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Ramsay arrived at Nino’s and immediately felt like he was in 1958 thanks to the restaurant’s outdated décor.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 2024 – The After Kitchen Nightmares Update
Nino’s Italian Restaurant, based in Long Beach, California, had been a part of the local community for many years. However, it wasn’t until their appearance on the television show Kitchen Nightmares that they gained national attention.
Perhaps one of the most notable changes that happened on the show is the shift in management. After the episode aired, Nino decided to step down from running the restaurant. His brother, Carmines, who was a chef at Nino’s for over 30 years, took over the management duties.
The transition was not without its challenges, but it appeared to have breathed new life into the restaurant, with many customers noting improvements in both the food and service.
The menu at Nino’s Italian Restaurant also underwent a transformation. While maintaining the traditional Italian dishes that customers know and love, they made a conscious effort to update and refine the offerings. The end result was a menu that celebrated classic Italian flavors but featured a modern twist – an approach that seems to resonate well with patrons.
The restaurant’s decor was also updated to create a more modern and inviting atmosphere. The dark and dated interior was replaced with bright colors and contemporary furnishings. If anything, the fresh look helped enhance the overall dining experience at the restaurant.
Not only that but they also made vast improvements in their online presence. They revamped their website and became more active on social media platforms.
Despite all their efforts, however, things didn’t last. They eventually closed their doors for good in 2016, just three years after appearing on Kitchen Nightmares.
As of 2024, their old Long Beach location is occupied by a coffee shop.