Kitchen Nightmares
The Mixing Bowl

Episode Report Card
Keckler: B | 2 USERS: A
YOU GRADE IT
The Mixing Bowl

Mike still has one more trick up his black uniform polo sleeve. When Ramsay asks if there's anything else he should know, Mike goes around to the garbage bins and drags out a sign that could have made vacation condos for all three little pigs, and still had plywood left over to make a pied-à-terre for the asthmatic wolf. It reads: "10th Anniversary Free Appetizer with Dinner." Even better? The "10th" is in a starburst. Ramsay asks how the sign worked, and Mike cops to a windstorm blowing down what the Big Bad Wolf could not. Mike asks, "Doesn't this catch your eye from the street?" and amidst all the cursing, Ramsay proclaims, "It's worse than the Dollar Shop!" Frankly, I think it's only zoning that keeps The Mixing Bowl Eatery's actual sign lettered in subdued gold on a hunter green field. If Mike had his way, the letters "M-I-X-I-N-G" would be painted yellow, red, orange, and green and all be tossed around in a big bowl like vegetables, and it would be impossible to read without rear-ending the black SUV in front of your own black SUV. Ramsay exhorts Mike to hide the signs where the customers can't see them. After he made him drag them all through the restaurant where…all the customers saw them.

Ramsay sits Lisa and Billy the Mum down and give it to them straight: the décor sucks, Billy doesn't talk enough in the kitchen, and Mike is a sign pervert. Ramsay wants to know: do they really want to save the restaurant, or should they put themselves out of their misery and close down? I just can't get worked up over a restaurant that has a name better suited to a high-yield bakery than an actual restaurant. I mean "The Mixing Bowl"? It sounds like a chain. A bad, suburban, salad bar chain where all you get is a fifteen choices of dressings, iceberg lettuce, a grimy sneeze-guard, and croutons that are changed once a week. Plus, the "Mixing Bowl" is to D.C. commuters as The Big Dig is to Boston and The Maze is to the Bay Area.

After the commercial break, Billy asserts himself enough to say that he wants to save the restaurant. Lisa sags down in her chair, exhausted, demoralized, and happy to be on camera. Ramsay warns Billy that he has to commit to change or the restaurant will be gone in six weeks. The next morning, Ramsay has a wood-chipper hauled into the parking lot of the restaurant so he can Fargo all of Mike's signs. Mike giggles, "You're a madman." "Yeah, I am fucking mad. Working with guy like you makes me fucking mad." Next, instead of a kitchen colonoscopy that unearths bugs, mold, and salmonella, Ramsay shows Billy and Lisa what has happened to their neighborhood strip since they opened ten years ago. In 1997, the area had four restaurants. Now? Forty-one. Ramsay points out that the area also has lots of gyms, beauty parlors, and tanning salons, so The Mixing Bowl needs to reposition itself as "healthy food." Or, as Gordon puts it, "Give the fucking neighborhood what it wants."

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Kitchen Nightmares

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