Over the summer, sophomore Katie Beaule’s summer job at The Windsor 75 restaurant was turned upside down when the restaurant appeared on the Food Network’s “Restaurant: Impossible.”
Beaule has worked summers at The Windsor 75 in Windsor, Conn., since her junior year of high school. After being hired as a hostess, she was eventually promoted to a waitress.
Last August, “Restaurant: Impossible,” the restaurant-improvement show hosted by chef Robert Irvine, came to The Windsor 75 to attempt to turn it around. During the course of its three-day visit, the crew identified the restaurant’s problems and worked with its owners and staff to find solutions.
The Windsor 75’s episode, titled “His Way or the Highway,” premiered Nov. 6, and will air again at 7 p.m. Nov. 13 on the Food Network.
Jack Curran, online news editor, spoke with Beaule about her time at The Windsor 75, being on the show and working with Chef Irvine.
Curran: What was it like when “Restaurant: Impossible” came to the restaurant?
Beaule: It was really interesting. The first day that they came, it was just the producers coming in and there were a couple of camera guys. Chef Irvine didn’t come that day, so it was basically them just coming in and getting orientated.
They had us act out certain things; so they would have me make a salad, and they would shoot me doing that, or they would ask someone to look like they were taking a phone call, so they would have different shots like that to put into the actual show. Then they did interviews with the family that owns the restaurant, so they made them up, sat them down and kicked us all out of the restaurant so they could do those interviews and have it be really quiet.
The next day was more intense, because they had the customers come in, and that was when we first met Chef Irvine. When he came in the restaurant, the production assistants were like, “He’s not going to talk to you right away, don’t talk to him, [the producers] want your first reaction of him to be on screen.” So the first time that he talked to us was when the cameras were on us and he was yelling.
JC: How was working with Chef Irvine?
KB: As a waitress, I really didn’t get to talk to him much, but my bosses worked with him, and they said how intelligent he was and how he actually is a super nice guy. He’s definitely really motivated and on schedule because they were only there for three days, so he was always telling the crew to do something. He was the guy who would say, “All right, go get this shot right now.” He definitely had a vision.
JC: What was the application process like?
KB: [The owners’] son was the one who put in the application. When the parents found out, they were super hesitant to do it. Obviously, because of the way the show is set up, they didn’t want to be portrayed as a bad family or anything like that, but they finally all agreed to it.
There was one day when the scouting people came to Connecticut, and I think they had a few restaurants in Connecticut that they were considering. So when they visited our restaurant, we had to wait to see if they picked us.
JC: How much would you say the restaurant was changed by the visit?
KB: They definitely hired more people, which if you watch the episode, that’s what you’ll see there’s a lot of. They also redid our service stations for the waitresses, which made the layout a lot easier. Now I think they’re attracting to a younger audience, which we definitely had more of an older crowd coming in a lot. That was one of the main things that would help them in terms of customers was if they got a younger audience in there.