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Friday, June 22, 2012

Food Network Loves Small Business! Restaurant Impossible Is A Huge Success! Thanks Chef Robert!



















Restaurant Revisited: Pollard’s Bar-B-Que

On the latest episode of Restaurant: Impossible, Robert headed to Memphis to help Pollard’s, a barbecue restaurant that was at risk of going up in smoke. The eatery was experiencing growing pains after upgrading from a takeout operation to a giant dine-in establishment. We checked in with owners Tarrance and Torria Pollard to see how business is going after their Restaurant: Impossible intervention.

A few months after Robert’s Restaurant: Impossible makeover, sales at Pollard’s Bar-B-Que have grown an impressive 20 percent.

Torria says their customers love the new decor, “especially the brightness.” Social networking has been a key ingredient in their recipe for success as the pair has been able to use Facebook and Twitter to successfully get the word out about their new location.

Their customers love the smaller, easier-to-read new menu. The Pollards have kept most of Robert’s menu items and added a few new dishes.

Tarrance took Robert’s advice to heart and has tweaked his family barbecue sauce to make it more his own. Torria credits the show for convincing Tarrance to “open his mind” to change: “He admits that Robert was right on a lot of things.”



Restaurant Revisited: Horton’s Kids

In a special episode of Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine faced his toughest challenge yet when First Lady Michelle Obama assigned him the task of rebuilding Horton’s Kids, a children’s community center that provides many services such as serving after-school meals in one of Washington, D.C.’s neediest neighborhoods. Mrs. Obama gave Robert three missions: Give Horton’s Kids a dining room, update their kitchen and create a community garden for them.

A few months after Robert’s Restaurant: Impossible-style transformation of Horton’s Kids, we checked in with Executive Director Brenda Chamberlain to see how the organization is doing. “Everyone loves and is impressed with the new, transformed Horton’s Kids!” says Brenda. “The vibrant space establishes a sense of community for the children.”

The brand-new kitchen and dining area have enabled Horton’s Kids to run cooking classes and hands-on nutrition programs more effectively. “During a recent class, we had kids sautĂ©ing vegetables, making omelets on the stovetop and blending fruit smoothies — all simultaneously,” says Brenda.

The dining/all-purpose room allows kids to sit down and share their meals together. Thanks to the collapsible tables and hang-able chairs, staff and volunteers have flexibility to arrange the space to meet the needs of various programs outside of meal times. The children love having a nice indoor space where they can hang out, chat with their friends and do homework. The computer lab that Microsoft donated has helped to bridge the technical divide often found in the Horton’s Kids community.

In the garden, early summer vegetables are growing nicely. Horton’s Kids has started a children’s gardening club: “Kids are taking great pride in the garden,” says Brenda. The irrigation bike has proven to be a fun, creative way to engage the children in gardening, and they’re enjoying it “tremendously.”

After hearing the First Lady talk about the importance of eating fruits and vegetables, the children are getting more adventurous and trying new kinds of produce. “They also enjoy knowing that they are growing vegetables and herbs they can eat,” Brenda says. In an upcoming class, the kids will be using the fresh basil to make pesto.

The future looks bright for Horton’s Kids: “With the help of our amazing volunteers and donors, the new space will soon allow us to serve many more children.”



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Sources: Food Network, Youtube, Google Maps

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