(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 4 | View All Season 4 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: March 11, 2011
Downcity Address: 50 Weybosset St Providence, Rhode Island 02903
Downcity, also spelled Down City, was a Providence, Rhode Island restaurant featured on season 4 of Kitchen Nightmares.
Though the Downcity Kitchen Nightmares episode aired on March 11, 2011, the actual filming and Gordon Ramsay visit took place in December 2010.
It was Kitchen Nightmares Season 4 Episode 6.
In this episode, Gordon Ramsay heads to the Downcity restaurant in Providence, Rhode Island.
I’ve seen it spelled as both Downcity and Down City. I believe the official spelling is Downcity, but I might accidentally use both spellings throughly the post.
The Downcity restaurant is owned by Abby Cabral and her best friend Rico Conforti.
They bought the restaurant back in 2005, which means they’ve owned it for a little over five years at the time of the Down City Kitchen Nightmares episode.
Rico had a full-time job in finance but no experience in restaurants.
In contrast, Abby had been working in restaurants for over 30 years.
Given that dynamic, it’s no surprise that Rico provides the capital while Abby manages the restaurant.
When Gordon Ramsay arrives at the Down City Rhode Island location, he’s greeted by Abby at first.
During the introduction, Abby rates the restaurant’s food as a perfect 10/10.
Spoiler alert – Gordon Ramsay did not agree with Abby that the food was a 10/10, to say the least.
Their encounter did not start well, as Ramsay reveals the food provided by his hotel’s room service was disgusting, which offended Abby.
After awkwardly navigating past that interaction, Gordon Ramsay orders is lunch to see if Abby’s rating is accurate.
The calamari arrived, with Chef Ramsay pointing out its sogginess and chewiness.
He also described the inaptly named Party-in-your-Mouth nachos as “more like a funeral in his mouth” and the meatloaf is lukewarm.
As the Michelin star chef converses with the staff, he discovers Abby is responsible for the menu and leaves after some initial bickering.
While she attempts to get the staff on her side, saying Ramsay is wrong, they admit the food is “below par”.
When Rico arrived for dinner service, Gordon sat down with him.
Rico admitted that he had a massive $1 million invested in the venture and can’t risk going bankrupt given his career in finance.
Beyond financial issues and taste issues, there’s also issues in the back of the restaurant.
When Gordon Ramsay investigates the pantry and other kitchen areas, he discovers moldy food, among many other issues.
This causes Gordon Ramsay to summon the owners, with all hell breaking loose as Abby lashes off at him.
She accuses him of being the culprit behind the mess, calling him a disgrace to the business and expelling him from the premises in an incredibly heated argument.
Yes – I’m sure that Gordon Ramsay has nothing better to do with his time than to make up stuff about the Downcity restaurant.
After conferring with Rico, Chef Ramsay explains to Abby he’s made mistakes with failed businesses in the past.
Only by admitting those mistakes and learning from them has gotten him to where he is now.
When the staff get Abby to admit the menu is unbearably large, she begrudgingly admits to changing it.
Gordon introduces a simpler new menu with considerably fewer items after witnessing a dinner service.
Part of the idea behind the new menu is to relieve pressure on Jimmy and the kitchen.
The standard of the food is improved, but the kitchen gets swamped again, while customers are left waiting for food and start making for the door.
When Abby reveals a lack of faith in Jimmy, Chef Ramsay calls in one of his chefs to help get the kitchen staff in order.
For the re-launch night, Chef Ramsay introduces a new comfort food menu featuring a goat’s cheese truffle dip, meatball sliders, lobster Mac & Cheese and a new improved meatloaf.
He also invites Stacy Place, a local food blogger who had written a brutal review of Downcity previously.
As the night gets underway, the food is being sent out quickly, the customers love the new menu and the new food.
Just when it seemed the kitchen couldn’t cope with the pressure, the whole team rallies and the food starts leaving the kitchen.
Once the food hits the tables, everyone is revealed to be enjoying the food, blogger included.
Want to know more about the blogger from the Downcity episode of Kitchen Nightmares?
Her name is Stacy Place and she actually shared a bit about the show and how her “10,000+ followers” might have been a bit overblown:
People assumed since Gordon was reading my Twitter feed that the show was referring to me having 10,000 Twitter followers.
The producers had asked me how many people had read my blog and I replied about 250 per week.
Multiplying that by 52 weeks, they rounded down to 10,000.
Of course, 3,000 people have read it just since the episode aired!
So maybe the stakes were not quite as high as the producers of Kitchen Nightmares made it seem!
