Lela’s Kitchen Nightmares Update – Pomona – Still Open in 2024?

Is Lela's still open?

Current Status: >> CLOSED <<
(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 Kitchen Nightmares Update

Episode Recap

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 owner Kitchen Nightmares

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.

Tabitha Kitchen Nightmares Lela's waitress

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 Lela's Restaurant chef

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

16 thoughts on “Lela’s Kitchen Nightmares Update – Pomona – Still Open in 2024?”

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

  1. No sympathy for Lela and her greed.. Should have never owned or even worked in any restaurant..

    She and her entire staff should have been sued by the entire population of pomona for outright fraud..And food poisoning – criminal charges should have been brought on the owner and entire staff.. Shameful to treat customers that way .. No person working that fraudulent dump should never ‘work’ in any food service capacity again .. Ever ..

    Welfare or social security for persons w / disabilities – that should be their income .All of them .. . The whole lot is incapable of proper food service .. Inexcusable to call themselves a ‘restaurant’ ..

    My humble opinion as I worked food service for years.. Cleanliness and proper refrigerator temp is a must .. ‘buzzard’ is a thieving leech..He should have been arrested..Probably leeching of skid row now.. Wouldn’t hire him for anything .. Ever.. Too bad .. So many stupid heads.That should never own or work restaurants..A pathetic lot.. The bunch of them.. . .

  2. Everyoe on this episode was obnoxious/rude/clueless. The sister was an idiot if she actually sunk $60,000 into this failure. By the end, I was thinking it could possibly be a money laundering front- no food (or working walk-in), no customers and a staff that have no idea whar their jobs are. The town looked beautiful and clean, but almost completely empty. The restaurant and town both had weird vibes.

  3. By the way, the restaurant wasn’t named Lela’s Restaurant because of Lela Guillen. That was its name because it was once owned by Arthur Restaurant.

  4. I wonder if Lela Guillen is still alive? What happened to her after her retirement pension went up in smoke back in 2007??

  5. I just saw this on Pluto TV. Sadly, Ricky seems to be still working in restaurants. Whatever happened to Tabitha? She had some stones!

    • It’s amazing that Gordon Ramsay and Kitchen Nightmares have been such a success that the television show is broadcast to Pluto.

  6. Radical idea, but for this and many other restaurants, Gordon should have leaned into the business model they were using but only haphazardly. The tomato and basil soup tasted like it can from a can? Lean into it. Buy Progresso soup from a can at Trader Joe’s or Safeway or Kroger’s, heat it really well, put in some cheap but fancy looking croutons. Serve it in a fancy china bowl on a table with a white tablecloth with white cloth napkins. Do this for all the dishes. Mark up the prices five times what you paid at the supermarket. Add a few phony four or five star Yelp reviews and the restaurant will be a hit. It’d be easy to execute because the staff isn’t really cooking food, it’s heating it. The menu would be limited only by what you can buy from a store.

    • Did you even watch this episode? Lela’s was all microwaved food that Chef Azzhat found at Sam’s Club. If a customer found a Sam’s Club label in their food, they got a free dessert.

  7. Man this place was a humongous fail to begin with. Ricky was such a jackass, let’s be honest this dude was living in an illusion only a pothead would live in. Only a pothead would think Hershey’s chocolate sauce is good with tiny lamb chopsಠ⁠,⁠_⁠」⁠ಠ. The owner you could tell didn’t care anymore, she, the fights during work hours & her “cooks” were killing the restaurant. The whole place was super unprofessional, they made McDonald’s look so much better & man I’m still shocked her sister gave her 60 grand maybe even more. I understand as a sister you wanna help your siblings & be supportive but when you know your sister’s restaurant is already dead; why give so much. Idk I felt bad for the lady but she knew she had no business owning a restaurant in the first place. I actually was not surprised it closed down before Gordon published the episode so again it was bound to happen. I’m shocked that Ricky got hired somewhere else after the shit show in lela’s but I guess a second chance was needed & I hope he grew up after lela’s.

  8. I think Lex was largely set up to fail in this one. Juggling a new menu, an absolutely crowded restaurant (Often it’s said to be purposely overbooked by the producers) and as one who just wasn’t experienced in the role before he really didn’t have a chance to make it. I hope he is doing well with some years of experience on him.

    • Agreed.
      Additionally, the waiters were impatient and taking plate that were not for their table …. further exasperating the confusion.

  9. Here’s some very rare behind-the-scenes footage from the filming of the episode…


    Very different to what you do see and it shows how the staff were all laughing. You can even see Tabitha laughing at Buzzard eating the brownies that in the episode, she said she didn’t know where they had gone and how angry she was with Ricky, yet they’re getting on great here.


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