(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 5 | View All Season 5 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: March 30, 2012
Zocalo Address: 3600 Lancaster Ave Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104
Zocalo was a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania restaurant featured on Season 5 of Kitchen Nightmares.
Though the Zocalo Kitchen Nightmares episode aired in March 2012, the actual filming and visit from Gordon Ramsay took place much earlier in late 2011.
It was Kitchen Nightmares Season 5 Episode 17.
In this episode of Kitchen Nightmares, Gordon Ramsay heads to the City of Brotherly love.
Right off the bat there are obviously a lot of big problems with Zocalo, a Mexican themed restaurant in Philadelphia.
You can see the strain the restaurant has put on its family of owners.
The overworked husband, Greg Russell and disinterested wife (Mary Russell) can’t seem to agree on anything.
Their marriage is on a knife edge as a result of all the stress and it is taking a toll on their children that also work there.
Basically, the Zocalo Kitchen Nightmares episode exists for both business and personal reasons.
Despite these issues, things seem to go well at first at the Zocalo restaurant
Ramsay can’t comment enough on how fantastic the restaurant looks.
The decor is authentic and tastefully done.
This is pretty much where the good news stops for Zocalo though.
For starters, the prices are too high.
The owners’ daughter (who also works as a waitress) admits it herself that she can’t afford to eat there.
There are also way too many options, and Ramsay is left wondering how the chef can cope.
He is also shocked to find out how little time the wife spends at the restaurant.
It only gets worse once the food arrives.
Ramsay doesn’t have anything positive to say about the dishes and even says you would “get shot” for serving the food in Mexico.
Ouch! A simple “not very good” would suffice lol.
At least Greg agrees with Ramsay on the quality of the food being below par when confronted.
Soon Mary is caught lying about setting the food prices and an argument starts.
Mary ends up stomping off, unwilling to talk it over with Gordon.
Gordon returns at dinner service. He soon sees that Greg is completely out of his depth.
The kitchen backs up fast, with long waiting times for food.
Greg is not blameless, as he refuses to let his kitchen staff help with any cooking.
Making matters worse is that most appliances aren’t working and Greg needs to rely on the microwave.
Plus, they still have the huge menu to contend with.
Gordon talks to Greg, pointing out how he is taking on too much work, while his wife looks by.
The next day Gordon talks with Mary and their two children while Greg watches on a TV screen.
Ramsay tries to motivate the rest of the family to help Greg out more.
They all cry as they realize the strain Greg is under.
The family reconcile and seem ready to go on.
Ramsay then shows them the revamped kitchen.
To streamline things further, he also introduced a brand new menu and tablet ordering system.
Lastly he organized a group of culinary students to help out through in-kitchen training.
Dinner service starts much better, but communication breaks down once more between Mary in the front and Greg in the kitchen.
Gordon is forced to take Mary aside and tell her to get her act together.
The rest of dinner service runs smoothly and customers are left happy with the improved service and food.
So was the Kitchen Nightmares Zocalo episode a success? Keep reading our update to learn what happened next and if this Philadelphia PA restaurant is still open in 2023 and beyond.
Zocalo Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the Zocalo Kitchen Nightmares episode, let’s talk about what happened to the restaurant after Gordon Ramsay and his crew left Philadelphia, PA.
The weeks after Ramsay’s intervention things improved dramatically at Zocalo’s.
With the simpler menu, new ordering system and help from culinary students the quality of food and service went up and up.
With much less stress from the day to day running of the restaurant the family’s relationship also strengthened.
Greg and Mary have new hope for their marriage and being partners again.
Most Yelp reviews gave Zocalo an average or above rating, so things seemed to be doing better.
Unfortunately it seems like it wasn’t enough to save Zocalo from closing down.
Is Zocalo still open in 2023?
Zocalo closed in January, 2013, which is a little over a year after the visit from Gordon Ramsay, though less than a year after the actual Kitchen Nightmares Zocalo episode aired on TV.
Why did Zocalo close?
Well, it seems like the mountain of debt building up through the years must’ve caught up with them.
It is also reported that there are court documents revealing tax liens and debts of over $100,000 against the owner, Greg Russell.
According to Philadelphia Magazine, the restaurant had to deal with the following debts:
- A Philadelphia city tax lien of over $40,000
- Federal tax liens totally over $28,000
- A “confession of judgement” against Greg Russell of $39,000
Unfortunately, these money troubles mean that Zocalo is permanently closed as of 2023, even though the restaurant seemed to be much-improved after the visit from Gordon Ramsay.
As of 2022, the old Zocalo Philadelphia PA location is occupied by an apartment building named Paloma University City.
So it seems like there will be no more food being server at the Zocalo Philadelphia building.
What happened to Greg Russell from Kitchen Nightmares?
After Zocalo closed, Greg Russell has continued working in the restaurant/hospitality industry.
He was the Executive Chef at the Marathon Grill in Philadelphia for around a year and a half.
After that, he was the General Manager at Joe Squared in Baltimore MD, a corporate catering service.
That’s where his LinkedIn page leaves off.
