Sam’s Mediterranean Kabob Room Kitchen Nightmares Update – Still Open in 2024?

Is Sam's Mediterranean Kabob Room still open?

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

Season: 6 | View All Season 6 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: February 15, 2013
Sam's Mediterranean Kabob Room Address: 608-610 S Myrtle Ave Monrovia, CA 91016
Sam's Mediterranean Kabob Room Kitchen Nightmares Update

Episode Recap

Sam’s Mediterranean Kabob Room, or Sam’s Kabob Room for short, was a Monrovia, California restaurant featured on season 6 of Kitchen Nightmares.

Though the Kitchen Nightmares Sam’s Mediterranean Kabob Room episode aired in February 2013, the actual visit from Gordon Ramsay happened earlier in July 2012.

It was Kitchen Nightmares Season 6 Episode 8.

In this episode of Kitchen Nightmares, Chef Gordon Ramsay takes us to Sam’s Mediterranean Kabob Room in Monrovia California.

If you’re not familiar with California geography, Monrovia is part of the greater Los Angeles area.

Sam Najjar Sam's Kabob Room owner

Sam’s Kabob Room is owned by owned by Sam Najarr and his family.

Sam, a former busboy of the restaurant, purchased the business all the way back in 1997.

This means he’s owned it for well over a decade at the time of the Kitchen Nightmares Kabob Room episode.

At first, business was booming, but slowly over time it came to a halt, resulting in Sam having to let his entire staff go.

Now the only employees of the restaurant are family members and Sam’s children.

They are, deservedly, resentful and reluctant to work there due to having to work 12 hour shifts and receiving no compensation for their work.

It’s so messed up!

This video recaps what was happening with Sam’s children including his daughters and sons:

Gordon quickly learns that the restaurant’s environment is hostile.

Sam and his family, including his children, argue with each other in front of customers trying to dine.

Gordon sits down and talks to Sam about paying his family and children for working there.

However, Sam rejects Gordon’s suggestion, stating that he pays them by giving them a place to live.

That’s one perspective, I guess…

Gordon then sits down and tries the food at Sam’s Kabob Room.

Gordon orders the Vegetable Combo, Lamb Shank, Gyro, and Top Sirloin Steak and Shrimp cooked medium rare.

To Gordon’s disgust and dismay, the vegetable combo contains canned eggplant.

Additionally, both the falafel and hummus lack flavor due to not being seasoned.

Gordon Ramsay eating at Sam's Kabob Room

The Gyro then arrives frozen and dry, so things aren’t getting any better.

The lamb shank looks anemic and tastes like bland boiled lamb.

The steak is overcooked, solid, and dry.

Finally, the shrimp scampi is drowning in too much butter and is rubbery and overcooked.

Basically, the food ain’t great.

Gordon Ramsay shares his negative feedback to the Sam’s Kebob Room staff, to which the chef agrees and admits that his heart is no longer in the restaurant.

Gordon arrives the next night to observe the dinner rush.

He also investigates the back of house area and finds moldy food in the kitchen and rotten produce in the walk-in.

Sam's Kabob Room kitchen issues

A huge family argument breaks out in the dining area in front of customers after the kitchen tried to serve raw chicken.

Apparently, because the chicken was cooked on the outside, that meant it was cooked on the inside.

Uh no…that’s not how food hygiene works.

You shouldn’t be running a restaurant if you don’t know that chicken needs to be cooked all the way through!

The next day, Gordon gives the kitchen staff cooking lessons to improve things at the restaurant.

Gordon has the kitchen cook kabobs on the skewer, only allowing one person to work the grill so they aren’t reaching over each other all night.

Gordon’s team gives the Sam’s Kabob Room restaurant one of the biggest and most expensive transformations in the show’s history.

As is always the case, Sam’s Mediterranean Kabob Room didn’t have to pay for any of the renovations.

Sam's Kabob Room new menu

Gordon’s team modernized the restaurant by adding new carpets, fresh paint, new chairs and tables.

Gordon also completely revamped the menu with new contemporary Mediterranean dishes and recipes.

On the night of relaunch, all the customers rave about the new décor and compliment the flavor of the new menu items.

The family works well together in the kitchen.

Gordon then leaves, giving the family a framed family photo as a memento.

