|"The team works overnight to remodel the restaurant."
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Joe Nagy, Owner
Joe opened Mill Street Bistro in Norwalk, Ohio after losing his job at food sales. However, he has zero previous restaurant experience.
Joe is one of the typical owners appearing on Kitchen Nightmares USA that can be summed up as "small man with a big ego". However, he stands out by being one of the few people that pushes nearly all of Gordon's buttons. Joe abuses his staff, constantly berates and insults them for even the pettiest of reasons, he even does it in front of the customers which drove a lot of them away. Joe also frequently held meetings with his staff, but these meetings usually involves him insulting them further and blaming them for every little issue. He is in complete denial about how poorly his restaurant is doing, is highly resistant to change, refuses to take responsibility and constantly come up with excuses for his failures, has zero respect for the food industry and is completely dishonest to his customers and to Gordon, uses frozen ingredients, and is a fairly incompetent cook.
Even so, Joe is extremely full of himself, and even seems to look down on Chef Ramsay, believing himself to be superior to the world renowned chef in some ways, during his first lunch service, Joe made a poor attempt to mimic Gordon's Scottish accent to mock him behind his back.
While Joe's ego is obviously over inflated, it also appears to be a very fragile one. Joe constantly roves around his dining room looking for praise and approval from his customers, while preaching how good his restaurant supposedly is. He invited Gordon Ramsay to his restaurant in hopes to gain Gordon's approval, and when Gordon criticizes his food, Joe quickly became defense, and will go as far as claim that he's above Gordon somehow.
Joe's stubbornness and arrogance is best described as legendary, being second to only Amy from Amy's Baking Company.
Tom is the sous-chef of Mill Streets Bistro, he's a man of little words normally, likely because he's fully aware that arguing with Joe is utterly pointless and will likely get him fired. Tom admitted that the method of cooking used in the restaurant are flawed and can be improved, and if he has a choice, he'll not eat here. Gordon easily sees that Tom is a better chef than Joe and has more respect for the sous-chef.
Amy considered Joe the reason why the Mill Streets Bistro is failing. She clearly resents Joe and feels bitter about the way she and the rest of the staff are treated, she sometimes make subtitle jabs at Joe and his cooking both before him and behind his back. Amy also dislikes the menu of the restaurant, she dislikes the elk quesadilla and vegetarian raviolis.
Much like the rest of the servers, Rebecca resents Joe, calling him an "arrogant, selfish jerk". Which is not surprising considering that Joe constantly talks down and disrespects her like the rest of the staff. Joe's arrogance sometimes even got into the way of Rebecca's work, as his failing business directly affects her livelihood. Joe also considers her serving a table of guests he's talking to interrupting his "meeting".
Bill, unsurprisingly, has no love for Joe. He resents how Joe never takes responsibility and always blames other people or factors for his muck ups. He considers that one of the main reasons Mill Street Bistro is failing is how Joe looks down on the local customers, and never make any effort to market the restaurant to them. Neither does Bill believe that the food is good, giving it only a 5 out of 10.
While she wanted to see the restaurant become a success, Kaleigh sometimes find it hard top work under all the pressure, she resents Joe for the way he treats her, however, complaining to Joe has no use, as he basically told her to either take it or leave. At one point Joe berated her so badly that it drove her to tears and caused the customers to leave in disgust.
Je, much like the rest of the staff, is treated by Joe like tools. Naturally, she's eager to see Gordon Ramsay give Joe a lesson he won't soon forget.
Before Gordon's Arrival
Before Gordon arrived at Mill Street Bistro, Joe invited Gordon to his livestock farm to show off where the produce from the restaurant allegedly comes from in hopes to impress the world famous chef. Joe also tells Gordon that he's "self-taught" with some of the best old-school chefs in Europe. He also introduces Gordon to his pet goat, Skinny, who proceeds to attempt to headbutt Gordon. Joe told Gordon that he believes the issues with Mill Street Bistro is how there are not enough asses in the seats because people do not treat the restaurant seriously.
Gordon is impressed with how Joe runs the ranch single handedly, and he has a liking for farm to fork restaurants, so he's quite eager to try out the food. However, when he arrived at Mill Street Bistro, Gordon is immediately left unimpressed with the decor, he also doesn't like the name badges the servers wear and processes to have them all remove the badges, much to the servers' pleasure. Gordon is also a little baffled by how specials are referred to as "features" in Mill Street Bistro unlike other restaurants.
Amy is the one to welcome Gordon into the restaurant, she confesses to Gordon that Joe is the main reason why the restaurant is failing, as his constant beratement of the staff drives away customers. Amy also admitted that she doesn't believe that Joe is trained with European masters. After taking his orders, Bill arrived to serve some drinks, he tells Gordon that Joe is arrogant and thinks the restaurant is too good for the locals.
Gordon wanted to see as much as he could, so he ordered a large amount of items for lunch.
- Elk Medallion "feature" served over a grilled portabello mushroom. (medium rare)
- "Catch of the day", a trio of Ohio raised bluegill, perch and largemouth bass.
- Elk Quesadilla
- Vegetarian Ravioli Primavera
- Scallops en Croute
- French Onion Soup
- Oyster Rockefeller
Impressions of the Food
When reviewing the menu, Gordon noticed how expensive some of the items the restaurant provided are. But since it's farm-to-table (supposedly), he remained hopeful.
The French Onion Soup was a bad start, the cheese in it were small in quantity and barely melted, the soup itself is way too greasy, watery, and overall lacking in onions.
The Oysters Rockefeller was so bitter in taste (usually caused when the oysters themselves are frozen) that Gordon ended up spitting it out. He also dislikes how the parsley infused olive oil around the rim ended up on the oysters themselves.
Joe didn't take Gordon's criticisms seriously, and simply passed them off as "amusing", while he did offer to make a new French Onion Soup, Gordon decided to move on, pointing out how it takes around 4 hours the caramelize the onions for the soup, as he's starting to realize that Joe is most likely bluffing about his cooking skills and background.
First Dinner Service
Remainder of the Visit
Restaurant & Menu Remodel
After Gordon's Departure