Chiarella’s Kitchen Nightmares Update – Still Open in 2024?

Is Chiarella's still open?

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

Season: 5 | View All Season 5 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: March 23, 2012
Chiarella's Address: 1600 S 11th St Philadelphia, PA 19148
Chiarella's Kitchen Nightmares update

Episode Recap

Chiarella’s Ristorante was a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania restaurant featured on Season 5 of Kitchen Nightmares.

Though the Chiarella’s Kitchen Nightmares episode aired in March 2012, the actual filming and visit from Gordon Ramsay took place earlier in November 2011.

It was Kitchen Nightmares Season 5 Episode 14.

In this episode of Kitchen Nightmares, Chef Gordon Ramsay takes us to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Dina Chiarella's owner

Gordan is heading to Chiarella’s restaurant, owned by Tommy and Dina Delphino.

Dina’s maiden name is Dina Chiarella, which is where the restaurant’s name comes from.

Chiarella’s Ristorante, previously owned by Dina’s parents, was extremely popular and successful in Wildwood, New Jersey.

Thinking they’d have the same luck in Philadelphia, Tommy and Dina decided to open a Chiarella’s Philadelphia location after the New Jersey location closed.

However, they quickly realized they were wrong about the restaurant being able to achieve the same success in the City of Brotherly Love, which is a big part of why the Chiarella’s Kitchen Nightmares episode exists.

Tommy Chiarella's owner

Tommy and Dina believe the food is delicious but staff members beg to differ.

Food quality isn’t the only issue at Chiarella’s restaurant…

Staff members also agree that when there is a problem, Tommy disappears into the basement to lift weights.

While he’s lifting weights, he leaves his staff to handle his problems.

That’s kind of weird, but I guess you gotta do whatever helps you deal with stress.

Not very fair to the staff, though…

Upon arrival, Gordon Ramsay is impressed with the quaint atmosphere of the restaurant.

Both the owners admit to there being inconsistencies with how they run their business, but both stand behind the fact that their food is delicious.

The couple do not agree with each other on how the business should be handled, however.

Gordon Ramsay talking with Chiarella's owners

Tommy claims he is at the restaurant working 7 days a week.

However, Dina reveals that Tommy is only there 2-3 days a week, and spends most of that time lifting weights in the basement.

Back to the weightlifting again…

Things seem fishy, but maybe the food will deliver and everything will work out.

Gordon Ramsay sits down to order food to see if Tommy and Dina are right about the quality.

Gordon orders the veal sinatra, steak sarah ann, and the land and sea sheree.

Unfortunately, the server comes back and says the restaurant is out of filets and offers Gordon a cheaper cut as a substitute.

Gordon then needs to use the restroom and to his horror discovers that it is in the basement.

Gordon’s food arrives – he first samples the steak dish, which has a messy appearance and is raw and covered in mozzarella cheese.

Gordon describes it as looking like it “just gave birth”.

Gordon Ramsay eating at Chiarella's

Gordon samples the veal and discovers it is chewy and lacks texture due to the chef heavily pounding the meat too much.

Last to be sampled is the land and sea sheree, which is overcooked, bland, and chewy, and is served with a cheap crayfish as opposed to the advertised lobster.

So, despite what Tommy and Dina believe, the food ain’t all that great.

Afterwards, Gordon meets the head chef, Felipe, who has been cooking at Chiarella’s for five years.

Chef Felipe claims that the owners do not allow him to do his job properly because they do not allow him to change anything with respect to the menu.

Gordon returns to observe the dinner rush and is horrified to find Tommy waiting on tables.

Once the service has started, Gordon observes that the kitchen lacks a system to expedite the orders.

He later learns from Chef Felipe that the kitchen has no system whatsoever.

Despite this major flaw, the food still leaves the kitchen in a timely manner.

However, the food is also sent back just as quickly, which definitely isn’t what you want to se.

As complaints from irate customers come pouring in, a frustrated Tommy once again disappears into the basement to lift weights.

Tommy lifting weights

This leaves Dina to handle the mess on her own.

Once the dinner rush is over, Gordon tries to talk to Dina.

However, she refuses to admit that the food is subpar and disgusting.

A frustrated Gordon tries to talk to Dina once more at her home the following day, but Dina still refuses to admit that the problem with the restaurant resides in how disgusting the menu items are, resulting in an even more frustrated Gordon.

Things are so bad that Gordon Ramsay threatens to leave Chiarella’s restaurant and just ditch the rescue.

To help get things back on track, Gordon addresses Tommy’s apparent depression and inspires Tommy to find his love for the restaurant once more.

Gordon wants Tommy to be involved in the kitchen so Gordon gives Tommy a cooking lesson.

That night, Gordon’s team transform Chiarella’s, making it brighter and more open with new white linens and white china.

Gordon has also taken most of the veal and chicken menu items off the menu.

What’s more, Gordon has an expert chef, Mike Trout, come and train Felipe and Tommy.

The night of relaunch, the orders start coming in and Tommy is leading the kitchen.

The food is leaving the kitchen at a good pace but this time the customers aren’t sending it back as they are happy with what they are served.

Despite one minor mistake that Tommy found the strength to push through and correct, the relaunch night was a success.

Gordon Ramsay leaves Chiarella's

When Gordon Ramsay leaves Chiarella’s, he calls it “the biggest transformation of any Italian restaurant he’s ever done”.

Gordon believed the restaurant could turn it around, but he wasn’t 100% confident that Tommy and Dina would maintain the standards that Gordon put in place.

So was the Kitchen Nightmares Chiarella’s episode a long-term success?

Keep reading our update to learn what happened next and if this Philadelphia, PA restaurant is open or closed in 2024 and beyond.

Chiarella's Update - What Happened Next?

