(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 5 | View All Season 5 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: February 17, 2012
Charlie's Italian Bistro Address: 2445 Foothill Blvd Ste A La Verne, CA 91750 United States
Charlie’s Italian Bistro was a La Verne, California restaurant featured on Season 5 of Kitchen Nightmares.
Though the Charlie’s Kitchen Nightmares episode aired in February 2012, the actual visit from Gordon Ramsay happened around four months earlier in October 2011.
It was Kitchen Nightmares Season 5 Episode 12.
In this episode of Kitchen Nightmares, Chef Gordon Ramsay takes us to Charlie’s Italian Bistro.
The restaurant is located in La Verne, California.
La Verne is a city in Los Angeles County, located in between downtown Los Angeles and San Bernardino.
Tatiana Leiva, a former waitress, is the owner of the restaurant in the episode.
Tatiana was given the opportunity to purchase the restaurant in 2008, which was around four years before the episode.
Because Tatiana couldn’t afford Charlie’s by herself, she sought financial assistance through her mother and sister, Pat and Val.
To get the money to invest in Charlie’s Italian Bistro, they placed their houses as collateral to help Tatiana achieve her dream of owning a restaurant.
Obviously, that means there’s a ton riding on the success of the restaurant, both for Tatiana and her family.
Since becoming the restaurant’s new owner, Tatiana has done nothing to change the menu and has kept the same mediocre at best chef, Casimiro.
On most days, the restaurant remains empty, which is a big part of why the Charlie’s restaurant Kitchen Nightmares episode exists.
The staff sees Tatiana as the restaurant’s number one problem, due to her inexperience and inability to properly run a restaurant, disrespectful attitude towards her staff, and her bad habit of drinking wine on the job.
Tatiana’s relationship is also strained with her mother and sister because if the restaurant fails, they both lose their homes.
It’s always tough when you mix money and family relationships, especially if the business is struggling.
Upon arrival, Gordon Ramsay chats with Tatiana, Val, and Pat.
He learns of the financial burden Tatiana’s struggling restaurant has placed on the family.
Gordon also learns that the restaurant was doing badly when Tatiana purchased it 18 months ago.
However, Tatiana saw nothing worth changing when she became the new owner.
This doesn’t really make sense to me – if a business is already failing, you need to change something!
After getting the behind-the-scenes information, Gordon wants to sample the food at Charlie’s.
To start, he orders a toasted ravioli, a fruitte de mare, a chicken pizza, a lasagne, and the bread.
As you can probably guess, Gordon was not a fan of the food at Charlie’s.
Gordon says the bread is dreadful, describing it as a wet and soggy dough ball.
It doesn’t get any better after that – the ravioli is served raw; the fruitte de mare and the pasta is too much and the seafood is far from fresh.
The lasagne is served with a disgusting sauce with a pinkish hue, has a strange taste, and shows evidence of being unevenly microwaved.
The final dish is the pizza and Gordon says it was frozen as he finds it is too doughy.
Basically, Charlie’s Italian restaurant struck out when it came to the food that it served to Gordon Ramsay.
Gordon gives his feedback to the restaurant staff that the food was hideous.
Gordon then follows Tatiana Leiva in to see the freezer and sees frozen store-bought meatballs, boxes of noodles, and pizza dough.
It is clear to Gordon that Tatiana is in-over-her-head and not only mismanaging her family’s money, but also the restaurant.
During the dinner rush, chef Casimiro insists on working one ticket at a time, leaving Daniella, a sous chef, with the bulk of the work.
When the food finally arrives at the table after a long wait, most customers are left unhappy and unimpressed.
Gordon, being unimpressed with Casimiro, calls him out in his usual Gordon Ramsay way (e.g. not very polite!).
Casimiro stops cooking in protest to Chef Ramsay.
Tatiana is upset at the drama between Casimiro and Gordon.
She reveals to Gordon that she has a sentimental attachment to Casimiro because he has been with the restaurant for 10 years.
Again, loyalty is nice…but if he was the chef when the restaurant was failing, maybe that’s a sign of a problem.
Gordon tells Tatiana that her allegiance should be to her family and business, and not to a lazy, mediocre chef.
At the end of the night a tearful Tatiana privately fires Casimiro.
