Grille No. 13 contacted Robert Irvine and his show, Restaurant: Impossible, for help after the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is now doing well enough to expand.
The restaurant industry is ever-changing, and it can often be difficult for owners to adapt to new challenges.
Robert Irvine and his Restaurant: Impossible team helped Katie Pierce and her team at Grille No. 13 get back on the right track after 2020, and the restaurant is still open today.
Restaurant: Impossible’s mission
The restaurant industry is notorious for its tight margins and changing tides and it can be incredibly difficult, even for experienced restaurant owners, to keep the doors open when demand drops, and the bills start piling up.
In fact, The National Restaurant Association conducted a survey in November 2020, which found that 87 percent of full-service restaurants saw an average drop of about 36 percent in sales revenue following the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is why the accomplished chef and restaurateur, Robert Irvine and his group of designers and contractors on Restaurant: Impossible try to get to these struggling restaurants in order to change and help them before time runs out and the businesses are forced to close their doors for good.
What really happened to Grille No. 13 from Restaurant: Impossible?
While the COVID-19 pandemic, which took over most of the world in 2020, was challenging for everyone, it was especially challenging for small businesses which were forced to shut their doors for months on end due to operating restrictions.
Katie Pierce, the owner of Grille No. 13, which was located in Waldorf, Maryland, was one of many restaurateurs who approached Irvine and the rest of his Restaurant: Impossible team for help at the end of this difficult period.
By the time that Irvine and the team arrived to film the “Irish Eyes Are Frowning” episode from the show’s 19th season which featured Grille No. 13’s big makeover, Katie’s business was barely staying afloat.
This was after they were forced to shut down for three months in 2020, and Katie had to take some time off after giving birth.
Over the course of the episode, Irvine eventually got through to Katie about changing her management style and even ended up giving the restaurant a new, more focused identity.
After Robert left, Katie took all of his suggestions on board by promoting Donnie to general manager, hiring a dedicated baker and focusing on what makes the restaurant the most money, which is what has allowed Grille No. 13 to stay in business to this day.
Looking back at the filming of the “Irish Eyes Are Frowning” episode
Katie shared what it was like filming the Grille No. 13 “Irish Eyes are Frowning” episode of Restaurant: Impossible from her perspective in a 2021 interview with Eli Wohlenhaus.
In this video, Katie explains that everything that Irvine and the show did for her business was invaluable and that she was incredibly grateful for all of the new business that she was seeing because of it.
However, she also mentioned that filming for the episode was a grueling experience, with about 20 hours of filming and 10 hours of interviews packed into a very short 2-day filming period.
Has Grille No. 13 really improved after being on Restaurant: Impossible?
There are many different things that contribute to a restaurant’s success (or lack thereof).
But Katie has stated that Irvine definitely taught her how to be a better stricter manager, who could improve her restaurant by managing her staff more effectively.
And by the looks of Grille No. 13’s most recent reviews, this has certainly done the trick. Grille No. 13 had a rating of about 3.6 out of 5 on Yelp (before its recent temporary closure), though most of the 2022 and 2023 reviews give the restaurant a full five stars.
What is next for Grille No. 13?
A lot has changed at Grille No. 13 since the “Irish Eyes are Frowning” episode of Restaurant: Impossible aired.
Donnie continued to be the restaurant’s general manager after Irvine and the rest of the crew left, but Katie has shared that some of the other staff members who appeared in in the episode no longer work at Grille No. 13.
Grille No. 13 is also currently in the midst of a temporary closure, but the restaurant’s website promises that it will be re-opening very soon.
It seems like this closure is due, in part, to the restaurant moving locations and also to Grille No. 13 implementing a new carry-out dining option, which will be launching at 351 Smallwood Drive quite soon (hopefully by August of 2023).
The eatery also has plans to launch a brand-new pub location.