Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Last week, I saw a headline on The Charlotte Observer's homepage about “Restaurant Impossible coming to Pineville." For some reason, I didn't click on the article's link at the time, and then it slipped my mind. Until this morning I saw a friend on Facebook write on her wall that she was going to the taping of Restaurant Impossible this evening.

If you aren't familiar with the TV show, it's a top-rated series on Food Network, in which Chef Robert Irvine tries to save struggling restaurants around the country. The chosen restaurant is usually on the verge of financial failure to the point that it would have to soon permanently close its doors. Irvine comes in with a crew, shuts down the restaurant for two days, and spends that time and $10,000 trying to revive the business, doing everything from remodeling the place, re-training the staff, updating the menu, helping management work on maintaining budgets, etc. And again, he does all of this in two days, with camera crews taping, so you get to see all of the chaos, drama, and then the final product.

Robert Irvine consults with an owner during a past episode of Restaurant Impossible.

So back to how it had slipped my mind to read that Observer article. I pulled it up this morning, read it, and found out that the Pineville restaurant is Sweet Tea's Restaurant and Catering. I actually attended a wedding last month that Sweet Tea catered. The wedding was at a beautiful, historic mansion, and was well-planned from start to finish, including the delicious food that was served at the reception--it was a Southern-style menu. The wedding reception also had an open bar, staffed by Sweet Tea's. That's how I learned of the restaurant, after I saw the name on the bartender's shirt. I thought Sweet Tea's was an interesting name, so I asked her about it and she told me a little about the restaurant in Pineville and that they cater throughout the Charlotte area.

Today is day two of Restaurant Impossible's work at Sweet Tea's, with the grand re-opening scheduled for this evening at 7 p.m. According to an associate producer for the show who talked to the Observer, this particular episode will air in late February or early March. The series airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on Food Network.

I hope the restaurant is able to make a successful recovery, and I hope to visit there soon. There have been a couple of people on Yelp who've said they ate at Sweet Tea's over the last few days simply because they learned it was going to be the focus of Restaurant Impossible, including one reviewer who said he and his wife "wanted to see what the place was all about before it got fixed."


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