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

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Episode Recap

Kitchen Nightmares Campania restaurant update

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 pressurizes 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.

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Last updated: 2017-03-16 03:16


  1. Ash December 31, 2017
  2. Eddie February 5, 2021

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