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'Restaurant: Impossible' helps Bryant’s Seafood World in Alabama

Robert Irvine host of Restaurant: Impossible with fellow chef Aaron Sanchez
Robert Irvine host of Restaurant: Impossible with fellow chef Aaron Sanchez
Photo by Frazer Harrison

On a recent Food Network episode of "Restaurant: Impossible," Robert Irvine went to Hueytown in Alabama, to help save Bryant’s Seafood World, in Hueytown. With only two days and $10,000, will he be able to accomplish the impossible?

Robert met with Gail Cox, who bought Bryant’s five years ago, when the landmark from her childhood was up for sale. She loved the place and had dreamed of owning a restaurant for many years. Now her dream, is fading away, and although her work ethic has never changed, somehow, her restaurant has become a nightmare.

When Robert walked in, the dirty rug was the first thing he saw, the smell and dirt were abundant and everything he touched was greasy. He immediately took her to task for the dirt and smell. When the lunch crowd came in, Robert observed inept wait service, a dirty kitchen and when he questioned the customers, they always loved the hush puppies that were put on the table, but this time, they were not even cooked enough, as plate after plate came back uneaten, Gail was ready to lose it.

When Robert spoke to Gail’s sister, Ophelia, she was surprised that so much food came back. When Robert sat down to taste the food, he agreed with the consensus. Gail tasted the food and had no complaints, other than it was cold from sitting. Robert told her that the gumbo was cold when he received it and the rest of the food had no flavor. When he questioned Gail further, he knew what a success she was in the corporate world, but recently had stopped caring. He wants to bring back the old Gail, and he succeeded in starting the fire inside her, and now it is her job to keep it burning.

When Taniya came to the place, she could not stand the smell, and her gag reflex kicked in. They immediately went to work emptying the place and brought in a professional cleaning crew, because it desperately needed the experienced touch. The interior was getting a complete makeover and the crews were extra busy. The floor was the prime concern, as the rug had not been cleaned for many years.

When Robert met with Gail, she did not want to change her hush puppies, so he had her prepare and he made some. They took them to a focus group for people to taste and judge the two recipes. Not convinced, Robert gave it another try, this time; with colored forks, she chose red, and he chose black. Each person in the parking lot had to try both and drop the fork in a bucket denoting the one they liked; all black forks finally convinced her. Next Robert surprised her with an industrial mixer; something she truly needed to make her hush puppies even better. Then he had her meet with her staff, and she laid it on the line and told them if they did not want to work, to please leave. Nobody left, and they agreed to give her their all.

When it was time to show the new restaurant, Gail and her sister Ophelia were awaiting the grand opening. The place was amazing, and Gail was in tears of joy. Ophelia was breathless, and the makeover was such a lovely tribute to the seafood restaurant and the theme it deserved. Boats and oars, and nautical complements made it such a beautiful tribute to the miracles these people can make out of such a catastrophe.

Thanks to Robert and his crew of "Restaurant: Impossible," this restaurant, is back with passion like never before.

At the end of each show, Robert tells viewers to check this link to see how the restaurant is doing since his visit.

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