Luigi’s D’Italia before Kitchen Nightmares
Luigi’s D’Italia was opened in the city of Anaheim in 1981, courtesy of chef Luigi Cartizone with the help of his father Dominic. The restaurant enjoyed success for many years with many customers enjoying both its food and atmosphere.
In 1999, Dominic retired from the business and went home to Italy. He also sent his other son Tony to help Luigi with the restaurant. However, the brothers were not on the same page in running the establishment. Eventually, their differences led to loud verbal clashes which also involved Grace, the loudmouthed wife of Luigi. It came to the point where Grace had profane outbursts that targeted the customers.
The restaurant suffered from the toxic environment created by the trio’s inability to work together. Customers no longer enjoyed dining there, and profits were not as high as it used to be. With the Luigi’s D’Italia’s reputation and survival on the line, there was no other choice for the owners but to call for Gordon Ramsay and Kitchen Nightmares for help.
Luigi’s D’Italia on Kitchen Nightmares
Ramsay arrived at Luigi’s D’Italia and was met by the Cartizones. When they sat together for a meeting, the rift between Tony and Luigi was in full view as the brothers (and their respective wives) pointed fingers at each other for the restaurant’s failure. Tensions quickly flared as their voices reached ear-piercing levels, complete with table-slamming and a couple of F-bombs.
After getting a taste of the intense family problem, Ramsay then went on to sample the restaurant’s dishes. The fried ravioli he ordered was not freshly-prepared, the “special” mahi-mahi had a mushy and bland flavor, and the linguini pescatore was described as disgusting. When Ramsay’s complaints reached the ears of Luigi, the latter took it as an offense as he believed that his dishes were unchallenged for 30 straight years until now.
During the dinner service, Luigi was proud of how fast his crew was in preparing and serving the dishes. However, this was obviously not a good thing as none of them even tasted the meals they made. The food came back to the kitchen as quickly as it left. Luigi, frustrated by the criticisms of the customers, clashed with Ramsay and called the latter “arrogant” before walking out. Tony followed his brother and gave the latter some words of encouragement. Before the night ended, Ramsay told Luigi that he had to work hard and smart if he wanted the restaurant to succeed.
The next day, Ramsay summoned the brothers and their wives to the kitchen where they watched through a CCTV the professional chef listening to the woes of the Luigi D’Italia employees. Grace refused to believe the staff members when they described her incredibly-negative behavior and inability to take criticism. Ramsay then had the two groups sit together to repair the rift that had long plagued the establishment.
The Kitchen Nightmares host began working on the renovation of the restaurant, starting with the menu items. He taught the staff how to create authentic Italian sausages that fit the restaurant’s theme. Afterwards, he had the brothers watch a video of their father giving them a much-needed pep talk. Tears ensured, and Luigi vowed that he will become a changed man from now on.
During the reopening, Ramsay revealed the new interior of the restaurant which had an appealing Italian charm in every corner. The tissues and furniture now bore the Luigi’s D’Italia logo to reinforce branding. The menu was shrunk to a manageable size and consisted of delectable dishes that the customers will surely enjoy. At the relaunch night, everyone in the establishment worked with a positive energy that was not felt for a long time. However, there was a slight problem with the lack of communication which almost had Luigi going berserk again, but fortunately, Ramsay was there to get the brothers back on track again.
Luigi’s D’Italia Now in 2018 – The After Kitchen Nightmares Update
On September 18, 2017, the folks at the restaurant announced that they were relocating to a new spot. Two months later, a post was made on Facebook which revealed the new location to be at Fullerton.
On December 14, 2017, the new Luigi’s D’Italia branch was opened. Apparently, this new location focuses more on takeout orders with only a few tables inside for dine-in customers. The post was met with many positive reactions from their fans.