Campania Kitchen Nightmares Update – Still Open in 2024?

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 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.

Joe Cerniglia is both the owner and the chef at the restaurant.

Joe Cerniglia Campania owner on Kitchen Nightmares

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 Ramsay places his order with Josette, his server, eager to see what the food is like at Campania.

However, things do not go well at the sampling…

He receives bland and tasteless soup…

…ravioli covered with garlic filled sauce…

…a badly presented dish of chicken.

Gordon Ramsay eating at Campania

Basically, the food wasn’t good, which is pretty much what you’d expect given that the Campania restaurant episode exists.

Gordon Ramsay 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 huge.

As a result, most of the guests have leftovers for the next day.

Side note – I love huge portion sizes, so Campania would’ve been great for me in that respect.

This is another avenue where money is being wasted, and another reason that explains why Campania is losing money as a business.

Campania portion sizes

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.

As part of this, Gordon decides to introduce a signature meatball dish for the restaurant that will make them stand out.

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.

Gordon Ramsay leaves Campania

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 my update to learn what happened next and if it’s open or closed in 2024 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 alleged to have been his relationship with a waitress named Jessica.

Very sad – RIP Joe.

Is Campania still open in 2024?

While Campania stayed open for a little bit after the tragic suicide of Joe Cerniglia, it closed shortly thereafter in January 2011.

This means that Campania stayed open for a little over three years after the Campania restaurant Kitchen Nightmares episode aired on TV.

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

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

As of 2023, 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.

Here’s what the old Campania NJ location looks like in the most recent picture from Google Maps street view:

Campania restaurant reviews after Kitchen Nightmares

At the time that Campania closed, it had a 2.5 star rating on its Yelp page, though only on 8 reviews.

All of the reviews were written after the Campania restaurant Gordon Ramsay visit.

Here’s a sampling of a few reviews to give you an idea of people’s experiences…

2 star Yelp review from March 2010:

The restaurant was quite empty when we made our way in….

Place did great for years due to the fact it was on “Kitchen Nightmares” (Chef Gordon Ramsay’s show). One of the reasons we ventured into this establishment.

The server was very nice and attentive…

The food took quite a while to come out along with a puddle of oil on my plate.

I did not mention it to the server but when serving a “grilled” fish dish it should not come out sitting in a puddle of oil.

Plating/ Presentation was ok.

But I could care less about that if the food was more flavorful I would actually think about going back.

1 star Yelp review from September 2008:

Had gone to Campania in the past, the food was very good, but stopped going because of the bad service.

Decided to go again after seeing that Chef Ramsay had straightened the place out.

The service was so bad that we will never go again.

Customers all around us were upset and complaining and I doubt they will ever go back either.

The waiter was distracted and kept stopping and looking around while trying to tell us the specials.

We had to ask twice for bread and it took over 45 minutes for our first course to come out.

Then the salad my daughter ordered had a bright red smudge on the side of the plate; it looked like blood.

The waiter agreed and brought out a new salad.

[very long, negative review continues]

4 star Yelp review from August 2009:

Don’t let the neighborhood or strip mall location fool you, the food here is quite delicious.

We ate here last night for a wedding dress rehearsal dinner with a party of more than 20 off the group dinner menu that included appetizers of prosciutto, mussels and little neck clams (the house bread – soft with a crispy crust – goes well with the soup/sauce), toast with a mozzarella topping w/ heirloom tomatoes, followed by a main course of a Italian pork dish or the black cod.

Dessert was coffee w/ house made biscotti and ice cream topped with raspberry Italian ice.

The time duration between the last pasta dish and the main entree was more than a hour and I’m not sure whether that was at the request of the family or that the kitchen was just slow.

The waitstaff was attentive and knowledgeable of the menu and truly was a surprisingly delight to eat here.

Finally, here’s a screenshot of a very lengthy 1 star Yelp review from March 2010:

Campania restaurant review New Jersey

What happened to Joe Cerniglia from Campania restaurant?

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.

RIP, Joe.

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.

That wraps up my Campania Kitchen Nightmares update.

If you want to see some other New Jersey Kitchen Nightmares episodes, you can check out these posts:

And if you want to share your thoughts on the Campania restaurant episode, you can do so using the comments section below.

Thanks for reading!

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Last updated: 2023-06-09 05:47

31 thoughts on “Campania Kitchen Nightmares Update – Still Open in 2024?”

All comments are the sole opinion of the commenter and are not endorsed by RealityTVUpdates.

    • I must admit he was one of the very few Owners that didn’t annoy me as much as others I’ve seen over the years.

      I had a feeling that he might be abusing drink and/or drugs, as there was just something about his demeanour.

      The shenanigans going on in the kitchen with the staff was also a red flag to me, leading me to suspect he was having an affair. If l had to guess, I would have said Jessica.

      At the end of the day, what a loss to his wife, children, parents, relatives and any siblings he may have had.

      Winning those awards, could have been a boost for him and the business, but he may have ended up conflicted and guilty because of the affair with Jessica.

      By the way Josette is a ⭐️.

      • Oh wow really? You literally came here 2023 and knew everything that you just read but never mentioned it many years ago… kick rocks you fraud.

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

    • In which way did Gordon Ramsey help Joe Cerniglia commit suicide?

      If anything he helped him win those awards, which he may not have won without the cooking tips he gave him.

      The other part of his life, was NOTHING to do with Gordon Ramsey.

  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.

    • I agree with what you have said, apart from the customer called “old bag” by Gordon Ramsey.

      She had “actress” vibe all around her.

      I also think the two customers that were arguing in the car park, were paid by the producers to do this for effect. They weren’t getting the meltdowns, etc from the Owner/Chef, Head Chef or other staff and needed to crank it up, as that’s what the show to a certain extent is famous for.

      Just saying.

  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.

  4. 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!

    • It was stocked so full for weeks when they had no customers. That means it goes in the trash as it won’t be used in time and all the time and effort prepping it is wasted. Do you buy lots of extra groceries only to let it go bad in your fridge? Do you peel and cut up all your veggies knowing you can’t possibly use them, and let them go bad? He was open 18 months and went $120,000 in debt because he didn’t have a budget and wasted tons of money! No customers but 11 staff?!
      Ramsey was 100% accurate !!!!

  5. 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.

  6. 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?

  7. I got a feeling watching this episode when it aired, and now even more, that Joe was dipping his wick in the staff pool. Some of those girls were way too friendly. Joe lost a lot of money, but he got what he wanted. RIP

  8. They were all to friendly and it was obvious, Jessica herself said she was the biggest flirt, probably all banging each other.


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