Trivia for Kitchen Nightmares

Chef Gordon Ramsey of Hells KitchenWith all the episodes centered in the New York City area, it was bound to happen that Gordon Ramsay’s “Kitchen Nightmares” would finally take on a restaurant that I know.

OK, it’s not one that I’ve eaten at or ever paid attention to, but I’ve passed it many a time, and I recognized its street sign.

Last week’s focus was on “Fiesta Sunrise,” a Mexican restaurant in West Nyack, NY. That town is best known for its gigantic mall, the Palisades Center. I’m pretty sure it ranks as one of the top ten largest in the nation. It’s four stories and has everything you could ever ask for. It’s only one hotel short of being a place you could live in without ever needing to go outside. In addition to all the usual mall things — cell phone kiosks, sunglass kiosks, Croc kiosks, etc. — it has every major department and big box store you could imagine: CostCo, Best Buy, Home Depot, Target, Nordstrom, J.C. Penneys, etc. It has its own post office, a large movie theater complete with stadium seating, an IMAX theater, a bowling alley, and an ice rink.

The crazy thing is, there’s a large chunk of it unfinished upstairs, to stay within some local code. There are actually those who protest the idea of opening up any more stores in a mall that’s four stories tall and has hundreds of shops already. Yeah, that last store or three next to the restaurant row is really going to make the traffic outside unmanageable. Sheesh

But Gordon’s estimate of 25,000 cars a day passing by the restaurant are not unfounded. I imagine the number is much higher on the weekends.

The even funnier point of the mall is that it’s sinking into the ground. It’s only ten years old now, but was built on some soft land. If you park underneath the mall, you can see the effects around the columns holding everything up. But it is a worry that the mall might someday disappear into the earth.

In any case, the mall appears in the background of all the exterior shots of the episode featuring the restaurant’s sign. Specifically, it’s the Lord and Taylor wing of the mall you can see.

The restaurant’s front awning sports a “Grill 303″ sign. I imagine that was the previous restaurant that was there. The “303″ refers to the highway the restaurant is located on, Route 303.

In the closing shot of the restaurant, one of the cars parked by the front door has the News 12 logo on it. News 12 is a local news station. Conveniently enough, it’s on channel 12 on my cable provider.

For comic fans: Wizard’s offices are in Congers, NY, about ten minutes up the road from this location.


2 Responses to “Trivia for Kitchen Nightmares”

  1. garbonzo
    20. November 2008 at 14:39

    Sounds like a nightmare!

    I actually prefer the British version of the show. It was a bit more intimate (smaller restaurants) and there was often a follow up (sometimes there was even a special that followed much later…like a year or more).

    But, I love watching him tear arrogant restaurant owners a new one!

  2. Rob Postuma
    20. November 2008 at 15:41

    2 comments regarding this:

    1) The idea of the mall sinking is not so crazy. In the town I live in – they recently left a brand new (local) hockey arena which was 90% finished to rot. Despite being that close to opening, they realized that the ground that they had built on – was not so great – and that even before opening, that the bloody thing was sinking into the ground. Since this was a public project, it’s doubtful that anyone will come along and tear it down anytime soon – as that would be admitting to a giant mistake. A much bigger FUBAR, the Montreal Olympic Stadium which was used in the ’76 Olympics – not only went a fortune over-budget, but is slowly sinking as well as falling apart.

    2) I actually prefer the British version of the show – it’s more about how to properly run a restaurant and marketing – in other words to develop a possible diamond in the rough. The US version tends to come to places that are falling apart, serving rancid meat and are roach infested. Even after they fix the US places, there’s no way I’d give any of them a try – as history tends to repeat.