On tonight’s all-new episode of Food Network’s Restaurant: Impossible, host Robert Irvine travels to Mamma Lucrezia’s Pizzeria in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania to help the restaurant survive and heal family rifts.
The Italian restaurant was first featured on Restaurant: Impossible back in 2014. At that time, Irvine was in town to check on Mamma Lucrezia’s, which was reportedly losing thousands of dollars a month, which caused rifts in families.
At the time of filming, Mamma Lucrezia’s was owned by Maria and Stefania, who are sisters. Their brother owned a competing Italian restaurant across the street.
During the episode, Irvine praised the food being served at the restaurant but had to concentrate on other issues surrounding the restaurant.
Some of the main changes he made was making the menu smaller as well as raising prices, which led to the restaurant being able to turn a profit consistently.
The Original ‘Restaurant: Impossible’ Mamma Lucrezia’s Episode Filmed In July 2014
Restaurant: Impossible originally visited Mamma Lucrezia’s on July 16 and 17, 2014. At the time, Irvine spoke with the Centre Daily about the renovations.
“Just when you go into a place that’s such a beautiful place with great people, you just want to make an impact on the community because it’s the community that makes an impact on itself,” he said.
He continued, saying that working with Maria, the owner, was great, but they made a lot of changes to the area. Irvine promised that the restaurant would be “the best restaurant in this area.”
“[It’s] the first time I really loved – and I mean it – loved the food,” Irvine added. “It’s exceptional. I’ve tried everything. This is going to be the place to be, hands down.”
Mamma Lucrezia’s was opened in 2004 and named after Maria’s mother, who died when Maria was six years old. Her brother opened the competing restaurant across the street in 2013.
In a Facebook post at the time, Maria wrote about how hurt she was about her brother’s decision to open a restaurant across the street.
“I want to make it clear that we are not in support of that business, nor do we have any affiliation with it,” she wrote. “Of course I can’t tell you to not visit my brother’s establishment and I wouldn’t do that anyway.”
Before ‘Restaurant: Impossible,’ Mamma Lucrezia’s Was Not Making a Profit On the Food
According to a Facebook post from July 2014, Mamma Lucrezia’s was not earning a profit on the food they were selling prior to Robert Irvine’s visit.
“Prior to Restaurant: Impossible coming to town our business was not profiting from the food, and we were selling exactly the same food that everyone else in town was selling…” Maria wrote. “Obviously hard work should make you a profit.”
She also said that she loved authentic Italian food and did not want to “serve food out of the freezer” anymore and spoke of the need to hire more people, which caused them to raise prices.
“Obviously to hire more people you have to be able to pay them,” the post reads. “Many of you have been very critical of my food prices, my staff, my delivery service, my take out service and small cost increase hence the reason for the need for Restaurant Impossible.”
The lengthy post concluded with a thank you to Restaurant: Impossible.
Mamma Lucrezia’s Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant Update: Reviews are Generally Positive
On all three of the main review platforms including Yelp, Google and Facebook, Mamma Lucrezia’s has positive reviews.
On Yelp, there are 60 reviews with a 4-star average rating. The most recent reviews on the service, however, are from 2019.
On Facebook, the restaurant has a 4.7 out of 5 star rating based on the opinion of 100 people. The most recent reviews mention the food being fresh and delicious, with some reviews mentioning the Ziti and eggplant Parmesan.
When it comes to Google Reviews, Mamma Lucrezia’s touts a 4.6 out of 5-star rating based on 144 reviews. The most recent review refers to the restaurant as the “Best kept secret in Centre County.”
Restaurant: Impossible airs at 9 p.m. on Thursday nights on the Food Network.