So, GR didn't back any of the employees and Joe fired everyone that was disloyal? Ummm, well, unless Joe has an entirely new staff down to the last person, I doubt the validity of those statements. The episode I watched, well, "everyone" criticized Joe's character, leadership, cooking and management skills.

    I am shocked that this place is still listed as "OPEN". Truth be told, a manager as slippery and deluded as this one would have fired his employees with or without someone's support. Having worked for pathetic bosses before, I can tell you this... where there is a will, there is a way. The bad bosses will build such a case.

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    1. Agreed; I thought for sure this place's doors would've been shut for good before 2013 was out. : / I can only hope Joe is sinking every last cent he owns into it as a means of putting on airs to Ramsay and the rest of us until he has to file for bankruptcy. ; )

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  17. Chef Ramsay has used the same approach of "staff has a gripe session while the owner secretly observes via monitor from another room" in many of these episodes; it ALWAYS makes me very uncomfortable. I know it probably doesn't make for "good TV" to the same extent, but I prefer when he has the staff write comments on cards to be read to the owner anonymously.

    Even much less vindictive individuals than Joe may have a tough time not taking criticism personally; for an unabashed-jerk such as Joe, knowing the source of each comment is just giving him *way* too much fodder to use to retaliate. Although his former employees are likely well rid of him from a mental health vantage point, in today's job market some might have preferred to hold on to their job, even one that required them to work under less-than-optimal conditions.

    In a just world, guys like Joe would go down in flames - there's just no excuse for treating anyone as poorly as he treats his staff, not to mention the fact that he is a miserly liar who was willing to compromise the health of his customers for a few extra dollars in his pocket. I guess we'll have to see what happens.

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  18. This place is a joke. I believe Joe has mental issues. This episode made my blood boil. I could'nt stand watchin GR help this idiot, but I cant stop watching it lol...

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  19. Still can't believe he filed a police report just after filming, alleging that the KN crew stole a container of elk steaks and vandalized the premises, damages he estimated to be about $1,500... The disrespect he showed for Norwalk's residents throughout the first episode pretty much doomed the bistro (as indicated by some of the locals' posts on UrbanSpoon). And heaven forbid that a world renowned chef and wildly successful restauranteur might have a few useful tips to help save his floundering business!... It's hard to comprehend the level of unmitigated ignorance it must have required to so defiantly challenge Chef Ramsay, every step of the way...

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    1. I wouldn't be worried. He will be selling his "natural beef" out a van at your local gas station. Then he will puff his chest out and say he was not kicked out of his OWN kitchen! lol

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  20. Can't believe this place is possibly still open. I love the comments he made on Yelp to one of the customers who complained about the wait. Don't restaurant owners know that you can't say sorry, and then lay blame on the customer and pile on a dozen excuses? Arrogant non-apologies are just going to drive away business. A successful service business has to lose all ego.

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  21. Gordon helped a friend of mine and her husband in Miami, they were able to get from under their sinking ship of a restaurant and eventually sold it to new owners. Unlike many people would think, he was extremely kind and helpful.. though brutal in uncovering the true reasons for failure. Gordon doesn't have time to tip-toe around ..he knows the restaurant business inside and out and pinpoints the problems whether owners/staff like it or not. Thank you Gordon for saving Flemings in Miami!

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    1. The reason I keep watching this show is that Gordon really does care.

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    2. Chef Ramsay shows a very gruff side to the Public on tv but he is really a sweet caring loving person who truly wants to help other people, especially those who own restaurants.

      The business is a tough one - deserves a tough owner who can make sure everyone, including him/herself can deliver clean, fresh, properly cooked food.

      I eat out 6 times a week ... and food is important to me. I wish Chef Ramsay would check out all the kitchens and staff of wherever I eat.

      I stopped going to one well-known eatery because the dust was so high that it had clearly not been cleaned for at least 6 months or more. The manager was unresponsive, as was the waitress. I have never gone back and left my findings on a Yelp-type of review.

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  22. This guy suffered from short bully syndrome. Throughout his life people stepped down to his arrogant attitude and believed his BS lies. Then Gordon brought his little world crashing down.

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  23. Do the restaurants that ask for Ramsey to help, do they not watch this show?!? Have a clean restaurant, serve quality food, make sure your staff is polite, and make sure YOU are polite. If you can do this, you're gonna be OK. Gordon will help you polish up the dullness. If you have a dirty kitchen, with nasty, rotten food and you are an a**h**e, he's gonna ream you out.

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    1. If the owners were capable of this, they likely wouldn't be in trouble in the first place. At best, they out right lie.

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  24. Weird. Just watched the repeat on BBC America and the references to the cancer charity walk GR participated in have all been edited out.

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  25. Gordon is one of the Executive Producers. He helps pick the restaurants and how the show looks.

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  26. Could someone who lives in the area confirm what happened to the staff that left? Were they fired or did they leave because they were sick of the owner? If they were fired, did Chef Ramsey get them a job in one of his restaurants? He said he had their back, and they trusted him with their honesty. I love Gordon and agree with his methods, I love the way he deflates arrogant owners by exposing them publicly. I agree with others that Sebastian is King of the Delusional! lol Joe is a close second.

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