They also have a big group hug at the end, and things seem to be looking up for everyone.

Group hug at Sam's Kabob room

So was the Sam’s Kabob Room Kitchen Nightmares episode a long-term success?

Keep reading our update to learn what happened next and if this Monrovia, California restaurant is still open in 2024 and beyond.

Sam's Mediterranean Kabob Room Update - What Happened Next?

Now that we’ve recapped the Sam’s Mediterranean Kabob Room Kitchen Nightmares episode, let’s talk about what happened to the restaurant after Gordon Ramsay and his crew left Monrovia, CA.

After the episode aired, things seemed to be good for the business.

The Yelp reviews were a bit hit and miss still.

The business only had an overall three star review, but there were plenty of five star reviews sprinkled in there (along with one star reviews, of course).

The TripAdvisor reviews were also much better.

I’ll share some real examples of Sam’s Kabob House reviews below.

However, it would not last forever.

Is Sam’s Kabob Room still open?

Sam’s Mediterranean Kabob Room closed in January 2014.

This means it survived for a little under a year after the Sam’s Kabob Room Kitchen Nightmares episode aired on TV and almost 1.5 years after the actual visit from Gordon Ramsay.

I’ll talk about why the restaurant closed below.

As of 2023, the old Sam’s Mediterranean Kabob Room Monrovia CA location is occupied by a new restaurant named Copper Still Grill.

Reviews for the new restaurant seem good as it has a 4 star rating on its Yelp page.

Here’s what the old Sam’s Kabob Room Monrovia CA location looks like in the most recent picture from Google Maps street view:

Why did Sam’s Kabob Room close?

Sam told the media that appearing on Kitchen Nightmares actually wasn’t a good thing for the restaurant.

He seemed that the show initially brought a bunch of business for around two weeks after the Sam’s Kebob Room Kitchen Nightmares episode aired.

However, the restaurant didn’t gain any significant amount of long-term business from that burst.

Here’s a quote from Sam about how the restaurant did after the show:

It didn’t work.

We didn’t do any better than before.

Beyond that, Sam also said that there was a lot of competition from other restaurants in the area, including some new Mediterranean restaurants opening nearby.

These are the reasons why Sam’s Kabob Room had to close in 2014.

Sam’s Mediterranean Kabob Room reviews after Kitchen Nightmares

At the time that Sam’s Mediterranean Kabob Room closed, the restaurant had an overall 3 star rating on 104 Yelp reviews.

That includes reviews from both before and after the Sam’s Kabob Room Gordon Ramsay visit.

I can’t see any meaningful difference in terms of reviews from after the visit, so it seems like Gordon’s changes didn’t really stick.

This probably isn’t surprising given that the restaurant closed.

Here’s a quick sampling of a few Sam’s Kabob Room Yelp reviews so you can get an idea of the experiences from real customers.

3 star Yelp review from May 2013:

So I love the show Kitchen Nightmares and had to come visit this restaurant since it was featured on there.

I was pleasantly surprised when a side salad was delivered to my table. It comes included with the meal.

The salad wasn’t bad at all. It had just the right amount of dressing and it held me over until my meal came out.

I had the chicken kabob, rice, pita bread and hummus. This was my second time in my life having hummus, the first time I had it from somewhere else and I spit it out thinking it was mashed potatoes.

I’m happy to say I ate it all this time around, but it really is an acquired taste for me. The pita bread was great and so was the rice with a bit of salt and pepper I added.

The chicken kabob was the highlight. It was cooked properly and I really enjoyed it.

This restaurant is far removed from the place it once was before Gordon Ramsey visited it.

I would be willing to try this place again and try the gyros or another type of kabob.

Plus it’s located in a great area to walk around and explore.

5 star Yelp review from March 2013:

I’ve lived in the area for decades and yet never tried this place until I saw it on Chef’s Ramsey’s show.

The place was empty at Sunday lunch time, but got more foot traffic as we finished.

Ordered the kabob combos (chicken and beef) with hummus, couscous, and pita bread.

The chicken was flavorful and the beef was nice and juicy.

LOVED rolling the meat with veggies and hummus into the pita.

It was nice to eat in an environment where we can actually hear each other’s conversation, unlike so many restaurants these days where the TV and/or music is SO loud! I wonder if they cater….?

