J Willy’s Barbeque House Update – Kitchen Nightmares – Open or Closed?

Is J Willy’s Barbeque House still open?

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

Season: 2 | View All Season 2 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: October 30, 2008
J Willy’s Barbeque House Address: 52885 SR 933 N South Bend, Indiana 46637

Episode Recap

J Willy’s Barbeque House was a South Bend, Indiana restaurant featured on season 2 of Kitchen Nightmares.

In the Kitchen Nightmares episode,  J Willy’s is a Grille and Bar that is in massive debt – $1.2 million to be exact. I’m not sure how you can dig yourself out of that hole, but Gordon Ramsay is obligated to try!

The owners contacted Chef Gordon Ramsay to save them by giving them a new start on things which might help elevate the reputation of their place.

In this episode, Gordon Ramsay visited J Willy’s restaurant in South Bend, Indiana.

The place is owned by John and  husband and wife pair, Rick and Tricia.

The couple lives three hours away from the place which is why John usually handles everything in their absence.

When you have a situation like this, crisis tend to happen a lot (hence Gordon’s visit).

With declining productivity and fewer customers, the place is drowning in $1.2 million of debt and is being pressured to shut down.

Gordon reaches the place, orders pizza and sits with John to have a talk. Additionally, you should know that the pizza comes along with a pork sandwich covered in cheese and a ranch dressing.

The barbecue sauce came in a large plastic container and the food is canned and frozen.

After seeing this, Gordon stepped into the kitchen and found there was no head chef and every staff member of the kitchen believed they were cooks.

They were reheating food to save it from going to waste and it wasn’t a surprise for Gordon to see that the kitchen was a atrociously dirty.

He immediately asked all the staff to clean the kitchen before going any further with the rescue.

Gordon brought in fresh vegetables and ingredients the next day and taught the staff a new recipe of burger made from all fresh ingredients.

This burger recipe was supposed to be an evening menu.

With the right ingredients used you can pretty much slay anything. Gordon’s team did a makeover over the night and brought some major changes in the kitchen.

He asked them to produce and sell their own barbecue sauce.

The menu was shortened to make sure the kitchen focuses on the meal and uses fresh ingredients.

Overall, it was good for a fresh start.

J Willy’s Barbeque House Update - What Happened Next?

While the initial restart went well, things quickly went downhill.

After a few weeks, they kept of following the changes that Gordon brought to their place and won a competition for the best signature barbecue sauce.

But despite all these changes and improvements, the restaurant closed on 4th February 2009.

Why did J Willy’s close?

The owner revealed in a note that the prices of the food went too high and there were fewer customers to visit the place.

In addition, the owner did not want to provide low quality food to the customers and didn’t want to close the place down either. He had the option to either close down the place or sell low quality food. He refused to sell low quality food to the people and decided to close it.

Apart from this, Rick and Tricia also shut down their other restaurant, Damon’s Grill, due to bad reviews.

What happened to the J Willy’s owners?

Per the latest news that we were able to find, Rick is now busy working selling, finding and restoring classic cars.

We’re not sure what Tricia or John are up to – if you know anything, let us know in the comments section.

More Information


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Last updated: 2021-11-27 06:12

7 thoughts on “J Willy’s Barbeque House Update – Kitchen Nightmares – Open or Closed?”

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

  1. I thought it was a good episode. What made these people think they could run a restaurant. It was obvious they didn’t know the first thing about it . The Rick guy was quite a piece of work, like in la la land. I can see why Chef Ramsey gets bleeped all the time(and thank God he does).

  2. I think most of the people who are running restaurants I picked the wrong line of business. There is no easy way to run a business and make a profit if you don’t do things the right way. It’s not an easy business to get into but I think a lot of people believe that it is. It’s a shame that Chef Ramsay spent so much time and energy and effort in trying to help most of these restaurant tours to save a business that was unsalvageable. It’s just the way it is.

  3. I’ve roughly an hour and a half from south bend, and would’ve LOVED to have tried this place! my mom and I are always looking for appetizer-y restaurants with things like wings and potato skins being our main order. this really sucks! the food looked great after Gordon got done with it!

  4. It was obvious that this business was wrecking the owners lives, they did the right thing to close it, life if too short to miss following your dreams, but be cautious what you dream for, it might just be the opposite of what you want.

  5. The problem with this restaurant was simple. The owners got confused because barbecue sauce is a liquid. They put it on the drinks menu and forgot to use it on meat. That strategy did not go too well.


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