However, according to his Facebook page, Greg is now working as the General Manager at a Greek restaurant in Columbia, MD.
Did the Zocalo owners divorce after Kitchen Nightmares?
Sadly, it seems like Greg and Maria, the Zocalo owners, did divorce after Kitchen Nightmares.
Greg posted pictures from his own wedding in 2019, so it seems like he’s been divorced and then remarried.
Final Thoughts on What Happened to Zocalo
After the visit from Gordon Ramsay, Zocalo seemed to be doing well from a food perspective.
However, the restaurant had large debts and tax liens that led to its closure around 1.5 years after Gordon’s visit.
Greg Russell has had some other jobs in the hospitality industry and is currently working as the General Manager at a Greek restaurant in Columbia, MD.
Sadly, it seems like the Zocalo owners divorced.
The old Zocalo Philadelphia PA location is now occupied by an apartment building.
If you want to see some other Philadelphia Kitchen Nightmares episodes, you can check out our updates for Hot Potato Cafe and Chiarella’s.
If you want to see other episodes from this season, you can also use the links below.
👉 Read other updates:
- Next episode – La Galleria 33 update
- Previous episode – Chiarella’s update
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Last updated: 2022-08-01 05:23
12 thoughts on “Zocalo Kitchen Nightmares Update – Still Open in 2023?”
All comments are the sole opinion of the commenter and are not endorsed by RealityTVUpdates.
I am a true fan of Gorden Ramsey and I love all the different type of shows he has. I of course have no idea on which are the criteria to be chosen to receive the help. But really breaks my heart when I see Ramsey with the compassion to reach out and gain these people’s trust while at the same time changing every thing they ever knew around them. I love to see the smiles and happy tears at the end of the show. But I am wondering about something and it is, The show has got to know before hand what kind of a financial hole the business is in. If I was in charge over the decisions to do the make over I would always wonder if the people who own the restaurants are wanting the business to have a better look, so they can sell it for a lot more money. I say this because around 60% of the restaurants he has helped are now closed. I know Gorden is very compactionemt about helping others and it would suck to see how much time and money he put out there just to be used.
nuts to the owner trying to scam ramsey. the appliances were paid for in lieu if marketing costs. a wholesale 1500 or 400 made in china vulcan stove is worth the 15000 national advertising spot. ramsey wasnt taken advantage of in anyway or how. frankly, he dropped the ball in not having a restaurant manager in his crew. john taffer is a loudmouth but ffs, ive never seen a ramsey episode where he considered the bar as an asset. to be clear, i was a customer at zocalos for 3 or 4 years. it was good food but pricey. yet much better then the hipster mexican places we have scattered across the city….but what makes them successful? well location of course, and booze. i dont eat in ‘gringo mexican’ anymore because its not comforting. i leave with heartburn…sour, vinegar, dry charred meat. they lead with alcohol specials and some are adding game day specials to keep up now. i moved across the river so naturally fell off of zocalos, but lets look at the neighborhood back then…college bars, wings, pizza, 711, a thai whitetablecloth place i never went to. i generaly settled into what i liked, i would not know a tasty mole if it slapped me but of the 3 courses i regularly ordered they were on par or better then any mexican restaurant i had in southern cali, and less pretentious then the celebrity restaurantuers in philly; and many tourist trap yet successful places along the border(cooking styles being equal). anyway, ramsey tried to make it a white tablecloth chipotle which i didnt try and was dissapointed to see. but being there before the furniture and facade renovation(before ramsey showed up) to make it more “mexican” that is seen in the show i wished they focused more on drinks and drawing in the college crowd with game day specials or happy hour. oh well, greg was a boss, he’d close the kitchen and have a beer at the bar. i never saw the wife but the daughters and greg were cool. its a shame, and i hope they are doing better. as it is now its bar and chicken joint, still havent been back but i hope the value added of the shows improvements didnt hit them too hard on the tax bill thus driving them further in the hole…jeez if a stove doesnt ignite then it can be fixed unkess its a rusted hulk with gas leaking jt that coats more then free gear provided for national marketing.
wow lay off the coffee
Found Mary’s LinkedIn page:
Such a shame – for a change this episode had a nice, hardworking owner instead of an egomaniac or nitwit in the mix. Gordon fixed the food, staffing, and helped draw the family together. But knowing that they had such an enormous debt load, I wonder why he didn’t have a financial planner or accountant to help them figure a way to get themselves out of the financial hole they were in. Maybe financially it was a no-win situation from the start; if so, the whole exercise was academic and a waste of time. I sincerely hope the Russells are OK; they probably lost their home and everything else.
Yeah it’s rare when you find a Kitchen Nightmares owner you can actually root for haha.
No dan he left her and married the waiter Maria. LOL good for him.
We did a huge party for my grandparents anniversary at Zocalo. Jack and Sue Minnis. Makes me sad that it’s gone, as are my gram and gramp
You can tell from the map why Zocalo failed — there’s a Chipotle down the street serving delicious Mexican food.
I would have driven that bint back to Mexico and chucked her over the wall myself. Poor Greg.