Fiesta Sunrise Before Kitchen Nightmares
Based in Nyack, New York, Fiesta Sunrise is based just west of the Hudson River. Started by a married couple, Yolanda and Vic, and funded by Yolanda’s daughter Patty, the restaurant is a second chance for the couple to try and make their Mexican cuisine really work. Patti, as a result, is 100% the owner, but it turns out her stepfather Vic prefers to take control, which has caused some serious problems.
Among these is a steady drop off in customers returning to eat at Fiesta Sunrise. With the family relations between husband and wife (for both Yolanda and Patty) and mother and daughter draining nearly as fast as the bank accounts, Gordon Ramsay steps in to see if anything can be done.
Fiesta Sunrise on Kitchen Nightmares
Starting out, Chef Ramsay gets a bad sign as the outdoor display does, in fact, say Fiesta Sunrise but the awning says “Grill 303”, an immediate point of confusion for potential customers. It turns out that sign problem has been around for a year and a half. Perhaps a bit of a blessing, Fiesta Sunrise offers a complimentary margarita right inside the door, which apparently is pretty strong.
When Ramsay sits down to order, he asks how many seats of the 120 seat restaurants are taken for lunch service and is answered only two, before ordering a sampler of the entire menu. Speaking of the menu, it appears it’s a bit of a duplicate as Vic merely put a sticker on the menus he used in the previous failed Mexican joint, Fiesta Garibaldi. It turns out that nothing is really new except the last word of the restaurant’s name.
When the food finally arrives, the Chef is hardly impressed. The presentation is a mess, the chicken is dry, the beef is nearly enough to make him sick, and the rice looks old enough to have children. It appears the only way to have this food is to get wasted first, something the food should have done well before reaching the table.
After giving the food and drink a try, Ramsay takes the partners in to talk about Fiesta Sunrise. He quickly determines that Vic is basically being funded for a second try of restaurant ownership without changing what made him fail in the past, and otherwise the women aren’t involved. As a result, a place that needs $90,000 to stay afloat a month is making less than $30,000. They also owe $850,000 despite being open a year and a half.
During the night, Chef Ramsay sees how the place functions during dinner service. First up, he takes a look around the kitchen and is impressed with the size. That being said, nothing else appears impressive, as when checking the food he finds not only the rice is old.
The chicken appears to have been cooked last week. The customers seem to be noticing this as well as they are even returning the most basic items like chips. This causes a bit of an issue as Ramsay sees the server then return the batch to the serving shelf for said chips which is a major health violation. Looking more into the fridges, he finds a set of chives that are 5 months old. He also finds a great deal of exposed fish.
The pork and beef are likewise unsafely kept, which makes Gordon heave and nearly vomit. The entire establishment has only more negative surprises, where the walk-in freezer is openly exposed foods that make the Chef lose it. In response, Vic can only say he feels stupid, which given the number of times the word “idiot” is used, would seem a bit of an understatement.
Vic tries to cover himself during the resulting conflict despite having no defense, which makes Ramsay take some of the food out to the front to declare to the customers that service is closed and stop eating for their own safety. Vic fails to see how needed this is and thinks that the Chef shouldn’t have done that to “his customers”. A cleanup then occurs, while Ramsay talks to the mother. He points out her credit is destroyed, and that she needs to fix her relationship with Patti.
The next morning another family meeting occurs, this time with Patti’s husband Don, as he is quite angry about the state of things and how Patti has been involved and abused. It appears the husband saw Vic for who he is.
As they speak, Vic walks into the place and thinks Ramsay has no place talking to Patti’s husband. They then get into an argument as Don has paid Vic’s bills including a $50,000 mortgage despite Patti not getting paid, to which Vic replies “you don’t even have a job”. This heats up the argument to the point Don is ready to hang Vic by his own cheap tapestries and Chef Ramsay steps in to avoid a physical fight.
After this, Ramsay walks into the kitchen to try and figure out a recovery, only to find a mass of cockroaches. It’s clear the incompetence is more than enough to kill the business from Vic alone.
An exterminator is called in as the place is closed to clear up the problem. The following snap by Ramsay makes Vic realize some issues and apologize to his family, and when the Chef returns, he comes back with new food and determination. Quickly the dinner service is found not great as the rice is overcooked. Yolanda steps in to try and do it better than their chefs. It’s clear that everything else is also a huge problem, and customers again begin to leave. This brings Ramsay to the edge, and he leaves for New York City to try and find a solution.
This includes a full makeover, a new menu and expert help in the kitchen from Julieta Ballesteros, a very successful Mexican chef, and owner. With the gratitude from everyone, Chef Ramsay hopes to see improvements on the relaunch. He is soon very concerned as the so-called “idiot proof” setup only goes to show how idiocy can adapt. That being said, more customers were pleased than last time by a wide margin.
Fiesta Sunrise After Kitchen Nightmares Update – 2023 Update
Fiesta Sunrise was in dire straits when they appeared on Kitchen Nightmares in 2008. The restaurant was plagued with a variety of problems including poor food quality, unsanitary conditions, and terrible management.
In fact, their situation was so grim that Ramsay temporarily shut down the restaurant during filming due to health code violations. After implementing a slew of changes ranging from a revamped menu to a complete restaurant makeover, Ramsay left Fiesta Sunrise with a renewed hope for success.
However, the reality of what happened to Fiesta Sunrise after Kitchen Nightmares was far from what everyone expected. Despite the newfound publicity and Ramsay’s improvements, Fiesta Sunrise was unable to shake off its previous negative reputation.
The customers were not returning as expected and the sales were not picking up. Even more damning were new reports surfacing of continued health code violations. If anything, the staff seemed unable to maintain Ramsay’s high standards and gradually slipped back into their old habits.
In less than a year after their episode aired, Fiesta Sunrise closed its doors for good in 2009. As of 2023, there is a construction business at their old New York location.
The downfall of Fiesta Sunrise after Kitchen Nightmares serves as a reminder that while the show can provide the tools for improvement, it ultimately falls upon the restaurant owners and staff to embrace the change and maintain the high standards required for success in such a competitive industry.