(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 1 | View All Season 1 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: November 21, 2007
Lela's Address: 296 W 2nd St Pomona, CA 91766
Lela’s was a Pomona, California restaurant featured on the very first season of the US version of Kitchen Nightmares.
Though the Lela’s Kitchen Nightmares episode aired in November 2007, the actual filming and visit from Gordon Ramsay took place much earlier in February 2007.
It was Kitchen Nightmares Season 1 Episode 8.
In this episode of Kitchen Nightmares, Gordon Ramsay heads to Lela’s Restaurant to try to save it from extinction.
Located in Pomona, California, and owned by Lela Guillen (hence the name).
Lela’s was only open for eight months before the owner called Gordon Ramsay for help.
Lela’s is now days away from closure even though the owner has invested her life savings and cashed in her retirement funds to start Lela’s.
She’s also had to go into debt, borrowing $60,000 from her sister in addition to other money.
It’s a tough situation and Lela is counting on Gordon Ramsay having the knowledge to turn her business around and save her financial situation.
Chef Ricky and the server, Tabitha, constantly argue in front of customers.
When Gordon arrives, he notices the surrounding area is quiet as well as the restaurant.
When Gordon goes to order food, Tabitha informs Gordon they are out of the shrimp and the salmon.
Gordon orders the tomato and basil soup, rack of lamb with a mint chocolate sauce, and nachos.
The soup tastes as if it came from a can, and the nachos are stale. The rack of lamb barely has any meat on it.
Gordon finds that nothing is made fresh in the restaurant except for brownies.
Unfortunately, Lela’s is also out of brownies. What a surprise, right?!?
How can you expect to run a successful restaurant if you’re always sold out of the food that people want to order?
Gordon inspects the kitchen and realizes the walk-in fridge isn’t cold.
Everything is going bad because the refrigerator is too hot to keep any food fresh.
What’s more, it’s dirty and badly in need of a clean, which Gordon assigns the staff to do.
As the staff cleans the restaurant, Gordon travels into the city to see how locals feel about the restaurant.
He finds out no one eats at Lela’s because they find the local Mexican places more affordable.
Gordon returns and is very pleased with the kitchen’s cleanliness.
There is a theater performance nearby, so the dinner service is crowded.
Dinner ends up being a disaster as the kitchen runs out of items. Do you notice a theme here?
Gordon also discovers that Lela’s uses powdered mashed potatoes instead of fresh.
Why would you go to a restaurant for powdered mashed potatoes? Might as well do that at home!
One of the staff members leaves early, and Gordon chases him down.
He returns with a bag of food and wine he has taken from the restaurant.
Gordon suggests to Lela that her staff may be stealing from her, which would explain part of the restaurant’s money problems.
Gordon tells the head chef, you cannot be a chef if you use instant mashed potatoes. I gotta be honest – I definitely agree with Gordon here.
Gordon confronts the team and lets them know they cannot be taking anything without permission.
Lela is also forced to fire the staff member who was stealing from her.
Gordon sets up a taste test with different cuts of meat and asks Chef Ricky and Chef Lex to tell them apart.
Ricky fails miserably, but Lex does okay, which gives the restaurant some hope of surviving.
Gordon suggests switching places on the line for that night’s dinner service.
While Gordon reveals the new menu to the staff; he sends Lela off for a spa day.
Gordon says the neighborhood lacks a great burger, so he introduces Lela’s Famous Burger.
The menu also featured the Pomona Salad. That day Lela’s holds a promotion by selling their burgers out of a food truck.
Gordon asks Tabitha to manage and Lex to cook.
Local artists and even the mayor arrive for the relaunch.
Lex has a meltdown as he gets too overwhelmed.
He begins sending food out randomly and cold.
Ricky steps up, and meals starts to go out.
The mayor deems the Pomona Salad the official meal of Pomona.
Gordon admits Ricky proved him wrong.
Ricky and Tabitha excel in their new roles.
So was the Kitchen Nightmares Lelas episode a long-term success? Keep reading to learn what happened next and if it’s still open in 2024.
Lela's Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the Lela’s Kitchen Nightmares episode, let’s talk about how the restaurant fared after the visit from Gordon Ramsay.
Spoiler alert – it didn’t do well.
Is Lela’s still open?
Lela’s closed soon after the Kitchen Nightmares episode aired, so this was not a successful rescue from Gordon Ramsay.
The old Lela’s Pomona CA location is now occupied by a restaurant called Pizza Beer and Wings.
The Yelp reviews for the new restaurant are average, with just a 3.5 star rating.
Here’s what the old Lelas Pomona CA looks like in the most recent picture from Google Maps street view:
Why did Lela’s restaurant close?
The debt burden of Lela’s restaurant was just too high by the time Gordon got there.
The restaurant was already days from closing before Gordon did any work so it was pretty much always destined for failure.
Gordon Ramsay is an experience chef and restaurant owner, but he’s not a miracle worker…and Lela’s definitely needed a miracle.
Lelas Restaurant reviews after Kitchen Nightmares
Because Lela’s Restaurant closed so soon after the Kitchen Nightmares episode aired on TV, there aren’t a lot of reviews that were written after the Lela’s Gordon Ramsay visit.
Lela’s had only three reviews on its Yelp page, with only one of them being legitimate.
Here’s the one legitimate review – a 3 star Yelp review from April 2007 (two months after Gordon’s visit):
This place could be pretty damn cool if management realized how to better utilize the space.
The decor is nice and I really liked the paintings on the wall.
But the lighting was too stark and the lack of furniture made the space seem sterile, slightly unwelcoming.
Some music is also much needed.
Beer and wine only, and the food is just whatever.
This place has the potential to be a great place to hang out before a show at the Glass House.
Got the sense that it’s pretty new so maybe it’s just a matter of working out some kinks.
What happened to Chef Ricky from Lela’s?
After the Lela’s Kitchen Nightmares episode, Chef Ricky Brewer went on to become the executive chef at a place called The Corner Butcher Shop in La Verne, California.
You can read an article about him in La Verne Online.
Final thoughts on the Lela’s Kitchen Nightmares episode
Overall, Lela’s restaurant was in dire straights before Gordon Ramsay walked through the door, so it’s no surprise that it closed so soon after the episode.
Currently, the old Lelas Pomona CA location is occupied by a new restaurant named Pizza, Beer, and Wings, which seems to be doing well.
If you want to see some other nearby Kitchen Nightmares California episodes, you can check out my updates for Charlie’s Italian Bistro in La Verne, Sam’s Mediterranean Kabob Room in Monrovia, and Kingston Cafe in Pasadena.
Thanks for reading!
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Last updated: 2022-12-03 06:36