(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. The Zocalo Kitchen Nightmares episode aired in March 2012, but the actual filming and visit from Gordon Ramsay took place much earlier in late 2011. It was Episode 17 of Season 5.
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 and disinterested wife (Mary) 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.
Things seem to go well at first. 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 waiters) 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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
Zocalo Update - What Happened Next?
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 has new hope for their marriage and being partners again.
Most Yelp reviews gives Zocalo an average or above rating.
Unfortunately it seems like it wasn’t enough to save Zocalo from closing down.
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 of over $60 000 against the owner, Greg Russell.
This is without the restaurants other debts.
Unfortunately, these money troubles mean that Zocalo is permanently closed as of 2022, even though the restaurant seemed to be much-improved after the visit from Gordon Ramsay.
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Last updated: 2022-02-11 06:52