When Gordon Ramsay leaves Downcity restaurant, things seem to be looking up for it.
He even gets a hug from Abby when he’s leaving.
So was the Down City Kitchen Nightmares episode a long-term success?
Keep reading to learn what happened next and if this Providence, Rhode Island restaurant is still open in 2024.
Downcity Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the Downcity Kitchen Nightmares episode, let’s talk about what happened to the restaurant after Gordon Ramsay and his crew left Providence, Rhode Island.
The episode was undoubtedly one of the show’s most belligerent and confrontational encounters, so everyone was curious to find out what has happened since.
Let’s talk about the second Downcity restaurant Gordon Ramsay visit and a local news segment, and then I’ll share where the restaurant is today.
Local news segment on the DownCity Gordon Ramsay visit
Shortly after Gordon visited the restaurant, a local news program called The Rhode Show did a segment about the rescue for the local Fox affiliate, Fox Providence.
The segment aired the same day the DownCity Kitchen Nightmares episode aired on TV.
The segment includes interviews with Abby, Rico, and Jason Welch (the dining room manager at DownCity restaurant).
Here are a few notable quotes I thought were interesting…
Rico summarizing Gordon’s visit:
A lot more than we expected.
Abby on the Kitchen Nightmares experience:
He turned around our restaurant in four days.
I couldn’t have done that without him coming here.
Jason Welch on the value of Ramsay’s visit:
It was a good experience.
We got a really, really great menu out of it.
I think we all learned a lot.
We made some changes staff wise that needed to be done, that we had put off doing.
Overall, it was a really great experience.
If you want to watch the full segment, I’ve embedded it below.
It’s only around 2.5 minutes long.
Gordon Ramsay revisits Down City restaurant in Season 5
While the original Down City episode was in Season 4, Gordon Ramsay visited the restaurant again as part of the Revisited #6 episode, which was Season 5 Episode 5.
I believe he revisited the restaurant around July 2011, which would be 6-7 months after his first visit and around 4 months after the original episode aired on TV.
When Gordon arrives at the Down City Providence location, he is greeted by the restaurant owners.
Abby reveals that business is up by at least 30% and again rates the food a 10/10 after some friendly banter with chef Ramsay.
Chef Jimmy is still there continuing to impress both Abby and Rico.
Chef Ramsay goes into the fridge and, after confirming it is very well organized, he sits down for lunch, finding the food delicious.
While catching up with the restaurant owners, Chef Ramsay notices there is some tension between them.
Eventually, he manages to get the truth out of them as Rico confesses that while Abby doesn’t shout at the employees, she now shouts at him a lot more.
Gordon Ramsay gets Abby to apologize to Rico, driving home the realization that they’re business partners and Abby can’t address Rico in that manner.
I’ve embedded the video below (though it might not be available to watch in all locations).
The revisit part starts around the 33:33 mark – it should play there automatically:
In the end, all seemed to be well in Downcity but it was not meant to last… as the restaurant closed doors in 2011 after being hit by the economic downturn.
Is Downcity still open after Kitchen Nightmares?
While things seemed to be going well at the restaurant in Gordon Ramsay’s revisit, Downcity restaurant closed for good in December 2011.
This was around eight months after the Kitchen Nightmares Down City episode aired on TV, though a year after the actual visit from Gordon Ramsay.
Abby posted the following message on the restaurant’s website about the closure:
I want to thank everyone and anyone that has ever walked through the doors of DOWNCITY.
What owning DOWNCITY has meant to me–words cannot describe.
My heart is also hurting for all of the customers (my friends) that I see every Friday and Saturday.
Please know that I will miss those days forever!
Why did Downcity close?
Well, I don’t know the exact reason, but it seems like they blamed the economy for part of the closure.
As of 2023, the old Downcity Providence Rhode Island location is occupied by a new restaurant named Circe Restaurant & Bar.
The new restaurant seems to generally have good reviews and it’s quite popular.
For example, it has an excellent 4 star rating on its Yelp page.
Here’s what the old Down City Rhode Island location looks like in the most recent picture from Google Maps street view:
Down City restaurant reviews after Kitchen Nightmares
At the time that Down City closed, the restaurant had an overall 2.5 star rating on 75 Yelp reviews, which includes reviews from both before and after the Downcity Gordon Ramsay visit.
Reviews from after the Kitchen Nightmares episode seem to be fairly mixed.
There were a number of five star reviews…but also a number of two or one star reviews.
Overall, it seems like the negative reviews outweigh the positive ones, which might help explain why Downcity closed.
