(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 4 | View All Season 4 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: April 15, 2011
Kingston Cafe Address: 333 S Fair Oaks Ave Pasadena, California 91105
Kingston Cafe was a Pasadena, California restaurant featured on Season 4 of Kitchen Nightmares.
Though the Kingston Cafe Kitchen Nightmares episode aired on TV in April 2011, the actual visit from Gordon Ramsay happened at the beginning of 2011.
It was Kitchen Nightmares Season 4 Episode 10.
This episode of Kitchen Nightmares moves around a Jamaican restaurant, Kingston Café in Pasadena, California.
The owner, Dr. Una Morris runs it with an iron fist.
A radiologist and former Olympian, she barely listens to anyone’s opinion.
Not even to her own son, Keone Chong, who is the manager of the café.
Keone personally meets chef Gordon Ramsay and tells him about the situation.
When Chef Gordon Ramsay decides to visit this café, he finds its entrance rather dull and unattractive.
In fact, it looks like something any person would mistake for a house.
After meeting Una Morris and Keone, Gordon Ramsay sits down to try the food at Kingston Cafe.
He tries out a few dishes like Jamaican patties, Jerk Chicken and finds them equally gross.
On trying to work with them, he realizes that the chief problem is with Dr. Morris managing every single detail of the restaurant.
The menu is decided by her, the head chef has no say in it.
The ambiance, the look is way too formal, just like an office block.
The servers, too are in formal shirts and ties!
But another major issue was that they weren’t serving fresh food.
Ramsay tries to make Dr. Morris see sense, but she wouldn’t listen.
Ramsay realizes that the only way the restaurant could work would be to revamp it.
He personally confronts Dr. Morris and soon understands that she has a lot of burden on her shoulders.
She’s in huge debt, the restaurant would barely run one more month and she’s fast running out of money.
After much hesitation, she agrees to take his help.
The first step which Ramsay took was to introduce a fresh barbecue in the patio.
This was much loved by the customers. But it wasn’t the same inside.
The indoor restaurant continued to run as clumsily as before.
The food was dry and cold.
Keone was told to get much more responsible with his work.
Ramsay finally decided to do away with all the packaged foods.
He brought out all the stored and frozen food and threw them away.
The restaurant now needed to provide only fresh and authentic Jamaican food.
Now it was time to totally redo the food joint.
Thanks to Gordon and his crew’s magic, Kingston Cafe got a brand new look and aesthetic.
The formal tablecloths were all gone and instead replaced by casual and trendy table mats.
They got some new china sets.
Every table now had a special bottle of jerk sauce.
The dress code of the servers was changed too.
Ramsay brought in new t-shirts for all the servers to create a more casual feel.
But most importantly, new fresh Jamaican dishes were introduced in the menu with inputs from Ramsay.
Finally, Ramsay brought a huge signboard for the restaurant to make it much more visible to passers-by.
So was the Kitchen Nightmares Kingston Cafe visit a long-term success? Keep reading to learn what happened next and if this Pasadena, CA restaurant is still open in 2024.
Kingston Cafe Update - What Happened Next?
When I originally wrote our Kingston Cafe Kitchen Nightmares update in 2017, the restaurant was still open and doing well.
Una had hired a new team of servers and some new staff.
With an extended bar, a new dance floor and some new and fresh authentic Jamaican delicacies, the restaurant was now running well.
Keone had left the business to focus on his education and the business was still run by his mother.
Kingston Cafe had a bustling Yelp page.
And while the reviews weren’t amazing (it only had a mediocre 3-star rating), the restaurant seemed popular and like it got tons of traffic.
I’ll share some examples of Kingston Cafe reviews below.
Is Kingston Cafe still open after Kitchen Nightmares?
While Kingston Cafe survived for around seven years, it closed the restaurant for good for good in 2018.
As of 2023, the old Kingston Cafe Pasadena CA location still has the Kingston Cafe signage.
However, the most prominent signage is for the Women’s Diagnostic Imaging Center.
This was there during the Kingston Cafe Kitchen Nightmares episode and it seems like Dr. Una Morris is still running the center as of 2023 even though Kingston Cafe closed.
Why did Kingston Cafe close?
When it closed, Kingston Cafe posted a message saying that it will now provide catering and event services only.
People can still hire Kingston Cafe for weddings, birthdays, graduations, and so on.
So, it seems like the Kingston Cafe owners just wanted to get away from offering in-person service and are still happy to keep cooking.
