(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 5 | View All Season 5 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: January 20, 2012
El Greco Address: 3016 Guadalupe St Ste C200 Austin, TX 78705
El Greco Restaurant was an Austin, Texas restaurant featured on season 5 of Kitchen Nightmares.
The El Greco Nightmares episode aired in January, 2012, the actual filming and visit from Gordon Ramsay took place before that.
It was Season 5 Episode 10.
In the El Greco Kitchen Nightmares episode, Chef Gordon Ramsay visits an authentic Greek restaurant in Austin, Texas called El Greco.
It’s the only Kitchen Nightmares Texas episode, which is pretty surprising given the size of the state.
Other populous states like California and New York had tons of visits, while Texas only had one measly restaurant featured on the show.
But anyway, let’s get back to the El Greco restaurant episode recap…
El Greco is owned by Jake Konstantinidis (full name James Konstantinidis) and his mother Athina Konstantinidis.
In 2007, Athina poured all of her money into purchasing the restaurant – around $800,000!
That’s an incredible amount of money to bet on a restaurant.
While the restaurant was thriving when it first opened, business has now declined within the last year due.
Some of the biggest issues are the quality of food declining and Jake’s poor attitude causing a significant decrease in morale.
These are some of the many reasons for the El Greco Kitchen Nightmares episode to exist.
Upon arrival, Gordon Ramsay is greeted by Athina who welcomes him with a hug.
Chef Ramsay then sits down with Jake and Athina to discuss the day to day operations.
During this discussion it is revealed that Athina does all the work while Jake continuously shows up late to work.
Athina blatantly admits that Jake is the number one problem with the restaurant.
Chef Ramsay then decides to taste the menu by ordering a stuffed zucchini, lamb shank and moussaka.
Chef Ramsay shares that the stuffed zucchini has poor presentation and that the flavor was bland and disgusting.
The lamb shank was depressing and he could tell it had been microwaved.
Finally, the moussaka would not detach itself from the plate and resembled dog food.
Not exactly rave reviews from Chef Ramsay, lol.
There was a funny moment, though.
Dustin, chef Ramsay’s server, said that a dish was cooked by “Chef Mike”, AKA the microwave.
At the end, a frustrated Gordon says that “it’s not possible fora restaurant to be so bad”, which pretty much sums it up.
Afterwards, Chef Ramsay sits down with the two owners and reveals that the food was subpar and inauthentic.
Jake’s lack of interest irritates Gordon so he decides to talk to Athina alone.
Gordon reveals his fear that Jake has lost his passion for the restaurant.
During the dinner rush that night, Gordon observes Diego, a line cook of 14-years, repeatedly placing plate after plate into the microwave while the burners go untouched for the night.
This fuels a heated argument between Jake and Gordon, where Jake defends his microwave usage for every dish.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t think a microwave is the pinnacle of fine dining haha.
The next day Chef Ramsay observes Athina and Kiki arrive early to the restaurant to begin prepping for the day.
However, Jake, who promised to come in at 10 a.m. is nowhere to be found until midday.
After another heated argument between Jake and the two sisters, Chef Ramsay resolves the issue and the three make up.
Chef Ramsay gets everyone to commit to cooking everything from scratch and throws the microwave out the window.
Chef Ramsay works with Jake on creating a new menu and the staff loves the samples they are given to try.
The dining room also receives a new makeover to reflect a more modern Greek theme.
As part of the changes, Gordon Ramsay also throws “Chef Mike” out the window, which really drives home the point.
Besides a few minor hiccups with Jake failing to delegate tasks in the kitchen, the relaunch was a success.
The owners end the night by breaking plates to signify that they are breaking old habits and starting fresh.
When Gordon leaves, he gives them a hug and hopes that Athina and Jake can be closer together.
So was the El Greco Kitchen Nightmares episode a long-term success?
Given by the recap at the end of the episode, you probably have a good idea of where this is going.
But regardless, keep reading our update to learn what happened next and whether this Austin Texas restaurant is still open in 2023.