To give you an idea of real customers’ experiences, here’s a sampling of a few reviews that were written after the Gordon Ramsay Down City restaurant visit…
4 star Yelp review from November 2011:
Found myself in Providence RI on business, as a fan of Kitchen Nightmares, had to try Downcity.
Went on a Tuesday night, very slow, not a lot of people working but I found the speed the food came out of the kitchen to be more than acceptable.
Bad parts – tables were sticky and kind of beat up.
Server smelled of cigarettes to the point of being disgusting.
Good parts – decor was fantastic, service was very good, food was excellent.
Had the goat cheese truffle dip with freshly made potatoe chips – wonderful.
Entree- bacon wrapped meatloaf – suberb, can’t say I’ve had better meatloaf anywhere else (it was far better than my mothers)
Did not have dessert,
Overall, give it a try.
I’m really glad I did.
1 star Yelp review from August 2011:
Gordon Ramsay’s lessons have clearly been forgotten.
Ordered the pesto penne and found an oil-water emulsion at bottom of the bowl.
The roasted asparagus was more like a shallow-fried asparagus.
My friend tried the lobster salad and pronounced it okay.
However, nothing on the menu tempts me to return for another try.
2 star Yelp review from July 2011:
My friend had reservations for the Gordon Ramsay revisit today, and I went along, being a (Ramsay) fan and fellow food apprecianado.
We were only there for the first hour of the filming (no GR sighting), and we were treated to the self-aggrandizing owner’s rambling to a nearby table.
Mostly about how the lobster mac and cheese was a steal at only $19.
While this might be true in comparison to the other dishes on the menu, my steak tip sandwich was far worse than a $5 footlong at Subway. Yes, I said it.
And what was her price comparison? For a lunch menu, fairly overpriced.
And way to cancel your $3 lunchtime appetizer pricing for the special revisit by Ramsay occasion.
Welcome, patrons and friends, with reservations, but alas, no standard pricing.
I suppose someone had to pay for the Dunkin Donuts dozens the film crew enjoyed instead of the food actually made on-site.
I can’t wait to watch the episode on TV, where Ramsay will likely agree with the lack of quality change.
Third time here in over two years, and hopefully my last.
Unfortunately, I believe the owner of this restaurant has spent way too much on decor and concept rather than menu, server, and chef quality.
At least they will receive the ‘free million dollar advertising’ as overheard in the owner’s exalts.
Whether or not anyone likes it.
The reviewer above will probably be disappointed that Gordon actually liked the food when he revisited DownCity restaurant.
What happened to Abby Cabral from the Downcity Kitchen Nightmares episode?
Abby Cabral was the Downcity owner who clashed with Gordon so much in the episode.
Up until 2021, Abby Cabral seemed to be employed as a personal trainer at a gym which had locations in Rhode Island and nearby.
You can still see her bio on the gym’s website.
However, it’s marked as “old” now, which leads me to believe that she’s moved on.
During that time, it seems like she was also working as a Project Manager, according to her LinkedIn page.
So maybe the personal training was just a side hustle.
As of 2023, Abby seems to be working as an operations assistant at a painting and renovation company.
I wish Abby the best!
What happened to Rico from Downcity?
Rico Conforti seems to still be working in the finance space even after Downcity closed.
Overall, he seems to have had a very succesful career in the space.
According to Rico’s linkedIn page, he continued working at the same company from the episode’s time for another seven years after the restaurant closed.
He started work as a Mortgage Consultant at a local credit union in 2004 and continued until 2018.
As of 2023, Rico seems to be a senior loan officer at BayCoast Mortgage Company.
In addition to listing this on LinkedIn, Rico is also listed on the BayCoast Mortgage website.
Normally I don’t include the names of companies where people work, but I’m making an exception because it’s literally the first thing that comes up if you Google Rico’s name.
He lives in nearby Massachusetts.
Best wishes to Rico, as I wish to all of the owners from the show.
Final thoughts on the Downcity restaurant
Overall, the Downcity restaurant seemed to have a promising future after Gordon Ramsay’s visit.
In the Gordon Ramsay Downcity re-visit episode, business seemed to be going well.
Again, Abby said that business was up by 30%.
Unfortunately, that business bump didn’t seem to last as the restaurant only survived for a year after the original Gordon Ramsay visit.
As of 2023, the old Down City Providence location is occupied by a new restaurant that seems to be doing well.
That wraps up my Down City Kitchen Nightmares update.
As far as I’m aware, Down City was the only Kitchen Nightmares Rhode Island episode.
And if you want to share your thoughts on the Downcity episode, you can do so using the comments section below.
Thank you so much for reading!
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Last updated: 2023-09-19 07:29