Kingston Cafe reviews after Kitchen Nightmares
At the time that Kingston Cafe closed, it had an overall 3 star rating on 241 Yelp reviews, which includes reviews from both before and after Gordon’s visit.
Here’s a sampling of a few Kingston Cafe reviews that were written after the visit from Gordon Ramsay…
4 star Yelp review from November 2014:
Took the hubby here for his birthday in July without even knowing the history of this place (Kitchen Nightmares) until my sis told me.
Well, the food was really good and the service was surprisingly fast too.
We were prepared to wait a while simply because it’s sort of what you expect at a Caribbean place, but our food was served within 15 minutes or so.
Our only observation was that the portions were somewhat small.
It was just enough food to kill our hunger, but not really enough to take home for later. So we ended up eating again at the movie theater.
I eventually watched the episode of Kitchen Nightmares on youtube and see that the Owner didn’t really keep many of the changes that were shown, but all in all, it’s a decent little restaurant.
4 star Yelp review from October 2011:
Went here because of “Kitchen Nightmares.” There, I said it, I admit it.
When I mentioned to the guy that I heard of the restaurant from tv, he kind of rolled his eyes.
Hey! It’s good publicity. Anyway, I go to a Kitchen Nightmares restaurant because I want to cheer them on, and see how they’ve improved, not look down on them.
Anyway, the place is deceptively huge. From the street, it looks like a little hole-in-the-wall, but it goes back, back, back… And there seem to be strange divisions of sections. It’s hard to describe.
Since they were just opening up, host sat me at the bar. He mentioned the specials, and my ears perked up: curry goat! I also got the side of plantain.
Quality was very good, although I would’ve liked just a little more seasoning/flavor with my rice and beans. The curry goat itself, no problem there.
The plantains were done well (I’m part Puerto Rican — I know how a plantain should be cooked), and they were nice, although the portions here were tiny. It’s plantain — be a little more generous.
Would stop here again if I were in the neighborhood.
2 star Yelp review from May 2012:
We learned about this place watching “Kitchen Nightmares”.
My husband and I decided to try this place out.
We went during lunch and thinking it might be packed because of the lunch hour well we were the only ones in the restaurant.
After looking at the prices we knew why.
There was no lunch special and the prices were a little steep.
I ordered the fish sandwich which was good and my husband got a jerky burger which was somewhat dry. The fries were really good and paying $7 for a red strip just killed it.
The only way I will return if they have lunch specials.
Finally, here’s a picture of a very lengthy 4 star review from just a few months after the Kingston Cafe Gordon Ramsay visit:
Was there a Kingston Cafe shooting?
In 2016, a man was shot in the leg outside Kingston Cafe on an early Saturday morning.
However, I don’t believe the shooting had anything to do with the Kingston Cafe Pasadena CA location.
There are very few details provided – the Pasadena Star-News article just said that the man was dropped off at the hospital with a gunshot wound in his leg and was released and made a full recovery.
What happened to Una Morris from Kingston Cafe?
As of 2023, Dr. Una Morris is still listed as running the Women’s Diagnostic Imaging Center at the old Kingston Cafe Pasadena property (which was also there during the episode).
The imaging center seems to still be active (it has a website) so I imagine Dr. Una Morris is running the center.
Fun fact – Una Morris also has her own Wikipedia page.
As far as I’m aware, she’s the only owner from Kitchen Nightmares to merit having her own Wikipedia page.
You can check out the Una Morris Wikipedia page here.
What happened to Keone from Kingston Cafe?
Keone Chong is Una Morris’ son and the former manager of Kingston Cafe.
As of 2021, Keone was working as a Systm Catalyst at a company called The Systm.
Currently, he seems to be working as the founder of something called The NFT Lab.
He previously had jobs in branding and design.
You can learn more on his LinkedIn page.
Final thoughts on Kingston Cafe
Overall, the Kingston Cafe Kitchen Nightmare episode seemed to be pretty successful as the restaurant survived for around seven years after the visit from Gordon Ramsay.
Since then, Dr. Una Morris seems to still be running the Women’s Diagnostic Imaging Center that was located at the Kingston Cafe Pasadena CA property during the episode.
Keone has had a number of jobs in the branding and design space.
If you want to see some other nearby California Kitchen Nightmares episodes, you can also check out my updates for The Capri in Eagle Rock Los Angeles, Sam’s Mediterranean Kabob Room in Monrovia, and Sebastian’s in Toluca Lake.
Thanks for reading!
I also created a video version of my Kingston Cafe update if you prefer that format…
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Last updated: 2023-02-11 04:58