Pantaleone’s Before Kitchen Nightmares
Pantaleone’s, in Denver, Colorado, was opened in 1985 by couple Pete and Paulette Fafalios. During those early years, the restaurant amassed a great number of awards and positive reviews which were put on a frame and hung on the wall.
Unfortunately, Pete was stuck in the past and believed that his pizza was still top-notch, despite the fact that barely anyone now visited Pantaleone’s. Those who did also complained of bad food quality which Pete dispelled, insisting that there was some other reason as to why people weren’t happy with the pizza. Even his son Josh and grandson Gabe agreed with the negative reviews on the establishment, and they were also frustrated by Pete’s stubbornness in the matter.
The restaurant’s problems brought a significant amount of stress to the family, and its failure could force them to sell the place and lose their livelihood. With no other choice left on the table, Pete and Paulette had decided to call for Gordon Ramsay and Kitchen Nightmares to turn their situation around.
Pantaleone’s on Kitchen Nightmares
Ramsay arrived at Pantaleone’s and shook hands with the Fafalios. During the meeting with the couple, Pete revealed that the restaurant was closed on Sundays and Mondays, with the former because he wanted to watch football. Paulette admitted that they also closed their doors during the afternoon so Pete could have his siesta. Josh, now 33 years old, still wasn’t promoted to head chef as Pete insisted that he will be at the helm no matter what.
While waiting for his food, Ramsay felt that the restaurant, which was virtually empty, had an atmosphere akin to a hospital room. Paulette also hung a creepy holographic clown portrait which was something you would expect in a haunted house than a pizza parlor. As for the food, the calzone had an obscene amount of undercooked filling, the incredibly-greasy thin crust sausage pizza was ridiculously large and as thick as a baguette, the meatball hero was described like a patch of grass after a cow relieved itself on it, and the linguini was like hospital food. As expected, Pete was insulted by the expert chef’s opinion of his cuisine and disagreed on everything Ramsay said about the restaurant and the dire situation of the Fafalios.
The next day, Ramsay did a little field work by going downtown where he had the public taste Pete’s pizza in comparison to two other similar dishes. Afterwards, he returned to Pantaleone’s to relay the results, and of course, Pete’s handiwork only gathered 10% positive remarks. After being threatened by Paulette and Josh in leaving him for good, Pete finally dropped his ego and vowed to change for good. Later on, Ramsay brought Pete and Josh to Las Vegas where they visited the popular pizza restaurant Rao’s and met with its owner Frank Pellegrino Jr. The father and son learned the importance of having a strong bond with each other when it came to running a restaurant. Additionally, while they were in Vegas, Ramsay gave the order to his team in renovating Pantaleone’s.
The makeover got rid of the restaurant’s depressing 80’s atmosphere and replaced it with a fresh, contemporary feel. Fresh coats of paint adorned the walls, while an assortment of signs added a modern hip vibe to the interior. The framed reviews and the scary holographic clown were taken down and replaced with pictures of Italy and the early years of Pantaleone’s. As for the menu, Ramsay reduced the food items and the portion sizes of the servings. He also provided a handful of new dishes that were modern versions of Italian classics. Finally, 1-800-Charity Cars donated a van to the restaurant so they can offer delivery services to hungry customers all over Denver.
During the relaunch night, customers immediately noticed the changes in the interior which were received with praise. Pete and Josh worked as a team in the kitchen, but the former was quickly overwhelmed by a large number of orders which caused his old attitude problems to flare up. This led to a miscommunication between the two and resulted in almost no orders being served. Ramsay summoned the pair outside and gave them some verbal lashing which did the trick in setting them back on track. Now, the orders were served in an organized manner, and the customers loved the fresh new taste of Pete’s pizza.
Pantaleone’s Now in 2023 – The After Kitchen Nightmares Update
Pantaleone’s was struggling when they appeared on Kitchen Nightmares in 2013. Despite claiming to make the best pizza in Denver, the restaurant was not doing well financially.
Not only did they have an outdated menu, but they also served poor-quality food. Internal family struggles didn’t help either. Thankfully with Chef Ramsay help, they were able to revamp the menu and streamline the kitchen operations.
After appearing on the show, the restaurant experienced an initial surge in business due to its newfound fame. The revised menu and improved operations brought about by Ramsay’s intervention also attracted new customers. The owners, Pete and Paulette Fafalios, reported an improvement in business and were appreciative of Ramsay’s help.
However, Pantaleone’s journey after Kitchen Nightmares was not without its challenges. Some customers missed the old menu and were resistant to change. Maintaining the high standards set by Ramsay also proved to be difficult for the team at Pantaleone’s. While they initially strived to keep up with the changes, over time, some old habits crept back.
Despite these challenges, the restaurant managed to stay open, which is a feat considering many establishments featured on the show end up closing down.
As of 2023, they are still open and serving customers at their Denver location. Customer reviews have also been positive, with many praising the restaurant for its food and customer service. If anything, their appearance on Kitchen Nightmares definitely helped turn things for the better.