Tuesday, February 15, 2011

PJ's Steakhouse / Grill

I finally finished watching the entire episode of Kitchen Nightmares that was shot here in Forest Hills, at the old PJ's Steakhouse on Yellowstone, and that aired on Channel 5 a couple of weeks ago. I actually found it really touching! I liked Kitchen Nightmares beforehand having seen it a couple of times (actually, the British version), but I have to say that this episode, if you haven't seen it, is a real treat for us Forest Hillers. You have to watch it to see what I mean - it includes interviews with local people on Austin/71st Continental, lots of shots of the neighborhood, and also you just might spot one of your neighbors eating at the restaurant.

It's a real struggle as the two proprietors try to turn this restaurant around. In the end, they end up selling it - their hearts, it seems, were just not in the restaurant business. It was touching because I think anyone can identify with them. Life threw them a curve ball - the death of a close family member - and the restaurant was used as a way for them both to emerge from their grief. Unfortunately, a restaurant is something you have to put your entire heart and soul into - it's not just a therapeutic tool. But I feel for them, I really do.

On the site of the old PJ's today is a German restaurant, Manor Oktoberfest, which has been getting pretty good reviews, according to a commenter on this blog and also Yelp.

Anyway, if you haven't seen the show, here it is below...


  1. I loved the episode as well and thought our neighborhood came off quite well. 2 things that may or may not alter how touched you feel about the whole thing, though, are that the scene where everyone was waiting for a ridiculous amount of time for their food was extremely contrived. I guess that's not surprising but the point is that, according to people who were there that night, they waited long enough to get shots of angry customers AND THEN immediately brought out the food. The quicker you blew your stack and gave them what they wanted, the quicker you got your food.

    Perhaps more important, Gordon's crew finished filming on the Thursday before Mother's Day in 2010. When Mother's Day rolled around just a few days later, the doors were locked and people were showing up with their family to go eat there ... many of whom had bought gift certificates. That made me feel much less sympathetic to the owners than I would have felt otherwise.

  2. Interesting, thanks for the extra info about this... I guess I'm not surprised to hear that the "reality" in "reality shows" only goes so far.

  3. how awful! all that money wasted! people should only buy a resturaunt if they a backgroung in the culinary arts!

  4. If people have the money to buy the restaurant then who cares about their background?! If they are good it will work; if not it will fail. Same thing in any business really. Personally, I think that people should only be able to comment on the culinary arts if they know how to spell restaurant. Fool.

  5. I wonder how many restaurants that Gordon Ramsey claims to have saved are either still in business or with the same owners 12 months later ?