Now that we’ve recapped the Chiarella’s Kitchen Nightmares episode, let’s talk about what happened to the restaurant after Gordon Ramsay and his crew left Philadelphia, PA.

Soon after Gordon’s changes, things seemed to be going well for Chiarella’s.

The Yelp and TripAdvisor reviews were much better than before.

Not perfect, but a lot better than where they had been.

I’ll share some real examples of Chiarella’s reviews below…

Chiarella’s Gordon Ramsay revisit in Season 6

A year later, Gordon returned in a Kitchen Nightmares revisited episode to see how the restaurant is doing.

Gordon was pleased to find that business was up by 20% and to increase profit the restaurant was obtaining a liquor license.

The revisit happened in Season 6 Episode 6.

This is the same episode where he revisited Cafe Hon in Baltimore and Leone’s in Montclair, NJ.

You can see it around the 16:45 minute mark in this YouTube video:

Unfortunately, the good times would not last forever.

Is Chiarella’s still open in 2024?

Sadly, Chiarella’s closed for good in June 2015, which means that it survived for a little over three years after the Chiarella’s Kitchen Nightmares episode aired on TV.

Up until early 2023, the old Chiarella’s Philadelphia PA location was occupied by a coffee shop called Rival Bros Coffee.

The coffee shop seemed to have good reviews.

However, it closed some time in early April 2023.

I’m not sure what business will replace it, but I will update when I know more.

Here’s what the old Chiarella’s Philadelphia PA location looks like in the most recent picture from Google Maps street view:

Why did Chiarella’s close?

Chiarella’s closed because of a rent issue with their location’s landlord, rather than problems with the restaurant itself.

Dina Chiarella said that there landlord was “pushing them” out and that they were not closing the restaurant because they wanted/needed to close.

She literally said that – here’s the exact quote:

We’re not closing because we want to close

It’s a shame because Chiarella’s restaurant seemed to be doing better after Gordon’s visit.

Chiarella’s reviews after Kitchen Nightmares

At the time that Chiarella’s restaurant closed, it had an overall 3.8 star rating on 118 Yelp reviews.

As I mentioned earlier, the reviews from after the Chiarella’s Gordon Ramsay visit were generally quite positive.

They are mainly 4 and 5 stars, though there are obviously a few negative reviews mixed in.

To give you an idea of real customers’ experiences, here’s a sampling of a few reviews that were written after the Gordon Ramsay Chiarella’s restaurant visit…

4 star Yelp review from October 2013:

I would definitely come back.

Went after we saw them on Kitchen Nightmares, and this place is a true gem in the city.

The owner, Tommy, is so friendly and makes you feel like you are at home.

The cooking is some of the best italian in the city and for the price and the fact that it is BYOB, you can’t go wrong!

4 star Yelp review from February 2015:

Food here is above average.

Don’t let the Kitchen Nightmares reputation deter you.

They certainly don’t bite here.

They have the professionalism of your usual waiter who has memorized the menu and can perfectly communicate and pronounce everything to create at least somewhat of an authentic Italian feel.

They also have the Philly flavor of the guy who comes around to your table and simply asks, “Ya like it?”

How can you say no?

4 star Yelp review from July 2013:

I too went to Chiarella’s after seeing them on Kitchen Nightmares and was impressed.

I’ve gone a few times and can honestly say: The service is great, the food is awesome, and the decor is quite charming.

The owner Tommy really takes his time to come over, introduce himself, and make you feel at home.

You can tell he is passionate about his restaurant.

The menu is an all classic Italian menu.

You can get a classic spaghetti and meatballs, fried calamari, as well as other traditional Italian dishes.

They make an awesome New York Strip, Chicken Parmigiana, and Linguini with Shrimp in lemon cream sauce.

The tiramisu is also probably the best I’ve ever had.

They serve ample portions, so come hungry!

My only complaint? The service is a little slow. However, it’s worth the wait.

Overall, it really does seem like the restaurant had improved a lot from after the show.

Final thoughts on Chiarella’s restaurant

Overall, Chiarella’s restaurant seemed to be doing much better after the visit from Gordon Ramsay and Kitchen Nightmares.

Reviews were generally better than before the Chiarella’s Gordon Ramsay visit.

Sadly, the restaurant had a lease issue with their landlord around three years after the Chiarella’s Kitchen Nightmares episode aired on TV.

This caused them to shut down.

Dina said that they didn’t want to close, but the landlord was pushing them out so they couldn’t avoid it.

The old Chiarella’s restaurant Philadelphia location was occupied by a coffee shop for several years.

However, that coffee shop also closed in early 2023.

If you want to see some other Kitchen Nightmare Philadelphia episodes, check out my Hot Potato Cafe update and my Zocalo update.

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

Thanks for reading!

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Last updated: 2023-08-19 04:57

18 thoughts on “Chiarella’s Kitchen Nightmares Update – Still Open in 2024?”

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

  1. The owners should have hired Rocky to beat up the landlord if he did not let them renew the lease. After all, they were in Philadelphia.

  2. The amazing part of this episode is that Gordon found an expert chef to help who also moonlights as the star outfielder for the Los Angeles Angels.

  3. Even more amazing was when Tommy took his weight set to the living room of his new one bedroom apartment after his family left him and Charbella closed down. Now he can lift weights and punch the wall all day and night.

  4. I got the feeling that Sylvester Stallone had met Tommy back in the 1970s, and his Rocky movie was all about Tommy.

  5. “Up until early 2023, the old Chiarella’s Philadelphia PA location was occupied by a coffee shop called Rival Bros Coffee.
    The coffee shop seemed to have good reviews.
    However, it closed some time in early April 2023.”

    According to Google, and their own website, they’re still open.


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