(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 2 | View All Season 2 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: September 11, 2008
Handlebar Address: 23 Rte 25A Mount Sinai, New York 11766
The Handlebar Restaurant was a Mount Sinai, New York restaurant featured on season 2 of Kitchen Nightmares.
Though the Handlebar Kitchen Nightmares episode aired in September 2008, the actual visit from Gordon Ramsay happened at the beginning of 2008.
It was Season 2 Episode 1 of Kitchen Nightmares.
Gordon Ramsay also revisited the Handlebar restaurant in Season 3, as part of one of the revisited episodes.
The Handlebar Restaurant in Long Island (Mount Sinai), New York was owned by William “Billy” LeRoy and his wife Carolyn.
As you’d expect from the restaurant showing up on Kitchen Nightmares, the couple was struggling to keep the restaurant afloat.
This was a perfect option for a Kitchen Nightmares project.
So, Gordon Ramsay decides to take up the challenge and jump into the Kitchen Nightmares Handlebar visit.
He first goes to visit Billy and Carolyn.
Billy, being a construction worker and not having any restaurant experience, had no idea why the restaurant had such a hard time in attracting customers.
The restaurant had numerous failings, which Ramsay discovered one by one.
He first found out that the Head Chef Melissa had no interest in being a chef or anything to do with the restaurant.
Instead, she had only taken up the job because she was pressured to take it.
Melissa also doesn’t plan to make being a chef her longterm career.
Not a recipe for success!
So, to further find out why the restaurant is not filling up, Gordon gets to the usual scene.
He orders the items in the restaurant’s menu to see what is wrong.
Gordon orders the Seafood Crepe, the Filet Mignon Fondue and the Clam Chowder.
As soon as Gordon sees the Seafood Crepe he is not happy with the fact that it is filled with imitation crab meat.
Gordon gets into a dilemma as he is served hot oil to cook his own meal which he considers bad for a good steak.
The only thing that Gordon likes is the chowder and goes on to say it is perfectly seasoned and is a well-balanced dish.
It’s rare for Gordon to like any of the food, so I’d consider this a win for Handlebar!
After the meal, he sits down to talk with Billy and tells him how he really feels about the food.
Billy is fascinated by this as he feels his food is good enough and states that no customer has ever complained.
Gordon then inspects the kitchen to find it in a filthy state, which Billy claims is not how it usually is kept.
Billy and Gordon argue a lot and at one point, Billy storms out and calls his wife to tell her that they might sell the restaurant.
Gordon then adds a new special to the next dinner which Melissa finds difficult to make.
The customers are made to wait a long time for their food which makes them annoyed.
Gordon then decides that everything needs to be changed.
He decides to make the restaurant into a Gastropub which might make it the only one in Long Island.
In fact, Gordon calls it Long Island’s “first ever Gastropub”.
He also somehow manages to get Dee Snyder to come for the opening, who rides into the pub in a bike which is then auctioned with its proceeds going to charity.
Dee Snyder was the lead singer of the band Twisted Sister and born in Astoria Queens.
Even though there were a few difficulties, Gordon is pleased with the reopening and the changes made that have been made to the restaurant.
So was the Kitchen Nightmares Handlebar episode a success?
Keep reading our update to learn what happened to the Long Island restaurant and if it’s still open in 2024 and beyond.
Handlebar Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the Handlebar episode, let’s talk about what happened to the restaurant after Gordon Ramsay and his crew left Long Island, NY.
Things seemed to start off well, as it was doing well enough to have Gordon come back again.
Gordon revisited the Handlebar Restaurant in Season 3, Episode 13.
He is pleased with the restaurant and how it’s done since he made the changes.
The back of the restaurant is much cleaner and Gordon enjoys the dish that he orders.
When did Gordon Ramsay re-visit Handlebar?
Gordon Ramsay re-visited the Handlebar Restaurant as part of Kitchen Nightmares Revisited #3.
This episode aired on May 21, 2010 and was episode 13 of Season 3.
In the revisit episode, Gordon Ramsay talks with Billy and some of the other staff.
Carolyn says that Billy is still very stubborn, but better than he was before.
She calls him a “10” on a scale of 1-10, whereas before he was an 11 haha.
Billy also says that he’s more confident than he was before.
Melissa is also still in the kitchen and working as the chef.
Gordon also talks with Melissa and she seems to be much happier cooking and interested in keeping it up.
In addition to that, Gordon checks the walk-in fridge at Handlebar and calls it “immaculate”. He says the difference is “night and day” from before.
Gordon even says he would eat his lunch off the floor!
Overall, everyone just seems happier than they were during the episode.
If you want to watch the Handlebar Gordon Ramsay revisit, you can see it in the YouTube video below – it starts around the 12:15 mark in the video:
Is the Handlebar still open after Kitchen Nightmares?
Handlebar closed in 2009, just a little bit after the second visit from Gordon Ramsay and Kitchen Nightmares and a year after the original episode aired on TV.
Unfortunately, this means that it wasn’t able to achieve long-term success.
After the Handlebar closed, the old location was sold and re-opened as a new concept named Skybox Restaurant and Sports Bar.
However, that concept also closed not too long after and another new concept was put in – Bench Warmer’s Tavern and Grill.
As of 2023, the old Handlebar Long Island location seems to still be doing business as Bench Warmer’s Tavern.
You can learn more about the new restaurant/bar at the official Bench Warmer’s Tavern website.
Customers seem to generally like the new concept, as it has a solid 4.3-star rating on Google.
Here’s what the old Handlebar Mount Sinai location looks like in the most recent picture from Google Maps street view:
Why did the Handlebar Restaurant close?
Unfortunately, I can’t find any specific information about why the Handlebar restaurant closed.
Since Billy was already thinking about selling the restaurant during the show, I’m guessing he was already pretty much near the end when it came to running things.
Given that, it doesn’t surprise me that he sold the Handlebar restaurant.
What happened to Billy from Handlebar after Kitchen Nihgtmares?
Unfortunately, there’s very sad news about Billy, the Handlebar owner from the episode.
Sadly, Billy, full name William LeRoy, passed away from cancer in 2015.
You can see his condolences page here.
RIP Billy – cancer sucks.
Final thoughts on the Handlebar restaurant Kitchen Nightmares episode
After Gordon’s original Handlebar restaurant visit, the restaurant seemed to be doing better.
In fact, Gordon Ramsay actually came back and visited Handlebar again as part of Season 3.
Unfortunately, Handlebar restaurant closed in 2009, shortly after the second visit and around a year after Gordon’s first visit.
As of 2023, the old Handlebar restaurant Long Island location is occupied by a new restaurant named Bench Warmer’s Tavern.
Sadly, Billy passed away from cancer in 2015, which was around six years after the episode aired on TV.
If you want to see some other Long Island Kitchen Nightmares episodes, you can check out my updates for The Mixing Bowl in Bellmore NY, Peter’s Italian Restaurant in Babylon NY, Seascape Inn in Islip NY, and Finn McCool’s in Westhampton Beach NY.
Sadly, all of the original Long Island restaurants from Kitchen Nightmares have closed as of 2024.
However, Gordon did visit some new Long Island restaurants as part of Season 8 (the 2023 reboot), and one of those is still open.
If you’re interested in seeing the update for that episode, you can read my post about Diwan Indian restaurant in Port Washington.
And if you want to share your thoughts on anything about the Handlebar episode, you can do so in the comments section below.
As always – thanks for reading!
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Last updated: 2023-12-15 08:06