(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 2022 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 2022?
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 2022, 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.
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Last updated: 2022-08-01 05:23