You may recognize a few familiar faces when the TV reality show Restaurant Impossible returns to the airwaves with new episodes in December on the Food Network. Two Akron Children’s employees appear on the show which worked to rehabilitate Edgar’s restaurant located in West Akron.
The hospital’s Smucker’s Bistro Culinary Associate Marcy Fulton has a long history with the show and considers its host, renowned celebrity chef Robert Irvine, the reason she chose to attend culinary school.
“I have been a fan of his shows for years,” she said. “Chef Irvine is genuinely passionate about helping people live their best life, whether it’s improving their business, teaching them how to eat healthier and keep fit or encouraging them to follow their dreams. His example gave me the courage and initiative to take my life back at a time when I wasn’t sure it was worth even trying anymore.”
As a superfan, Marcy began following the show’s website and social media and watched for when they may be coming to a town near her.
“I have participated in 7 shows,” she said. “My first was in Cincinnati; I did 4 in the Pittsburgh area, one in Akron and one in Garrettsville.”
While being on a TV show may sound glamorous, Marcy’s role was far from it. The premise of the show is to makeover a restaurant in 48 hours for no more than $10,000. In addition to the show’s paid staff it also takes a crew of local volunteers to help clean, wash, paint, etc.
“Chef Irvine works with the kitchen staff to revamp staffing plans, sanitation practices, the menu, pricing and teach the chefs how to prepare the food,” Marcy said. “The production team, with the help of volunteers, takes care of the rest.
“For the Edgar’s makeover I worked a 6-hour shift cleaning, staining the backs of the booths and washing windows and light fixtures,” she added.
Marcy likens her role to meeting up with old friends because many of the same crew and producers still work on the show since the last time she volunteered. While Marcy worked behind the scenes, another Akron Children’s employee was featured in front of the camera. Food Services Supervisor Marcy Smith went to lunch at Edgar’s with a friend while the show was filming and had a poor experience.
“The kitchen was running behind and it took 45 minutes to get our food which it turns out wasn’t very good,” said Smith. “Although the restaurant seemed to have plenty of servers on hand, they weren’t very attentive to us.”
Due to their poor experience, Smith and her friend were invited back the next day for the grand reveal.
“Everything was completely different,” she said. “We were waited on right away; our food came out quickly and tasted great.”
In addition to some new menu items, Smith said she also noticed the physical restaurant seemed brighter and cleaner.
“The bar area was remodeled to be more modern and sophisticated,” she said.
The show revealed that the restaurant, which is owned by a local chef, has some debt and food costs running at about 72%.
Smith says this is where Irvine’s expertise comes into play.
“Half the problem for most restaurants is not pricing their menu properly,” she said. “You also have to figure in the costs of labor, utilities, equipment, rent and profit.”
Fulton says the best part of participating in the TV show is the people she has met.
“It’s very rewarding to come together with other people in your community to help a local business,” she said. “I highly recommend it to others should the opportunity come around again.”
For those who haven’t tried Edgar’s, it is located on the scenic Good Park golf course at 530 Nome Ave., in Akron.
Read more in this Akron Beacon Journal article.