‘Restaurant Impossible’ Comes to Ship Bottom
“Restaurant Impossible,” a reality TV show aired by the Food Network Sunday nights at 8, is in Ship Bottom this week refurbishing the dining area of the LBI Pancake House and the kitchen of the nearby Ship Bottom Volunteer Firehouse. Both places sustained severe damage from Superstorm Sandy. Crews began filming the work Tuesday morning and will be finished later in the day Thursday.
In each hour-long episode, Chef Robert Irvine’s “mission” is to renovate a failing restaurant in two days on a $10,000 budget. The show opens with the intro “Robert Irvine is a a fearless chef and a top restaurateur. He’s never met a challenge he wouldn’t take. Robert’s new mission: fix America’s most desperate restaurants. With limited time and few resources, this may be ….Restaurant Impossible.”
Mark Summers, the show’s executive producer, said the pancake house, which was eventually able to reopen, will have an entire new dining area.
“But we’re doing this in three days because the two places are so close to each other (by 21st Street),” said Summers. “When we’re done, the inside of the places will not look the same.”
He said the firehouse’s kitchen would be rebuilt because the storm “wiped out its appliances due to heavy flooding.”
“We’re also going to refurbish the upstairs meeting room area,” said the executive producer, who added that a staff of 100 people will be on site, everything from filmers to construction workers. Several tents have been set up behind the pancake house as a staging area.
Summers said he could not provide further details of the work so as not “to ruin the surprise element.”
“We’re looking at airing in late November or early December,” he said. “It will be done as a feel-good story for the holidays.”
Summers said that since the show first aired in January 2011, Irvine has worked on everything from elaborate eateries to soup kitchens. In the show’s first year, Irvine and crew rebuilt restaurants following the tornado that tore apart Joplin, Mo.
“Because our network is based in Philadelphia, we’re familiar with the Jersey Shore and the damage caused by Sandy,” Summers said. “We can help the fire company out because with a new kitchen, they’ll be able to hold breakfasts and other activities. We feel we’re doing something to help the community.”
Because of contractual restraints, employees of the pancake house and fire company members cannot comment until the program airs.
— Eric Englund