Nino’s Italian Restaurant before Kitchen Nightmares
Nino’s Italian Restaurant opened its doors on July 31, 1958, courtesy of immigrants Inge and Vincenzo Cristiano. Later on, their children Carina, Michael, and Nino helped run the place as employees. After successfully running the business for many years, Vincenzo separated himself from the restaurant as he was on the onset of dementia at the age of 88. Upon his retirement, Nino was set to become the new restaurant manager, but his son proved to be a very bad choice for the role.
Nino acted like he owned the place since, as per his insistence, the restaurant was named after him. He also had the habit of locking himself up in the office to watch TV, knowing that he’ll still get paid regardless of what he did. Moreover, the 60-year-old’s childish behavior put him at odds with some of the customers, much to the frustration of Michael and Carina.
The restaurant struggled financially as the tables were rarely occupied by customers. To keep it from closing, Inge was forced to take money from her retirement fund to pay the bills. With no other choice left, Michael and Carina decided to call for Gordon Ramsay and Kitchen Nightmares for help.
Nino’s Italian Restaurant on Kitchen Nightmares
Ramsay arrived at Nino’s and immediately felt like he was in 1958 thanks to the restaurant’s outdated décor. He met with Inge and the three Cristiano children, with Nino spouting BS like how he worked hard in the establishment on a daily basis, but his claims were quickly countered by his siblings. Despite their differences when it came to who really ran the place, the trio was in agreement that the food in the restaurant was superb. Ramsay put these assertions to the test by ordering a couple of items in the menu.
While waiting for his orders, the Kitchen Nightmares host looked around and found a lot of unsightly things like gum under the tables and cobwebs on the walls. Nino defended himself by saying that he always cleaned the interior, and he even showed Ramsay pictures of himself while cleaning.
The chicken piccata dish arrived first, with the meat described as floury and slimy. The bowl of meatball tasted horrible since it was made four days ago. Nino countered every bit of criticism and showed complete arrogance as he refused to believe that the dishes were indeed bad, even going as far as throwing F-bombs towards Ramsay and calling him “the problem” of the restaurant. Later that day, Ramsay inspected the kitchen’s operations during dinner service and found out that the chefs prioritized quantity over quality while utilizing ingredients that were made many days ago. While the food was served fast, the customer complaints came just as quick, and Carina and Michael handled the situation while Nino busied himself by standing idly and doing nothing.
The next day, Ramsay met with Inge and formulated a plan on how to make Nino act like a true manager. This involved boarding up the restaurant as if it was closed for good, with Inge saying that she “decided” to end the business because it doesn’t work anymore. Fortunately, the plan worked and Nino vowed that he would set things straight from now on. Carina and Michael were brought up to speed and, despite finding Nino’s change of heart something very hard to believe in, they eventually agreed to forget the past for the sake of the business.
Now that the siblings vowed to work together from now on, Ramsay tore down the restaurant’s severely-outdated interior to pave way for the future. The drab round colors of the interior were replaced with bright and refreshing hues like white to make the place appear lighter. The dusty Chianti bottles on the ceiling were swapped with light fixtures made from apple baskets. Long wooden family tables were included so large groups of customers can eat together without feeling too cramped sitting next to each other.
During the relaunch night, Nino was assigned to the kitchen to see how he fared under pressure and if he could indeed prove himself a changed man. Meals came out at a steady pace but, as the orders grew in number, Nino found himself having a hard time in doing his job. Michael stepped in the scene to take control of things, and he himself was also overwhelmed which caused his temper to flare up. Fortunately, Nino stood his ground and managed his team until all of the customers went home with smiles on their faces. Unfortunately, Michael wasn’t as tough as his older brother, and he walked out of the restaurant much to the disappointment of his family.
Nino’s Italian Restaurant Now in 2018 – The After Kitchen Nightmares Update
Nino’s gathered mixed reviews throughout the years after the episode aired in 2013. However, most of the changes brought by Kitchen Nightmares weren’t warmly received by the clientele, thus causing the restaurant to revert to its traditional atmosphere.
In 2014, Vincenzo passed away at the age of 90, surrounded by family and loved ones, along with some of the longtime staff of the restaurant.
Three years later, a message was posted on their Facebook page which announced that Nino’s will close its doors on August 14, 2016. Guests from different states flew to Los Angeles just to join the family for one last meal in the restaurant. The Cristianos decided that it was time to retire from the business and had listed the place for sale. As of 2018, it seems that the place remains unsold.
You can check out their inactive Facebook page where you can read reviews and old posts. Alternatively, you can click here for their Yelp page, and here for their Tripadvisor page.