El Greco Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the El Greco Kitchen Nightmares episode, let’s talk about what happened to the restaurant after Gordon Ramsay and his crew left Austin, TX.
In the months that followed there seemed to be positive feedback from the community (though Yelp reviews were mixed).
Unfortunately, the debt was too high for the owners to overcome, and the staff’s commitment to Gordon’s new menu started to wane.
Is El Greco still open after Kitchen Nightmares?
El Greco closed in December 2011, which is a month before the Kitchen Nightmares episode aired on TV.
Yes – this Austin TX Greek restaurant could not even make it to the episode air date.
Why did El Greco close?
Well, it’s hard to know for sure, but the debt load probably put the restaurant in a pretty tough position even with Gordon’s help.
Additionally, while a lot of people did like Gordon’s changes, some regulars preferred the old El Greco when it came to the menu and decor.
That means El Greco has officially earned its spot on the list of closed Kitchen Nightmares episodes.
Personally, I think this one was always destined for failure.
Even before the El Greco Gordon Ramsay visit, there were already major complaints about Jake.
For example, James Holbrook, a former cook at El Greco restaurant, went to the Austin Eater magazine and complained about Jake being “controlling and degrading”.
Here’s a quote from James about the restaurant’s commitment to Gordon Ramsay’s changes:
The quality of the produce used is steadily going downhill.
Every corner imaginable is being cut from Ramsay’s new menu.
I was hoping things would turn around, that I could help him get out of his “Restaurateurs Slump”.
El Greco was a waste for Kitchen Nightmares
And here’s another quote about working with Jake:
Jake is very controlling and degrading to work with.
He doesn’t come downstairs from his condo unless he has to, I don’t know exactly whats going on up there, but I know it it isn’t any good (wait till you see the episode of Kitchen Nightmares).
I have seen him make waitstaff pay for walked tables out of their tips.
Seen him flip out and threaten staff with kitchen utensils etc.
While obviously that’s only one person’s side of things, it really doesn’t sound like a good workplace.
Some of what James alleged is outright illegal, such as making wait staff cover the money if a table walks without paying.
As of 2023, the old El Greco Austin Texas location is occupied by a sub shop named Cheba Hut Toasted Subs.
Reviews for the new restaurant seem pretty good as it has a 4.5 star rating on its Yelp page.
Here’s what the old El Greco Texas location looks like in the most recent picture from Google Maps street view.
You can see the Cheba Hut signage and building…
Where is El Greco chef Jake Konstantinidis now?
Jake Konstantinidis doesn’t have much of a social media presence so I’m not sure what happened to him after the El Greco Kitchen Nightmares episode.
I did some digging and it seems like he might have moved to New York.
However, I don’t have any information beyond that.
If you know anything, please let us know in the comments section!
What happened to the El Greco owners?
Jake Konstantinidis and Athina Konstantinidis were the main El Greco owners from the show.
Unfortunately, neither has much of an online presence, so I cannot find anything about them after El Greco closed.
Again, if you know anything, please let me know in the comments section and I will update the post.
Final thoughts on El Greco restaurant
Overall, the El Greco restaurant episode was not a success, as the restaurant closed a month before the episode even air on TV.
In terms of what happened to El Greco owners, I’m not entirely sure because they don’t have much of an online profile.
I do know that the old El Greco restaurant Austin TX location is now occupied by a Cheba Hut Toasted Subs location.
That wraps up my El Greco Kitchen Nightmares update.
As I mentioned earlier, El Greco was the only Austin Texas Kitchen Nightmares episode (and the only Texas episode in general).
However, if you want to see some other nearby episodes from neighboring states, you can check out these posts:
- Oceana in New Orleans update
- Zeke’s Restaurant in Louisiana update
- Amy’s Baking Company in Arizona update
And if you want to share your thoughts on the El Greco episode, you can do so using the comments section below.
Thanks for reading!
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Last updated: 2023-06-11 05:27