(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 8 | View All Season 8 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: September 25, 2023
Bel Aire Diner Address: 31-91 21st St, Queens, NY 11106
Bel Aire Diner was an Astoria Queens (New York City) restaurant featured on Season 8 of Kitchen Nightmares.
Though the Bel Aire Diner Kitchen Nightmares episode aired on TV in September 2023, the actual visit from Gordon Ramsay happened in May 2023.
It was Kitchen Nightmares Season 8 Episode 1 – the first restaurant to appear on the revamp.
In this episode, Gordon Ramsay heads to Bel Aire Diner in Astoria, Queens, New York City.
The restaurant is owned by Kalergis Dellaportas, AKA Kal, and his family.
That includes Archie (Kal’s father), Patricia (Kal’s mother), Peter (Kal’s brother), and Theoni (Kal’s sister).
In the episode, Peter and Kal seem to be the two most prominent Bel Aire Diner owners.
Archie is a real example of the American dream in action, so it’s easy to root for him.
He came to the USA from Greece at age 17.
Archie then got a job washing dishes at a restaurant and eventually worked his way up to buying the Bel Aire Diner (which happened when Kal was 12 years old).
In Queens, Bel Aire Diner is a fairly well-known and established place.
The Bel Aire Diner Astoria location has been operating since all the way back in 1965.
In fact, some people call it a “landmark” in Astoria, and it’s hosted some famous people (beyond Gordon Ramsay).
For example, Jerry Seinfeld visited Bel Aire Diner on one of his Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee episodes (he went with Howard Stern).
Here’s a short video that I found of Jerry Seinfeld and Howard Stern talking about transcendental meditation at Bel Aire Diner.
However, the restaurant has also had some issues, which seem to have started around the time of the pandemic.
Before that, people seemed to pretty universally love Bel Aire Diner.
But during/after the pandemic, things seem to have started sliding downhill.
For example, in October 2022, the city temporarily closed the diner because of “pest conditions”.
It soon reopened after deep cleaning.
When I checked out some Bel Aire Diner Kitchen Nightmares Reddit threads, I also found people complaining about food hygiene and rat issues from before Gordon’s visit.
All that to say, while the diner has been around for a while, it’s maybe not a huge surprise that the Bel Aire Diner Kitchen Nightmares episode exists because not everything seems to be perfect.
Still, Gordon Ramsay is working from a good foundation here because of the restaurant’s long history and well-known name.
So, if Gordon can put some standards in place and get those hygiene issues under control, Bel Aire Diner can definitely be a success (or even more of a success).
However, when Gordon Ramsay sits down to eat at Bel Aire Diner, he does not have a good experience.
To kick things off, Gordon counts off the huge number of items on the Bel Aire Diner menu.
He gets to 270 menu items before he loses count and gives up.
He also says that it’s “like an encyclopedia”.
I get what Gordon is getting at…but at the same time, it’s pretty normal for a diner to have a huge menu – especially a Greek-owned diner in NYC.
If I were a customer and I went to a diner with a small menu, I would be a little put-off.
But yeah, I can see both sides and I understand that it’s hard for a restaurant to stock fresh ingredients for 270+ items (which might be where some of its issues come from in the walk-in fridge – spoiler alert).
Beyond his issues with the large menu, Gordon also isn’t impressed when he gets his food.
In classic Gordon fashion, he even spits out part of the dish he’s eating.
When Gordon Ramsay inspects the kitchen and walk-in fridge, it’s pretty bad.
Actually, “pretty bad” is probably a bit of an understatement given what Gordon encounters.
It’s pretty brutal and the producers are really starting off Season 8 of Kitchen Nightmares with a bang in terms of “grossness”.
However, as he always does, Gordon works on putting in systems to prevent such gross stuff from happening again.
As part of the visit, Gordon Ramsay and his crew put in a new bar and lighting at Bel Aire Diner.
They also added new items to the Bel Aire Diner menu.
