(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 2 | View All Season 2 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: January 16, 2019
Vasi's Restaurant Address: 1700 Watertown Ave Waterbury, CT 06708
Vasi’s Restaurant and Bar was a Waterbury, Connecticut restaurant featured on Season 2 of Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back. Though the Vasi’s Restaurant 24 Hours to Hell and Back episode aired in January 2019, the actual filming and visit from Gordon Ramsay took place earlier in November 2018. It was Episode 3 of Season 2.
Located in Waterbury, Connecticut, the owners of Vasi’s Restaurant and Bar are the eponymous Vasilios “Vasi” Kaloidis and his mother.
Vasi’s parent’s owned many restaurants when they first immigrated to the USA from Greece.
In 2002, Vasi decided he wanted to follow in his parents’ footsteps and open his own place. He went with a simple name – Vasi’s Restaurant and Bar.
While you might think that Vasi might serve Greek food given his heritage, the restaurant actually serves primarily Italian food (though it can get a bit confusing).
Unfortunately, in 2008, Vasi’s father passed away.
Now, the restaurant is struggling. And to make matters worse, Vasi is in over $500,000 of debt because of the restaurant, which is why he desparately needs help from Gordon Ramsay in the Vasi’s Restaurant 24 Hours to Hell and Back episode.
To recon things, Gordon appears at Vasi’s Restaurant in disguise, and he is immediately confused.
The menu offers French onion soup despite Vasi’s being an Italian restaurant. Remember how I said it can get a bit confusing?
Gordon orders the calamari, clams, and shrimp.
He describes the food as awful and throws in lots of negative adjectives like “rubbery” and “sour” as Gordon Ramsay is wont to do.
Once he’s experienced enough, Gordon removes his disguise and reveals his identity.
Chef Val panics when she sees Gordon and wants to go home.
Gordon reassures her he knows that she can cook, and he will not pick on her. She stays.
Vasi calls his mother, Toula, to inform her that Gordon is there.
Vasi blames the economy for the failing restaurant, while Chef Val blames the boring and uninspired menu.
Gordon calls everyone to the Hell on Wheels truck, and they watch footage of Chef Val tasting food with her fingers and then putting them back into the food.
The footage also shows dropped food being served. Vasi does not react to the video footage.
Toula reveals to Gordon that her son owes her $250,000 as part of the restaurant’s huge debt burden.
Gordon then meets with Vasi’s wife, Lauren.
Lauren knows her husband is unhappy with the restaurant, and she hates how the restaurant makes her mother-in-law feel.
Vasi is only happy when he is with his children. It’s a really sad situation and makes you feel for Vasi.
Gordon finds old shellfish in the fridge. Val tells Vasi they cannot serve the fish, but Vasi disagrees.
Chef Val can’t take Vasi’s lack of leadership anymore, and she leaves.
Gordon chases after her and says the restaurant needs her.
Vasi tells her that he’s sorry and promises to change.
Gordon hopes Chef Val will rediscover her love of cooking as it seems to have been lost due to the boring menu.
To help with that, Gordon introduces a new menu.
It is a Greek inspired menu, leaving the Italian menu of the past behind. I think this makes sense given that Vasi’s family has such a direct connection to Greece.
Chef Val comes up with her signature dish for the relaunch.
Gordon asks Vasi’s mom to stop giving Vasi money as he needs to take accountability for his actions.
Chef Val masters the new dish and trains the other cooks on making it.
Gordon shows the new kitchen and dining room to the owners and the staff.
The walls are lined with family photos that make Vasi and his mother emotional.
There are also pictures of his late father on the wall.
Chef Val’s dish is a hit.
Among the many customers, a food blogger and food critic are at the restaurant for relaunch night.
The kitchen is slow at first, but eventually, Vasi steps up, and things run smoothly. The relaunch is a success.
Three months later, Vasi is grateful and down 30 pounds. Vasi renamed the restaurant Vasi’s Taverna as he wanted to go back to an Italian restaurant. Vasi claims the customers wanted him to revert to the old theme. In 2020 Vasi sold the restaurant, but the sale fell through.
Vasi's Restaurant Update - What Happened Next?
So – was the Vasi’s Restaurant 24 Hours to Hell and Back episode a success? Let’s talk about what happened after Gordon Ramsay left Waterbury.
First off, there’s some good news for Vasi himself. Three months after Gordon’s visit, Vasi lost 30 pounds, which put him at a much healthier weight.
I’m guessing he was dealing with a lot of stress from the restaurant’s debt, so getting help from Gordon Ramsay probably put him in a better place.
However, Vasi didn’t agree with all of Gordon’s changes.
A few months later, Vasi changed the name from Vasi’s Restaurant and Bar to Vasi’s Taverna.
As part of the switch to Vasi’s Taverna, he also went back to the older Italian restaurant.
Vasi said that his loyal customers wanted the switch, so he was basically just giving the people what they wanted.
In an interview with the Connecticut Post, he said the following:
Basically, business concept given to us for the show was not the right concept for Waterbury. Waterbury is a working-class town with many good people in it. We did all the things [Gordon Ramsay recommended], but figured it out, and went back to the way it was before. And it was the customers who made that decision.
However, that seems like it wasn’t a great choice, as you’ll see in a second…
Is Vasi’s Restaurant from 24 Hours to Hell and Back still open?
Vasi’s Restaurant closed for good on January 11, 2020, a little over a year after Gordon’s visit and one year after the show aired on TV.
Vasi was originally planning to sell the restaurant because he received a good offer. However, that offer fell through before he was able to complete the sale.
At that point, he had already told the staff he was closing and returned the deposits to customers who had booked events, so he “just didn’t have the heart to reopen”.
He listed the restaurant for sale again, but I can’t find any record of him finding a buyer.
Vasi said that business at the restaurant jumped for a few months after the show but then went back to normal.
Vasi did make it clear that what happened on 24 Hours to Hell and Back had no affect on the closure of Vasi’s Taverna (formerly Vasi’s Restaurant).
As of 2022, the old Vasi’s Restaurant Waterbury, CT location is occupied by a new restaurant called RiverHill Restaurant.
Reviews for the new restaurant seem quite good as it has a 4.5 star rating on its Yelp page.
If you want to see what happened to another Connecticut restaurant from 24 Hours to Hell and Back, you can check out our Stone’s Throw Restaurant update, which was also featured on Season 2 of 24 Hours to Hell and Back.
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And don't forget to check out the full 24 Hours to Hell and Back open and closed list.
Last updated: 2022-01-29 06:54