We will definitely be back! Great job guys! KEEP SMILING SAM!!!

1 star Yelp review from April 2013:

Sam's Kabob Room review

1 star Yelp review from April 2013:

Sam's Kabob Room review negative

What happened to the daughter from Sam’s Mediterranean Kabob Room?

A lot of people are wondering what happened to the Sam’s Mediterranean Kabob Room daughter after the episode.

There were actually two daughters.

Leina Najjar, who was in the episode, seems to be doing very well.

After working as the Operations Manager at another restaurant for a few years, she’s now an Operations Manager at Amazon (and was recently promoted to Site Lead).

You can see what she’s been up to on her LinkedIn page.

Congratulations to Leina – I wish her the best!

However, I’m not sure what happened to Randah Najjar, the other daughter from the episode.

Randah Najjar

Hopefully she’s doing well!

If you know anything, please let me know in the comments section below.

What happened to the Sam’s Kabob Room sons?

I’m not sure what happened to all of Sam’s sons from the episode.

However, it does seem like Jamal Najjar joined the US Navy and is now living in Virginia.

I’m not sure what Emad Najjar is up to as his Facebook page doesn’t list an occupation.

Emad Najjar

I hope they’re all doing well!

Again, if you know anything, please let me know in the comments section below.

Final thoughts on Sam’s Mediterranean Kabob Room

Things seemed to start off ok for Sam’s Mediterranean Kabob Room, as it got a big boost in business for a few weeks after the Kitchen Nightmares episode aired on TV.

Sadly, the increase in business didn’t last and the restaurant had to close around a year later.

Sam was also dealing with increased competition in the area, which put the squeeze on the restaurant.

As of 2023, the old Sam’s Mediterranean Kabob Room Monrovia CA location is occupied by a new restaurant named Copper Still Grill.

Sam’s sons and daughters seem to be doing well for themselves based on what I can tell.

Leina Najjar is working as an Operations Manager at Amazon.

Jamal Najjar joined the US Navy.

I’m not sure what happened to Emad or Rhanda, but I hope they’re doing well.

If you want to see updates for other nearby restaurants in California, you can check out the updates for Kingston Cafe in Pasadena, Capri in Los Angeles proper, and Charlie’s Italian Bistro in La Verne.

And if you want to share your thoughts on the Sam’s Kabob Room Kitchen Nightmares episode, you can do so using the comments section below.

Thanks for reading!

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Last updated: 2023-08-06 05:46

23 thoughts on “Sam’s Mediterranean Kabob Room Kitchen Nightmares Update – Still Open in 2024?”

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

  1. This was a classic case of the Father wishing to run and own a restaurant, while his adult kids literally pay the price. I do not mean that in any way disrespectfully!.

    It was so obvious from the moment the cameras arrived, that the kids were literally doing their best to run the business into the ground as quickly as possible.
    Not through spite and perhaps not even realising what they were doing, but nevertheless they felt their only option was to Get It Over with! .

    One of the male kids, Jamal, would have very likely been stabbed in the back, Literally !, By either one of his Brothers or even one of the Sisters for that matter, If Gordon had not arrived when he did.

    In this industry, under normal circumstances, where things are going extremely well, I have witnessed such attacks taking place.
    Otherwise very ordinary, good natured, genuinely nice people reach their limit and just can’t take anymore, and against all norms, they freak out and attack a fellow worker, something that they would never even contemplate in any other circumstances.

    That can be the level of pressure which can build up within someone and unless the owner/s or Manager /s have the facility, financial means or contacts to reach out for professional help, the end result can be life altering for both the aggressor and the victim alike.

    I genuinely believe that even Gordon in his heart, knew that despite all his efforts and absolute kindness and I might include his genuine desire to help, he knew the chances of Sam’s staying open long term, was very slim.

  2. A terrible pity, this restaurant closed, lovelly family very hard working dad the public really should have supported there aspirations, perhas what was needed was additional after show temporary marketing and management support.

  3. Having your kids just so they can work in a restaurant and not actually fulfill their own dreams? I think someone’s power got just slightly to their head. Hope sons and daughters are doing well (even jamal, I know) and Sam, smh.

