Notes, Quotes and Observations From Luigi D'Italia's Appearance on Kitchen Nightmares

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A total gent...

SO . . . did you catch FOX's Kitchen Nightmares this past Friday, the one that highlighted Luigi's D'Italia? Did you catch the one second or so in which I appeared, near the absolute end of the show? How about when the brothers that run Luigi's read my rave review of them--off a Microsoft Word document? You didn't? Neither did I!

Kind of . . . had to do something Friday night, so I watched the show Saturday morning. It was cool enough to just meet host Gordon Ramsay and to enjoy what I thought was a truly great, improved meal from the loveable dreck Luigi's has served for decades, which Edwin had middling thoughts about. But seeing that episode showed a side of Luigi's I never expected--although, in retrospect, it all makes sense.

SO . . . with apologies to Orange County Register sports genius Randy Youngman, notes, quotes and observations from the taping of Kitchen Nightmares:

*You know how Luigi's D'Italia's old customers have been bitching about the new changes? Started from the very beginning--when my chica and I were waiting outside in a line with that night's diners. A middle-aged man appeared and tried to go in for dinner. It was closed to the general public, along with the parking lot. When someone explained what was going on, he got red in the face. "Well, where am I going to get my pasta, then?" he screamed. "I want my pasta!" He zoomed off.

*Looky-loos are HILARIOUS. The producers quickly told us to not tell anyone who asked what was going on, only to vaguely mention that a movie was being filmed. No less than 10 people in their cars, waiting for the light to turn, asked what was going on. Best response of the night: "We're filming Godfather 4."

*For all the old-timers who were saying Luigi's shouldn't change what was not broken: How do you like the revelation the restaurant is $1.5 million in the hole?

*I had no idea Luigi's wife, Grace, was such a foul-mouthed bitch--at least that's how she came off on the episode. She was nothing but pleasant while we were there, although I must say she looked drained while we were there.

*From my brother-in-law: "What kind of staff meeting was that? They excluded the Mexicans!" He refers to a part in the show when Ramsay gets the "staff" to talk about what they perceived to be the restaurant's problems. Ramsay should've just said the wop staff--no wabs allowed.

*Big difference between the BBC and FOX versions of Kitchen Nightmares: In the former, Ramsay usually checks in on restaurants he reimagined some time after the events of the episode; he doesn't do the same in the American version. Ramsay, then, missed out on what we already know: that the Luigi's folks are slowly stripping away the improvements Ramsay made and going back to the tried-and-true that put them more than $1 million in debt. REAL smart there--we'll stick to Rufino's.

Gentle readers, what did YOU think?

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Luigi's D'Italia

801 S. State College, Anaheim, CA

Category: Restaurant

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14 comments
Deborah Lazaroff
Deborah Lazaroff

Note to Gustavo:

I believe Gordon did return six weeks after he'd left to see how things were going. He does in most of the  episodes of the American version of the show as well. Also, I'd like to echo H. Batter. Does this mean the restaurant sucks again, or should we at least try to give it a shot?

Jonnyr72
Jonnyr72

so, does this place suck again?? The wife and I wanted to try this place......

H Bratter
H Bratter

Luigi D'Italia is one of the good family restaurant in Anaheim so please don't be discourge to go, thank you!!!

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

"Ramsay should've just said the wop staff--no wabs allowed."

Jesus, you and Dave wrote 10 paragraphs about some po' guy that said, "roach coach" and this only merits 1?

JB
JB

"For all the old-timers who were saying Luigi's shouldn't change what was not broken: How do you like the revelation the restaurant is $1.5 million in the hole?"

C'mon, sir.  You know better than that.  Italian people, admittedly, aren't the best financial managers (largely due to their boundless generosity and refusal to compromise on quality). 

The food was not broken...and the food likely has nothing to do with that deficit. 

Deborah Lazaroff
Deborah Lazaroff

Oh, so Italians "aren't the best financial managers"? Way to go, Mr. Stereotype! I suppose that's meant to be an excuse for running their restaurant into the ground. "Refusal to compromise on quality"? If there's one thing I've witnessed in 40 years of dining in Italian restaurants, it's that over the years, quality is the first thing to go for the majority of family-owned establishments--in fact, that's true of most family-owned restaurants, regardless of the cuisine. That was clearly the case with Luigi's. 

The Thais and Indians manage to avoid this by selling out and moving on before things sour and go bad.

Not only have I eaten in numerous Italian restaurants in the US and elsewhere, I've also been to Italy four times to sample all the regional cuisines on their home turf. The food at Luigi's was definitely broken. If you can't see (or rather taste) that, you don't know anything about quality Italian cuisine.

From what I saw in the program, the food served looked like absolute slop, and there was some rotting food in their walk-in. Now in addition to having  been to Italy four times, I was once  married to an Italian for many years. So I've seen how many people get attached to favorite restaurants and remain loyal long after the food has become sub-par. While the family is welcome to return to what their loyal diners enjoy, it's evident that doing so didn't prevent them from running up a debt that will eventually close their establishment.

Gordon Ramsey's upgrade wasn't for the old customers who've barely managed to keep the restaurant afloat, and left it with a massive debt. It was to lure new diners and increase business. If they decide to go back to what they consider "tried and true" but what obviously couldn't sustain their business, they can expect to eventually go bankrupt. If the boys don't care and abandon Gordon's menu, and if  Grace returns to being a foul-mouthed bitch who could obviously be overheard in the dining room, you can expect Luigi's to close in the next year.

JB
JB

And how 'bout Tony's wife wearing that "Fuhgetaboutit" t-shirt in the big scene where the 2 couples meet to discuss what's wrong with the restaurant.  I guess her "Vaffanculo" shirt was in the laundry.....

Deborah Lazaroff
Deborah Lazaroff

Oh, I guess the producers went to her home and chose her wardrobe for her.

I don't think so.

You really don't know what's involved in shooting a television show of this type, do you? Otherwise you wouldn't make such ridiculous claims regarding Luigi crying, the video of his father, or the tee shirt his wife wore.

JB
JB

If you believe what was being portrayed in the episode as even just one tiny bit of being real, I'm sure you put out cookies and milk for Santa Claus every Dec. 24, too. 

That episode was so contrived and staged, I felt like I was watching Saturday Night Live do a spoof of the reality genre.  I mean, really...Luigi crying and saying if the restaurant fails, "I've failed my father!"  (Who, BTW, magically appeared on a grainy video, taped in Italy, near the end of the show, telling his sons he loved them and sounding like the King of Siam on his deathbed in a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.  If Papa really believed what was going on, he'd be on the next Alitalia charter to Fullerton Airport to slap the hell out of both of them.) 

The only "real" part of the episode was the family saying "f--k" as every other word.  Now THAT reminded me of my youth in the outer boroughs of New York.   

909Jeff
909Jeff

Why, does Santa not like milk and cookies? 

Should I be leaving something else out? 

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Dude, stop your Luigi apologias already and go to Rufino's! Are you telling me the family stated on national television they're a million in the hole for shits and giggles?

Deborah Lazaroff
Deborah Lazaroff

"Are you telling me the family stated on national television they're a million in the hole for shits and giggles?"

No shit, Sherlock. I'm not sure what JB's trying to get at, unless he actually believes that Luigi was pretending to cry and that "I've failed my father!" was scripted. He also seems to be suggesting that the video of Papa in Italy was somehow faked. Perhaps he thinks the entire program broadcast represents real time, rather than the number of weeks that were probably involved in the actual production.

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