Campania Restaurant Update – Kitchen Nightmares – Open or Closed?

Is Campania still open?

Current Status: >> CLOSED <<
(keep reading to learn what happened)

Season: 1 | View All Season 1 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: November 28, 2007
Campania Address: 17-15 Broadway Fair Lawn, New Jersey 07410
Kitchen Nightmares Campania restaurant update

Episode Recap

Campania was a Fairlawn, New Jersey restaurant featured on season 1 of Kitchen Nightmares.

On this episode of Kitchen Nightmares, Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Campania Restaurant in Fairlawn, New Jersey.

The restaurant was bought 18 months ago by Joseph (Joe) Cerniglia but is already ready to shut down.

The staff is not interested in taking business seriously and the condition of the kitchen is quite shabby.

The fridge has broken doors while the broken oven is used to store cloths.

When Gordon arrives, the staff is goofing around in the kitchen.

Gordon meets Joe and places his order, but what he receives is bland and tasteless soup, ravioli covered with garlic filled sauce, and a badly presented dish of chicken.

He confronts the Head Chef Gene and Joe and contemplates his decision of appearing on the show.

Next, Gordon inspects the fridges and realizes that it is stocked full of food. He understands where money is being wasted.

He identifies Joe’s poor management skills and realizes that the restaurant is also overstaffed. As the first step, he asks Joe to send some staff home.

He then notices that the portion sizes being served are so huge that most of the guests have leftovers for the next day.

This is another avenue where money is being wasted. When Gordon mentions the same to Joe, he begins to get defensive.

Gordon also sets out to meet Joe’s wife to evaluate the situation in detail. She informs him that failure of the restaurant would lead them to losing their house.

He further gets determined to turn the restaurant around and decides to introduce a signature dish for the restaurant that will make them stand out.

This signature dish is identified to be meatballs. They start promoting New Jersey’s Best Meatballs’ around the city handing out flyers and samples.

This is when Joe confides in Gordon telling him about his debt worth $200,000.

The restaurant is revamped with appropriate equipment and staff instructions.

The night of the re-launch, the restaurant is packed.

Thankfully, the food still leaves the kitchen at a good pace.

There are a few customers complaining of their food not being cooked properly or having an inappropriate taste, which puts the pressure on Joe.

One customer calls the steak “tough”, however, Gordon disagreed and told her to stop “talking out of her rear”.

After handling the situation with ease, Gordon gives Joe a pep talk about being strong. He also tells him not to stress about customer complaints.

Joe with his new attitude returns to the kitchen to successfully finish the service.

He inspires the staff, the chefs, the waiters and servers to complete the dinner service with a more serious attitude.

His inspiration and ability to manage pulls the team back together.

The final parting task shows how the staff smashes the old, large plates that were used earlier for serving huge portion sizes.

Campania Update - What Happened Next?

Campania has a rather sad ending because it closed not due to mismanagement, but to tragedy.

With Gordon’s advice on innovative strategy and efficient management skills, Joe won Chef Central’s Bergen Ultimate Chef Competition in 2008 and was Runner Up of the same competition in 2009.

After his success in the competition, Joe then sold the restaurant to Campania Holding Corp in September 2010.

But eight days after the sale, tragedy struck. Joe jumped off the George Washington Bridge committing suicide.

His body was found in the Hudson River and the reason for suicide is seen as his relationship with a waitress named Jessica.

With such tragic events befalling the restaurant, it closed a few years later in January 2011.

In March 2012, Sage Restaurant, an American/Italian cuisine establishment was opened in its place to mostly positive reviews.

As far as we can tell, Sage has no direct connection to Campania, though.

As of 2021, Sage Restaurant still occupies the old Campania location. It has an excellent 4.5 star rating according to its Yelp page.

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Last updated: 2021-12-30 07:19

8 thoughts on “Campania Restaurant Update – Kitchen Nightmares – Open or Closed?”

    • We didn’t in any way imply that Joe’s issues were a result of Gordon Ramsay. We just reported what happened.

  1. I just watched the episode and I thought that Gordon was a dick as usual, but this time he was a dick to a customer. There was no excuse for his nastiness to the unsatisfied customers. He asked a woman what the issue was and when she said the steak was tough, he was upset and was nasty to her and about her. That turned me off. There was an issue with the food and Gordon and the owner refused to recognize it. Then the second lady, who was clearly served burned meatballs after waiting two hours, was given no satisfaction. She’d also said she’d been there before. What a waste of her time. And the owner says to her that he doesn’t know what to do. It was made clear in this episode that the owner was inexperienced and lacked knowledge to run a business. It was also made clear that the kitchen, despite the renovations and retraining, was still chaotic and poorly managed during this dinner service. These customers were in the right to make their complaints. That businesses/employees make mistakes is one thing but true customer service is shown by how the business remedies those mistakes. And the environmentalist in me was disgusted by the breaking of perfectly good tableware near the end of the episode. Those could’ve been donated. I’m glad the restaurant closed down.

  2. omg Watching this episode now Feb 2022 THEY were such happy people so heartbreaking to hear of his death omg 🤦‍♀️💔💔💔Iam so sorry 🙏💔💔💔

  3. It’s funny how people don’t realize this is a TV show that looks for issues in every realm to find solutions. Everyone is unique and the picky customers food was observed by Ramsey one one plate untouched. Customers are not always right. I worked a restaurant and I once brought a dish that customers complained that it was not like she would make it. Everyone else enjoyed it, but only her and she did not want to pay after she ate more than half. What do you do. Comp meal every-time. No offer a dessert, or 10% off next meal. Some people look for a free meal. This episode shows it clearly.


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