Tonight on Restaurant: Impossible, Chef Robert Irvine and a small socially distanced crew travel back to Drake’s Place in Ferguson, Missouri to help the restaurant reopen after the COVID-19 shutdown.
The restaurant was first featured on the show in February 2020 after filming an episode in November 2019. During that episode, Irvine helped out owners Sonny and Bridgett Lewis, who wanted their son to step up and help more at the restaurant. The family was running out of both money and options for their restaurant.
The new episode comes as part of a new spin-off series from the usual Restaurant: Impossible titled Restaurant: Impossible: Back in Business. The spin-off replaces the original show for the time being since production was originally canceled in the early spring due to the coronavirus pandemic. In the new episodes, Irvine helps owners rebuild and restructure restaurants with new cleaning and sanitizing protocols in place.
“You know, we normally have a big crew production, anywhere from 50 to 100 people,” Irvine said in the premiere episode. “And yet, here we are with 12 people… They’re doing double duty to make this happen. But guess why we do it: We care about our Restaurant Impossible family.”
The Restaurant Is a Dream Come True for the Owners
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 cook and serve American cuisine, become close with his customers and give back to his community. In 2013, he bought the location for Drake’s Place and opened the restaurant in May 2014.
Also according to the website, all sauces are made in house and all the food is fresh.
“Drake’s place was built from a dream and a love of cooking,” the website reads. “Now that is a reality, we provide our customers with fantastic food and phenomenal service every day. We cook from the heart, which is why some of the featured items on the menu are named after Sonny and his wife, Bridgett!”
The Business Was Doing Well Post-Restaurant Impossible
After @RobertIrvine visited Drake's Place, the business was booming and things had improved. But then the pandemic happened, and now the restaurant is facing possible permanent closure 💔💔 See if Robert can get them Back in Business on #RestaurantImpossible, tonight @ 9|8c ✨ pic.twitter.com/ziUMGCMk4R
— Food Network (@FoodNetwork) August 20, 2020
During the new revisiting episode, the owners chat with producers about how Restaurant: Impossible affected their business and what happened amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“After Restaurant: Impossible, our business was doing so well that it practically doubled in revenue and sales,” Bridgett states. “But now, with the pandemic happening, that money has been consumed.”
She says they’re only allowed to have around 20 people in their restaurant at a time due to local ordinances and they’ve lost 70 percent of their business, which they say has been tough.
Drake’s Place Update: The Restaurant Has Very Positive Reviews
On Yelp, Google Reviews and Facebook, Drake’s Place has overwhelmingly positive reviews. Reviewers on Yelp mention the good food and cleanliness of the restaurant. Many of the reviews also mention Restaurant: Impossible as a positive influence on the restaurant.
On Google, Drake’s Place has 349 reviews and an average rating of 4.5 stars. The most recent review at the time of writing was left on August 18, 2020 and was a five-star review.
“Ms. Bridget and the staff were extremely friendly,” the reviewer wrote. “The food was amazing, I’m already thinking about what I’m having when I go back! Can’t wait to recommend this place to others. 5-star service.”
On Facebook, reviewers mention the “amazing” food and “lovely service.” Drake’s Place has a 4.9 out of 5-star rating on the platform based on the opinion of 123 people.
Tune in to Restaurant: Impossible Thursday, August 20 at 9 p.m. to see what changes Robert Irvine makes to the restaurant this time around and get an update on how they’re faring with the changes.