(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
Campania was a Fair Lawn, New Jersey restaurant featured on season 1 of Kitchen Nightmares.
Though the Campania Kitchen Nightmares episode aired in November 2007, the actual visit from Gordon Ramsay happened in early 2007.
It was Season 1 Episode 9 of Kitchen Nightmares.
On this episode of Kitchen Nightmares, Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Campania Restaurant in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.
The restaurant was bought by Joseph (Joe) Cerniglia about 18 months before the Campania Kitchen Nightmares visit happened.
Despite only being open for a year and a half, it is already ready to shut down, which is why Joe needs help from Gordon Ramsay and his crew.
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 Ramsay arrives, the staff is goofing around in the kitchen and not taking their work seriously.
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 because of all the food that’s going to waste.
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 to reduce costs.
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, and another reason that explains why Campania is losing money as a business.
When Gordon mentions the same to Joe Cerniglia, 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.
Gordon Ramsay 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.
That’s a lot of debt for the restaurant to have and it’s a huge hole that Joe needs to climb out of if the Kitchen Nightmares Campania episode is going to be a success.
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 and to just focus on delivering the best food possible.
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.
So was the Campania Kitchen Nightmares episode a success? Keep reading our update to learn what happened next and if it’s open or closed in 2023 and beyond.
Campania Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the Campania Kitchen Nightmares episode, let’s talk about what happened to the restaurant after Gordon Ramsay and his crew left Fair Lawn, NJ.
Unfortunately, Campania has a rather sad ending because it closed not due to mismanagement, but to tragedy.
Things actually seemed to start off very well…
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.
Is Campania still open in 2023?
While Campania stayed open for a little bit after the tragic suicide of Joe Cerniglia, it closed shortly thereafter 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 Restaurant has no direct connection to Campania, though.
As of 2022, Sage Restaurant still occupies the old Campania New Jersey location, which means it’s been there for about a decade now.
Sage Restaurant has an excellent 4.5 star rating according to its Yelp page.
What happened to Joe Cerniglia from Campania
Sadly, Joe Cerniglia committed suicide in 2010 by jumping from the George Washington Bridge, as I mentioned above.
Joe seems to have been dealing with some demons for a long time.
A little before his death, police found him almost dead from a drug overdose. He was later arrested for being under the influence of narcotics.
Final Thoughts on Campania
Campania Restaurant seemed to start off well after the visit from Gordon Ramsay, with Joe winning some local cooking competitions.
Sadly, the restaurant closed shortly after Joe’s tragic suicide.
The old Campania Fair Lawn, NJ location is now occupied by a new restaurant named Sage Restaurant, which has successfully been in that location for over a decade now.
If you want to see some other New Jersey Kitchen Nightmares episodes, you can check out these posts:
- Hannah and Mason’s update (Cranbury, NJ)
- Mike and Nellie’s update (Oakhurst, NJ)
- Blackberry’s update (Plainfield, NJ)
- Spanish Pavillion update (Harrison, NJ)
- Flamangos / The Junction update (Whitehouse Station, NJ)
What did you think about the Campania episode of Kitchen Nightmares? I'd love it if you shared your thoughts on the episode in the comments below!
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Last updated: 2022-07-10 06:13
15 thoughts on “Campania Kitchen Nightmares Update – Still Open in 2023?”
All comments are the sole opinion of the commenter and are not endorsed by RealityTVUpdates.
Watched this episode earlier.. interesting to see who he was having affair with in the show… Like butter wouldn’t melt
Don’t shit where you eat
Chef gordon ramsey didn’t make joe cerniglia commit suicide ok ramsey helped him !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We didn’t in any way imply that Joe’s issues were a result of Gordon Ramsay. We just reported what happened.
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.
You must be an old bag
and nobody is going to miss you either
omg Watching this episode now Feb 2022 THEY were such happy people so heartbreaking to hear of his death omg 🤦♀️💔💔💔Iam so sorry 🙏💔💔💔
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.
So Gordon opened the refrigerator and found it was stocked with food. Duh, what do you think a refrigerator is supposed to be stocked with. Batteries? Antifreeze? Blood? Gordon really missed the boat on this one!
I’m watching this episode now and found this update page. It breaks my heart to know this young life is no longer with us. Sometimes the people who look like they are just happy go lucky and laugh off problems are the people that are hurting the most inside. My heart goes out to his family and friends. I’m happy to hear that Gordan was able to turn the restaurant around but unfortunately he can’t fix emotional problems even though I’m sure he wishes he could.
This is very charitable of you to write, Charity.
The irony that Ramsey told Joe his business was about to swimming in the Hudson.
I thought Josette with her raspy voice and tough look was cute. I wonder what happened to her? Was she having an affair with Joe also?