|"The team works overnight to remodel the restaurant."
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- John William "J Willy" Ittenbach, owner/namesake
- Rick, owner
- Tricia, owner/Rick's wife
- David, manager
- Ashley, waitress
- Allison, waitress
- Steve, cook
- Jeff, cook
- Christian, cook
- Sean, cook
- Scott, chef
- Kim, chef
- Michael, chef
- April, chef
Before Gordon's Arrival
Rick & Tricia owned the restaurant alongside their friend John, but they gave responsibility of J Willy's to John since they lived 3 hours away and owned another restaurant. J Willy's previously made a lot of money, but the performance began declining when John took over, and they were not able to afford hiring a head chef, leaving the kitchen to two cooks, who dislike what they are given to make, but with such low-quality ingredients, there isn't much they can do.
Gordon hates the sign in front, and says from the outside it seems as though, it closed down 10 years ago. John isn't sure whether or not Gordon will like the food.
Loaded baked potato pizza, ribs, pulled pork cheese boat
Impressions of the Food
Loaded baked potato pizza-Gordon thinks the pizza looks strange, spots a priest and asks him to say a prayer for him. Gordon tastes a ranch sauce and hates it
Ribs-Gordon hates the sauce, which Rick admits is generic. Gordon also notices the fat is untrimmed and overall it's "Sad, much like the restaurant"
Pulled pork cheese boat-"Pulled pork? Pulled straight out of the bin!". Gordon sees the priests have the same dish and he takes it away for their sake
First Dinner Service
Gordon confronts John and the cooks. John admits they don't have a chef, and says it doesn't matter because the recipes stay the same. Gordon gathers all three owners. Tricia says John has no passion. John complains he doesn't have the money to do much. Rick reveals they are in huge debt and he and Tricia can't afford to have kids together as a result. Gordon spots a frozen pizza in the kitchen and is appalled. He is also disgusted by the ingredients. John admits to cutting corners. The cooks go at a good speed, but the food does not go over well. Gordon feels like everyone's given up. Rick says John is killing the business. Gordon gathers the staff, and everyone is embarrassed. John gets flamed again, but Ashley starts to blame Rick too for not being there much and yet flaming John. Gordon inspects the kitchen. He finds rotten potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and chicken. Rick and John start throwing all the food out.
Gordon feels that everyone has given up
Remainder of the Visit
Gordon has the staff meet him at a church. He has them give him "confessions". Rick says he is scared that his fate is in John's hands. John says he has nobody to turn to, and he thinks with support he can find his passion again. Tricia wants John to show passion as well. Gordon gathers the cooks and teaches them a recipe for barbecue sauce. They are excited. He also teaches them a new burger and fries recipe. The cooks are looking forward to making "real food". The customers enjoy it a lot more. However, Steve and Chris have trouble with the burgers and they get inconsistent, and eventually they run out of ground beef and buns. They improvise and start using sourdough bread. The cooks also go back to using the frozen fries. Then Gordon sees them start using the processed burgers again. After a good start, the standards dropped and Gordon is highly disappointed.
Restaurant & Menu Remodel
Gordon's design team renovates the inside. Gordon rebrands J Willy's as a barbecue place. Everyone loves the new look of the restaurant. Rick is so overwhelmed he says they don't deserve it. Gordon decides to market the barbecue sauce as well, and he trims down the menu. Gordon hires four chefs to help. His chefs start training the cooks.
The cooks get off to a good start, but once again, the standards start to gradually slip. The tables start to have to wait a long time, too. The customers start to grow frustrated. One even goes into the kitchen to confront John, and she tells him they're leaving after 2 hours, and adds that "this isn't gonna last". Gordon tries to motivate John and Rick. After a tough night, the kitchen at least finishes on a good note, and the last few customers enjoy the food. Gordon talks to the staff one last time, and reminds them to always keep their standards up. Rick has faith that John and the staff has changed. Gordon says they have a "glimmer of hope".
After Gordon's Departure
With Gordon's BBQ sauce recipe, J Willy's wins a local BBQ competition. Unfortunately, J Willy's closed later in 2008. Rick and Tricia also lost their other restaurant.