The next day, Gordon has expert chef, Jonathan, come in and train the restaurant’s chefs and Tatiana who makes a delicious lasagna dish.
Gordon also changes the menu which now displays delicious Italian meals.
On the day of relaunch the night starts off well, Jonathan leads the kitchen and customers are receiving their food.
However, due to a communication lag between the servers and the pizza oven operators, not all the food is arriving at the same time.
Gordon presses on Tatiana to mend the communication problem between the servers and kitchen staff.
With some grit and grind, things eventually turn around and fall into place and the customers love the food, resulting in a successful night.
When Gordon Ramsay says goodbye to Tatiana, she tells him that he changes lives and that he’s an angel.
Overall, things seem to be looking up at Charlie’s restaurant.
So was the Kitchen Nightmare’s Charlie’s Italian Bistro episode a long-term success?
Keep reading my update to learn what happened next and if this La Verne, CA restaurant is still open in 2024 and beyond.
Charlie's Italian Bistro Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the Charlie’s Kitchen Nightmares episode, let’s talk about what happened to the restaurant after Gordon Ramsay and his crew left La Verne, Ca.
After Gordon went home, Jonathan stayed on for another month to maintain everything and help the restaurant find and train a new permanent chef.
The restaurant received mostly positive reviews from customers complimenting the food and service.
The Charlie’s Italian Bistro Yelp page had a solid four star overall rating and many of the newer reviews were five stars.
However, the good times would not last…
Is Charlie’s Italian Bistro still open?
Unfortunately, Charlie’s Italian Bistro closed in July 2012.
This means that it only survived for around eight months after the visit from Gordon Ramsay and only four months after the Charlie’s Kitchen Nightmares episode aired on TV.
As of 2023, the old Charlie’s Italian Bistro La Verne CA location is occupied by a new restaurant named Cafe X20.
The new restaurant seems to have good reviews, with a 4 star rating on over 700 Yelp reviews.
You can see the new restaurant in the latest Google Maps street view picture for the old Charlie’s Italian Bistro La Verne CA location:
Why did Charlie’s Italian Bistro close?
Unfortunately, Tatiana didn’t provide any information about why Charlie’s Italian Bistro closed.
All I can report is that the restaurant is indeed closed.
If you have any inside information about the restaurant’s closure, please let me know in the comments section below!
What happened to Tatiana Leiva from Charlie’s Italian Bistro?
First off, Tatiana from Kitchen Nightmares is not dead. She is very much alive and well, which I’m happy to report.
Since the restaurant closed, Tatiana Leiva has had a few acting roles in movies.
She also was a production assistant on Up in Smoke.
You can learn about the Tatiana Leiva movies on her IMDB page.
Beyond that, Tatiana also seems to be working as a photo editor at an entertainment website that’s based on California.
Overall, it appears that Tatiana Leiva is done with the restaurant industry after her experience with Charlie’s Italian Bistro.
What happened to Casimiro from Charlie’s Italian Bistro?
I can’t find any information on what happened to chef Casimiro from Charlie’s Italian Bistro.
If you know anything, please let me know in the comments section!
What happened to Genevieve from Charlie’s Italian Bistro?
Genevieve was a server from Charlie’s Italian Restaurant.
I am sad to report that Genevieve from Charlie’s Italian Bistro passed after the episode due to complications from epilepsy.
This happened back in 2014, so just a few years after the episode aired on TV.
Rest in peace, Genevieve.
Here’s a link to her obituary.
Final thoughts on Charlie’s Italian Bistro
Overall, Charlie’s Italian Bistro seemed to be looking good after the visit from Gordon Ramsay.
However, the restaurant would close just a few months after the Charlie’s Kitchen Nightmares episode aired on TV, meaning it is definitely not a long-term Kitchen Nightmares success story.
As of 2023, the old Charlie’s La Verne location is occupied by a new restaurant/cafe named Cafe X20.
Tatiana Leiva has left the restaurant industry and is working in the entertainment industry now.
Sadly, Genevieve passed away in 2014.
And if you want to share your thoughts on the Charlie’s episode, you can do so using the comments section below.
As always – thanks for reading!
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Last updated: 2023-12-21 06:59