Joe Nagy will go down in history for the Mill Street Bistro episode from Kitchen Nightmares, but this former owner actually sued the show after the fact.
Kitchen Nightmares has certainly been responsible for making a few previously-unknown restaurant owners go viral through the years.
But there have only been a couple of times in the show’s history where fans have rallied against a restaurant owner, quite like the now-infamous Joe Nagy from season six’s Mill Street Bistro.
Between the incredibly hilarious farm-to-table micro-carrots, Joe’s insistence that he was “self-taught” by all of the best old-school European chefs, or really anything else that Joe said in this episode, the Mill Street Bistro episode (and by extension, the restaurant’s eclectic owner) will forever be considered one of the most entertaining episodes in Kitchen Nightmares history.
Why Joe Nagy sued Kitchen Nightmares
And, as you probably expected, the Kitchen Nightmares drama did not end when the cameras stopped rolling.
Joe actually sued Gordon Ramsay in 2014, alleging that after the Kitchen Nightmares crew had left the Mill Street Bistro, a box of meat went missing and the ceilings (which had been dismantled to install overhead lighting) were not re-assembled.
Joe also told the police that a Rondeau cooking pot (worth about £150) and a plastic tub which was filled with various types of elk meat, disappeared during the final moments of filming in a police report, which was filed shortly after the filming for the episode took place in 2012.
This lawsuit was quietly settled just a short while later, and the Kitchen Nightmares producers agreed to pay Joe £900 as compensation for the damages.
What happened at Mill Street Bistro after Kitchen Nightmares
Unfortunately, it seems like things went from bad to worse at the Mill Street Bistro after their Kitchen Nightmares intervention, as many of the staff members were fired and the restaurant’s reviews did not improve. Joe eventually sold the property in 2016.
|The “Mill Street Bistro, Part 1” and “Mill Street Bistro, Part 2” episodes premiere
|Mill Street Bistro is rebranded to Maple City Tavern
|The lawsuit is filed
|The restaurant closes its doors
|The restaurant is sold for a reported price of $140,000
Joe Nagy was not the first Kitchen Nightmares owner to sue the show
Joe was perhaps the first owner to have his restaurant featured on Kitchen Nightmares who turned around and claimed that someone involved in the production actually stole from the restaurant.
But this was not technically the first time that the Kitchen Nightmares producers found themselves in some legal hot water.
The legal counsel for Oceana (a restaurant profiled in an almost equally explosive episode of Kitchen Nightmares’ fourth season) confirmed in 2018 when they were busy suing the Kitchen Nightmares producers for a second time that they actually tried to prevent the episode from airing at all through a previous lawsuit in 2011.
In this case, the lawsuit filed included a defamation claim, and it did not make any mention of theft or physical damages to the restaurant.
What Joe Nagy is doing now
Except for the legal battle with the Kitchen Nightmares producers, Joe has largely kept to himself since the Mill Street Bistro closed down.
A now-deleted Reddit post seemingly confirmed that Joe eventually took his elk-burgers on the road, and that he was still somewhat involved in the food industry up until 2018.
However, there has been no real update about the restaurant’s former owner since then. Hopefully, the restaurant’s sale and the rather meager £900 compensation which he earned in the lawsuit, have allowed him to retire quietly on his farm.
Joe Nagy’s social media infamy
Just because Joe Nagy has chosen to stay away from social media, it does not mean that the internet trolls have let Joe and this incredibly meme-worthy episode of Kitchen Nightmares be forgotten.
Quite the opposite is true actually, as Joe’s lack of a social media presence has only served to leave a gap for a seemingly unending stream of meme-pages and joke accounts.
There is even one particularly active Facebook fan-account named The Joe Nagy’s Bistro, which regularly posts new content from Joe’s imagined point of view, and has over 800 followers.
And while you may think that the novelty of this episode would have worn off by now (it has been a decade, after all), it seems as though Joe’s brief appearance on reality television was simply too memorable for the widespread outrage and fanfare to die down anytime soon.
So it is probably for the best that he remains far away from social media.