Restaurants are typically remembered for delicious meals and outstanding service, but on "Kitchen Nightmares," it's the exact opposite. The eateries featured on Gordon Ramsay's hit television show stick out to viewers for having abhorrent food, an unbearable staff, and a complete lack of cleanliness. All of this and more is why the third episode of season seven of "Kitchen Nightmares" made the number nine spot in our ranking of the 45 best "Kitchen Nightmares" episodes.
Centered around Old Neighborhood in Arvada, Colorado, the 2014 episode marked Ramsay's first time bringing "KN" to the Centennial State, and boy, was it a doozy. The episode teaser claimed that no changes had been made to the restaurant for 33 years. For 25 of those years, Old Neighborhood operated under the ownership of Randy and Alexa Kowalcyzk. The husband and wife duo ran the front and back of the house, respectively, but neither of them seemed to be very successful at their jobs, as they found themselves $320,000 in debt when filming began.
Peeling wallpaper, cross-contamination, and a well-dressed mannequin named Fiona are just the start of what Ramsay finds at the restaurant deemed "one of the most shocking and filthiest restaurants" the chef had ever seen. "This place feels like it's been closed for the last 10 years," Ramsay says during the cold open, but was he able to help turn things around?
Read more: The Untold Truth Of Kitchen Nightmares
What Happened To Old Neighborhood On Kitchen Nightmares?
An encounter with Fiona the mannequin sets the tone for Gordon Ramsay's visit to Old Neighborhood when he arrived to film "Kitchen Nightmares" in July 2013. Things go downhill after meeting with owners Randy and his wife, Alexa, who says she'd be incredibly upset if the chef didn't enjoy her cooking. Spoiler alert; he doesn't, nor does he appreciate Randy's junky "antique" decor.
During dinner service, viewers watch as Ramsay uncovers filth throughout the eatery despite Randy claiming that staff cleaned for five days prior. He ends up in the walk-in fridge, where he finds rancid food and mold. He also uncovered concerns about cross-contamination as the restaurant failed to observe the reason to avoid storing cooked and uncooked food together. That health hazard led Ramsay to call for the end of service.
"For the first time in a long time I'm not actually too sure what to do," Ramsay admits. "Right now, I want to get out of here," he adds. A full night of cleaning and tearful begging from the Kowalcyzks convince him to stay, however. The next day, Randy eliminates all of his precious decor. In exchange, Ramsay equips Old Neighborhood with a new menu, a revamped dining room, and $65,000 worth of kitchen equipment, which they put to use that night.
"This may be called the Old Neighborhood, but trust me, it's a new restaurant back on the road to success," Ramsay assures as he leaves.
Old Neighborhood After Kitchen Nightmares
Having completed one of his biggest restaurant transformations to date, Gordon Ramsay departs Old Neighborhood with hopes that Old Neighborhood will join the number of "Kitchen Nightmare" restaurants that succeed. A post-filming check-in seemed to indicate that things were on the rise. One Yelper who dined at the "new Old Neighborhood" shortly after its "Kitchen Nightmares" episode was shot in 2013 supported this idea with a glowing 5-star review. "Get in there before the TV episode airs, because I imagine this place will be packed when everyone realizes what is hiding in plain sight in Arvada!" they said.
Their evaluation was followed by several other 4- and 5-star Yelp reviews, many of which offered praise for the food, friendly staff, and even the restaurant's cleanliness. Still, others didn't exactly feel the same. "We were hoping that after Gordon Ramsay's visit things would be better. Not so much, the Old Neighborhood still smells and looks old. The restroom, the wallpaper, the booths that remind you of an old folks home. The food was marginal," wrote one diner in 2014 who vowed not to return.
By 2015, the bad reviews began to outweigh the good, with complaints ranging from slow kitchen service and inflated menu prices to low stock on several different types of wine and, yes, a musty smell. Additionally, one review left in March revealed that the Old Neighborhood had started returning to its old menu after "meeting their contractual obligations" with "Kitchen Nightmares."
Is Old Neighborhood From Kitchen Nightmares Still Open?
Yelp reviews for Old Neighborhood started looking up again in 2016 when all but one of the evaluations were accompanied by four or five stars. The final review left for the eatery was on April 29, and offered praise for the menu, staff, food, and "nostalgic atmosphere." Yet, just two days later on May 1, the Old Neighborhood held its final dinner service. The property was put up for sale in a "confidential listing" in 2014 that advertised the restaurant and furniture upgrades Gordon Ramsay had made. Two years later, it was finally sold, with the news being shared on Facebook.
"It's official. After 36 years of business, we have sold the restaurant and will be closing our doors on Sunday, May 1st. We want to thank everyone for your continued support and love over the years. Although it will be a big change in our lives, we are excited to see what the future holds," the post read.
For the building itself, the future was a new restaurant, The Butchery. Specializing in steak, chops, and seafood, the eatery is still open to this day and boasts several accolades including Arvada's Best Steakhouse. As for the Old Neighborhood's owners of over 25 years, it is unclear what Randy is up to. However, a Facebook profile that appears to belong to Alexa suggests that she is still working in the restaurant business at Briar Rose Chophouse & Saloon in Breckenridge.
Read the original article on Mashed.