However, the Kitchen Nightmares crew didn’t make too many changes to the physical appearance of the restaurant, beyond the bar and lighting.
Most of the changes seemed to be focused on the menu and the service/cleaning standards.
So – was the Kitchen Nightmares Bel Aire Diner episode a long-term success?
Keep reading to learn what happened next and if this Astoria, Queens restaurant is still open in 2023.
Bel Aire Diner Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the Bel Aire Diner Kitchen Nightmares episode, let’s talk about what happened to the restaurant after Gordon Ramsay and his crew left Queens, New York.
Overall, Kal seems to have been fairly happy with his Kitchen Nightmares experience, though maybe not 100% happy about how the restaurant has been portrayed.
A few weeks before the episode aired on TV, Bel Aire Diner released an Instagram video that shows Kal watching the promo video.
Kal says the following about watching the video:
The scenes on there that I recognize from the diner don’t make me happy.
We’ve come a long way since then.
We got changes coming up.
The Instagram video description also has the following:
Welp, the cat is officially out of the bag.
Bel Aire Diner on Kitchen Nightmares airs September 25th.
Since we filmed in May, we have made, and are continuing to make, significant changes to keep Bel Aire the beloved neighborhood institution it has always been.
Keep an eye on our Instagram to see what’s cooking.
Thank you all for your love and support.
After all, we’re here to serve you and we plan on doing that, the best we can, for years to come.
I don’t think he’s unhappy about the episode itself, but rather just the state of the restaurant when it was on the show.
The day before the episode premiered on TV, they also posted a longer video that shows Peter and Kal talking about the experience.
This was before either of them saw the full episode – they had only seen the preview videos at that point.
View this post on Instagram
Kal said this:
The whole experience brought us closer together.
It made us better business owners.
Even if we didn’t feel like we were a nightmare to start, we are definitely better business owners after the experience.
One interesting thing is that it seems like they didn’t know the show would be Kitchen Nightmares when they agreed to do it.
In a Facebook post about the episode airing, Patty from Bel Aire Diner said the following:
Was told it was a renovation show then last minute kitchen nightmares.
Was fun to do.
Haven’t seen it waiting like everyone else to see how they edited.
I can see why some owners might be upset if they didn’t know what they were getting into.
It’s good that the Bel Aire Diner crew was able to take it with grace.
Beyond that, the restaurant has been posting some Gordon Ramsay memes on its Instagram, including thanking Gordon for contributing to its calamari recipe.
I also laughed at this meme that they posted on Facebook.
The Bel Aire Diner team definitely seems to be having fun with the whole Kitchen Nightmares experience.
Because Bel Aire Diner is a bit of an institution, I would say it’s less in danger of closing than most restaurants that appear on the show.
Given that, you probably won’t be surprised by the answer to the most important question on your mind.
Is Bel Aire Diner still open after Kitchen Nightmares?
As of 2023, Bel Aire Diner is still open and serving customers in Astoria, Queens.
The restaurant is also very active on its social media profiles and has an official website as well.
However, it seems like Bel Aire Diner went back to their original menu very quickly after the show – within a week or so.
This shouldn’t be much of a surprise given how long the diner has been around and how many long-time customers it has, so you’re probably more interested in if the Bel Aire Diner reviews have improved after the Bel Aire Diner Gordon Ramsay visit.
I’ll share some examples of post-Gordon Ramsay reviews below.
But first, here’s a look at the Bel Aire Diner Astoria location in the most recent picture from Google Maps street view.
Google Maps most recently updated the picture in September 2022, so it’s from before the Bel Aire Diner Kitchen Nightmares episode happened.
I’m mainly just embedding it so that you can explore the area around the restaurant.
The restaurant also has an official Bel Aire Diner Astoria website that showcases the menu and other details.
Bel Aire Diner reviews after Gordon Ramsay
Overall, the Bel Aire Diner reviews are a bit mixed.
It has just a 3 star rating on 600+ Yelp reviews, which includes reviews from both before and after the Bel Aire Diner Gordon Ramsay visit.
