Chef Robert Irvine and the crew of Food Network’s Restaurant: Impossible came to the rescue of Drake’s Place in Ferguson, Missouri. The episode airs on Thursday, Feb 13, 2020 at 9 p.m. on Food Network.
According to the episode synopsis, Irvine showed up to help Drake’s Place, which was a beloved community restaurant, since it was close to having to close for good. The owners, Sonny and Bridgett Lewis wanted their son to step up and help more, and they were running out of money and options for their restaurant.
According to Drake’s Place’s website, Sonny Lewis started working in small restaurants when he was just 14 years old. He was working as a dishwasher when his manager asked him to fill in as a chef. For the next four decades, Lewis worked with food in hotels and country club as a sous chef, executive sous chef and executive chef.
Lewis wanted to start his own restaurant where he could serve American cuisine, become close with his customers and give back to his community. He finally realized that dream in 2013 when they bought the restaurant where Drake’s Place now is. They opened their restaurant in May 2014.
The Episode Was Filmed in November 2019
Filming for the Drake’s Place episode of Restaurant: Impossible started on Nov 5 and continued through the next day. Since they only get 48 hours total, filming happens very quickly.
According to a tweet from Irvine, Drake’s Place had struggled to make a profit for the first five years after opening, losing $1,000 a month and ending up over $60,000 in debt. He said the owners made less money than their employees did.
He also said the family depended on the restaurant for all of them, but they didn’t know how long they would be able to stay open if they didn’t make changes. “They have been standing strong since the Ferguson riots,” he said.
After the renovation, the owners took to Facebook to thank the community.
“We want to say thanks to all of the wonderful volunteers who helped with the renovations at Drake’s Place Restaurant!!! You guys are awesome and we are blessed to be part of this community!!! Although we are thrilled with the outcome, we are not allowed to post pictures yet,” they wrote.
Reviews Since the Renovation are Positive
On Google Reviews, Drake’s Place has 4.5 out of 5 stars with almost 300 reviews. In the last four months, all reviews except one have been three-stars or higher. The one one-star review did not include a comment.
Positive reviews say that the food is good and service was great. One five-star review reads “This is Ferguson’s best kept secret the food is simply delicious! And the owners make sure that it meets your appetite!”
Reviews are also positive on the Yelp page. While there are only six reviews since November, they are all five stars. Yelp user Brocklon C. wrote that they’d been trying to get to Drake’s Place for months and finally had the chance to go.
“I got the fried catfish dinner, it was delicious it came with two sides (potato salad and Caesar salad is what I opted for.) It was all great! My wife had a burger with a house sauce on it that she said was fabulous. The food was fresh and hot, the bill was very reasonable too. We will be back soon!”
The Facebook page for Drake’s Place is rated 4.9 out of 5 based on the opinion of 165 people. Some of their recent posts are highlighting their fried shrimp and catfish combo, BBQ ribs and Cajun catfish sandwiches. You can view the full menu for Drake’s Place on their website here.
Tune in to Restaurant: Impossible on Food Network at 9 p.m. to see the renovations and updates.