Chiarella’s Kitchen Nightmares Update – Open Or Closed?

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 was a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania restaurant featured on season 5 of Kitchen Nightmares. The episode was filmed in November 2011 but didn’t air until March 2012. It was episode 14 of season 5.

In this episode of Kitchen Nightmares, Chef Gordon Ramsay takes us to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Chiarella’s, owned by Tommy and Dina Delphino.

Chiarella’s, previously owned by Dina’s parents, was extremely popular and successful in New Jersey. Thinking they’d have the same luck in Philadelphia, Tommy and Dina decided to open a restaurant and quickly realized they were wrong.

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

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

Upon arrival Gordon 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, 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.

Gordon sits down to order food, he 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 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.

Afterwards, Gordon meets the head chef, Felipe, who has been cooking at Chiarella’s for five years and 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, later learning from Chef Felipe that the kitchen has no system whatsoever.

Despite this major flaw, the food still leaves the kitchen in a timely manner, but the food is also sent back just as quickly.

As complaints from irate customers come pouring in, a frustrated Tommy once again disappears into the basement to lift weights, leaving Dina to handle the mess on her own.

Once the dinner rush is over, Gordon tries to talk to Dina who 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 a frustrated Gordon threatening to leave.

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.

Chiarella's Update - What Happened Next?

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.

A year later, Gordon returned in a Kitchen Nightmares revisited episode and was pleased to find that business was up by 20% and to increase profit the restaurant was obtaining a liquor license.

However, the good times would not last and Chiarella’s eventually closed for good in June 2015.

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.

As of 2021, the old Chiarella’s location is occupied by a coffee shop called Rival Bros Coffee.

When did Gordon Ramsay re-visit Chiarella’s?

Gordon Ramsay re-visited the restaurant about a year after the Chiarella’s Kitchen Nightmares episode was filmed. If you want to watch the revisit, it’s Season 6 Episode 6. This is the same episode where he revisited Cafe Hon in Baltimore and Leone’s in Montclair, NJ.

Did Gordon Ramsay visit any other restaurants in Philadelphia?

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

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Last updated: 2022-01-04 10:47

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