It was big doings in downtown Windsor Thursday as celebrity chef Robert Irvine and his Food Network reality show “Restaurant Impossible” unveiled the two-day makeover of ailing Windsor 75 Diner/Restaurant.
“Apples, all I want are apples in those bowls,” barked out Irvine as show staff, restaurant employees and volunteers rushed to finish the makeover before the 7 p.m. opening and taping of the new and improved downtown eatery.
“Color coordination, that’s what we want,” he said as he dumped the bowls full of oranges, lemons, limes and apples and redid them as part of the staging in the counter area of the family-owned restaurant.
It was a whirlwind week for restaurant owners George and Therese Calos who have been struggling with the business located in an old home that was once a funeral parlor and then a florist. The two handed the place over to Irvine and company on Tuesday and within two days, and $10,000 later, the facelift included a new look, a major clean-up and a new menu that includes “The Windsor Burger.”
“I am just so happy for them,” said Kristin Hoffman, who with husband Bob Hoffman, were among the hundreds who scored precious dinner reservations and the potential to be part of the reveal for the show. “George and Therese do so much for the community,” she Hoffman. “Many of the community organizations hold their luncheon meetings here. They are so deserving.”
Irvine however, was less gentle.
“This was a tough one,” he said as he had crews scurrying around to finish last minute painting, wiping up wood floors, staging spanking new counters and shelves and getting food prep work ready for an anxious crowd that began lining up well before the 7 p.m. opening time.
Among those helping out was Irvine’s wife, pro wrestler Gail Kim.The two recently celebrated their first anniversary.
“I think it ended up just being another day,” laughed Kim as she helped with the last minute cleaning. “I don’t even think we exchanged gifts.”
While diners oohed and ahhed over the new look and the new menu at the place, the owners were sworn to secrecy and can’t talk about anything, lest they spoil the show.
But Irvine had a little bit more to say.
“Let’s put it this way,” said Irvine. “You have an old building and that in itself is a challenge. Put that in the mixing bowl along with a family that has to change when it comes to the way they run this business,” he said, turning more optimistic. “Add me and you can make restaurant impossible, possible, and that’s what we did.”
Air date for the show has not yet been set, according to producers.