On Google, things are a bit better, where it has a 4.2 star rating on over 3,000 reviews.
However, you’re probably most interested in whether things have changed after the Gordon Ramsay Bel Aire Diner rescue.
At the time that the Kitchen Nightmares Bel Aire Diner episode aired on TV, there had been 13 Yelp reviews written after Gordon Ramsay’s visit.
The overall rating across those 13 reviews was 3.08-stars, which suggests that things are just about the same as before.
There were some positive reviews, some negative reviews, and several middle-of-the-road reviews.
One person did mention that the diner seems to be turning things around, though, which is good to see.
In terms of the reviews on Google, I can’t calculate an average from before and after Gordon’s visit because there are way too many reviews.
However, from reading through them, I will say that the Google reviews from after Kitchen Nightmares seem to generally be more positive than the Yelp reviews.
Google reviewers are generally more generous than Yelp reviews, which is worth noting.
But still, looking at Google reviews does paint a more positive picture of how the restaurant is doing after its Kitchen Nightmares experience (though still definitely not perfect).
Here’s a sampling of a few Bel Aire Diner reviews from after the Kitchen Nightmares episode to give you an idea of people’s experiences.
3 star Yelp review from September 2023:
After many years of decline Bel Aire has started to turn around.
The pancakes & waffles are reasonably good again.
Chicken & waffles were a joke, came with 3 small chicken tenders.
Was previously 4 pieces of real fried chicken.
Service is better than it was 5 years ago at its lowest point.
Refurbishment is nice.
5 star Google review from July 2023:
Food is good.
A bit pricey, but in line with the neighborhood.
At one point the restaurant was shuttered for health violations.
However, the restaurant recently went under renovations and was a part of the Kitchen Nightmares television series.
2 star Yelp review from September 2023:
Bel Aire is not what it was before the pandemic.
Now the food lacks quality, and the service sucks.
I returned a week ago after all the hoopla about the Gordon Ramsay Show Kitchen Nightmares.
It appears they learned nothing from the experience.
Why oh why?
A short while back, they had been closed down for serious pest violations.
My buttermilk chicken fingers were a disaster, as you can see from the photo I attached.
Now I am definitely not going back.
3 star Yelp review from August 2023:
My family has been coming to Bel Aire since the 80s.
We used to really really love their food and amazing service.
Unfortunately, the pass couple of visits have not been delightful.
Our waiter took more than 15 min to come take our order.
They were also never around when we needed something.
The food was slightly burnt and not as flavorful as it used to be.
We truly love Bel Aire as it has been family tradition to celebrate holidays and birthdays here.
I hope their leadership is willing to improve service.
5 star Yelp review from June 2023:
Great experience at Bel Aire diner.
All the food was fantastic.
My omelette was done to perfection as well as perfectly seasoned home fries.
Great music and great vibes.
2 star Yelp review from July 2023:
Final thoughts on Bel Aire Diner Kitchen Nightmares episode
Overall, Bel Aire Diner is still going strong after the Gordon Ramsay visit, which is no surprise given that it’s so well-established and has a long history.
However, it doesn’t seem like the new standards have started making an impact in terms of the customer reviews yet.
When I read reviews from after the Bel Aire Diner Gordon Ramsay visit, they didn’t seem to be changed much from before, though one person did mention that the diner seems to be turning itself around.
Hopefully the reviews will be more positive going forward.
I wish the Bel Aire Diner owners the best and I hope they’re able to stay open for another 58+ years!
That wraps up my Bel Aire Diner Kitchen Nightmares update.
If you want to see some other nearby Queens Kitchen Nightmares episodes from previous seasons of the show, you can also check out my updates for Kati Allo in Flushing, PJ’s Steakhouse in Forest Hills, and Trobiano’s in Great Neck (not technically Queens but very nearby).
And if you want to share your thoughts on the Bel Aire Diner episode, you can do so using the comments section below.
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Last updated: 2023-09-26 07:36