  4. Such a shame – a nice family beneath all the turmoil and acrimony – even though Chef Ramsay turned their attitudes around there was no way all the problems could be overcome with just 1 day of training. I agree with commenter Sheldon, they needed more support after Gordon left to solidify the culinary side and overcome their negative reputation in the community. I sincerely hope everyone in the family is doing OK and that Sam and his wife were able to overcome the huge burden of debt they had accumulated.

  5. When Sam admits to having kids for the sole purpose of turning them into unpaid slaves to his restaurant is a pity! And to even admit that their “pay” is the roof over their heads… that’s Sam’s job to provide.

    He’s a big controlling cheapskate, and the closure of this business is well deserved. Kids are not slaves.

    You have to wonder why Child Protective Services never got involved in their past.

    • And you can tell that they aren’t well raised or well adjusted. It’s an extremely outdated way to live and such a selfish viewpoint.

      Bringing children into the world just to cater to you, not paying them for their labor, and then saying “at least I provide you with a roof over your head, you’re welcome.” Your kids are not free labor.

      I hope that since they’ve gotten away from this they’ve matured and grown as humans, since unfortunately having a narcissistic and controlling parent can arrest your development.

  6. Jamal was a nasty piece of work, the rest of the family seemed to want the best for each other even if they were going about it the wrong way.

  7. Typical Mediterranean and Eastern European male mentality. You own your children and they are there to work for you for life. Sorry your restaurant closed. But using your children to make your ends meet while crushing their hopes and dreams for your ego satisfaction is just wrong and abuse. Free slave labor is wrong. Hire and pay REAL workers to do the job.

  8. You can dress up a restaurant all you like but if the employees are still working 84 hours a week without being paid they’re still not going to give a shit. That needed to be addressed. In another episode Gordon hired a chef for a struggling restaurant for 6 months, after which, once business picked up, the owners would pay the chef themselves. I thought a similar idea may have worked here. Instead of spending so much on the reno, fix the place up on the cheap and spend the big bucks on wages for either Sam’s kids or other staff, at least until Sam’s able to afford to pay them himself.

  9. Sometimes, parents have to hit realization. And let your children Fly.
    These poor kids never aspired to be in the restaurant business.
    They were there out of loyalty. But even loyalty has its limits.
    It’s probably best that it closed.
    But good luck to everyone.

  10. They should have leaned into the undercooked chicken idea by serving it completely raw and calling it a new form of sushi. That would have appealed to trendy Los Angelenos.

  11. According to Sam, it was his family tradition to use his children as free workers, and to keep them from moving forward with their lives, to prohibit them from going to college, from having paying jobs, from having good lives, girlfriends, boyfriends, and enjoying their youth. What a great father.

  12. There are so many horrible things I could say about the dad, but I would be writing a whole ass novel. So I’ll try to keep it short.

    First of all, I don’t give a shit how poor you are. You do NOT ever under pay your staff, much less not pay them at all! That’s not fair to anyone involved.

    Second of all, as if it wasn’t obvious enough it should still be pointed out anyway: CHILD FUCKING LABOR! Not legal in the United States by any means. Sam should know better. No wonder the kids are agitated and arguing every five minutes!

    But it’s not just Sam alone. The mom doesn’t seem to be very involved in the family or the restaurant. Not a very sympathetic person as she just told one of her daughters to ‘just calm down’ while she was having a breakdown. Very fucking supportive, mommy dearest. Go fuck yourself! 🖕

    As much as I do feel for the children (well, young adults), they also didn’t even try to escape the restaurant. All they had to do was apply for other jobs elsewhere and work there way up to a decent budget so they can move out and live their lives. The reason for that is beyond me. But who the hell wants to fight with their siblings and be imprisoned by their own parents?! I know I wouldn’t.

    Good lord!!

  13. A manipulative father. I didn’t feel sorry for him at all as he cried while his children tried to tell him how working there 7 days a week without pay for years was breaking their spirits. He was crying for himself, not for them. I’m glad the restaurant closed, but those kids will never get their teenage years back.

  14. Just watched this episode and to me a lot of it felt performative, like the family was angling for a Jersey Shore type reality show. That actually could have been an interesting KN spinoff – focus a whole series on the family business and the effort to turn it around while the kids don’t really want to be there but want to support their dad. The Gordon Ramsey visit would have just been the first part of it. A lot of the Kitchen Nightmares have so much story going on it would be interesting to see things play out over more episodes.


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