This is Effing Personal

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Oh, hey, man.

[laughs] The keys to runninga successful restaurant– great food, great ambience,great staff.

But today, people judgeyour restaurant before they everwalk in the door.

They won't give youa chance unless you haveamazing online reviews.

I'm Andrew Gruel,and I run Slapfish restaurant with my best friend and chef,Anthony Dispensa.

(Anthony)Andrew has a brilliant mindfor business.

(Andrew)And Anthony can whipany kitchen into shape.

With over 20-plus locationsin development worldwide, Anthony and Iutilize online reviews to createthe perfect experience.

One bad review can sinkyour business by up to 20%.

(Anthony)Which could mean the differencebetween staying open and shutting your doors downforever.

For restaurant ownersacross the country, it's really difficultto distinguish between the truth and what's justonline trash talk.

Tonight, for the first time,the owner of La Pescadora restaurantcomes face-to-face with her biggest online critics.

The sauceon those Chicken Enchiladas tasted like foil paper.

The corn mayo tasted likeyou bought corn from the dollar storeand squirted mayonnaise on it.

I expected youto come with your A-game because you took overa staple in or community.

That's bull[bleep].

I don't want to hear it.

(Andrew)Will April be ableto embrace her Mexican roots and turn around this over-Americanized processed food? – What's this right here?- That is frozen corn.

– Okay, so you lied to me.

– Yes, I lied.

(Anthony)Or will she riskclosing her doors and losingher family home forever? So.

I don't have to talk about it.

[upbeat rock music] ♪ ♪ [alternative rock] (Andrew)Uptown Whittierin Southern California has a bustling,revitalized main street.

With an up-and-comingrestaurant scene, trendy shopsand a historic movie theatre.

♪ ♪ With all that foot trafficand a large Mexican-American population,a family-run Mexican restaurant like La Pescadorashould be rolling in the dough.

(Anthony)But a barrageof bad online reviews is making peoplewalk right on by.

Reviewers say this Mexican foodlacks authenticity and freshness.

I orderedtheir Chicken Enchilada.

The sauce tasted like.

just straight out ofa metallic can.

It's almostlike tasting tin foil.



My beans were dry,cold, and crusted.

I ordered the fish tacos.

When it came,it smelt fishy.

Definitely not fresh.

(Anthony)And they're confused by the odd,Mexican-American concoctions Like bacon wrapped hot dogswith green bell peppers, mustard and chipotle.

(Andrew)Reviewers saythe staff is unwelcoming and apathetic.

For five minutes,we stood there waiting to be seated.

The finally seated usand started speaking Spanish.

Not knowingthat I knew Spanish.

At the very least,if you're gonna talk smack about me,go to the back.

(Andrew)So the ownerreached out to us to helpturn these reviews around.

Hey, Andrew and Anthony.

The online reviewersare killing my business.

My name is Apriland I own La Pescadora in uptown Whittier.

La Pescadorahas been a staple in the communityfor over 40 years, and five months ago,I bought it.

So the restaurantin its heyday was really good.

They say there used to be linesaround the corner and then, unfortunately,it started to dwindle.

I chose to sort of tweakmy menu from just Mexican to Mexican-Americanbecause that's who I am.

I'm Mexicanand I'm American.

It's kind of roughfor us right now.

Being the first five months,people don't understand that there'sgrowing pains involved, so people get very frustrated,leave me bad reviews.

Reviewers say our foodtastes fake or out of a can and that's so frustrating,'cause it's not, but unfortunately,they keep giving me one fork.

I could tell 'emwhat to do with the fork.

I invested $180,000of my retirement.

I gambled itso I could run this business.

I hired my brother-in-law,my niece, and my cousin Alexto be my lead server because I trust them and I knowthey'll work hard for me.

As of right now,I really don't take home a paycheck.

All my credit cardsare delinquent.

I'm behind on my mortgage,so I could lose my family home that I lived insince I was five.

I'd end up homeless.

Imagine the housewhere you grew up with your familyand you're the one that loses it over something you believed inand you failed at it.

It's devastating.

There's so much to loseand so many people counting on me.

Please help me.

I want to knowwhat's going on in here.

(Andrew)So after hearing April's plea, we're here in uptown Whittierfor four days, to help turnthese online reviews around.

– Hey, how you doing?- Hello, Hi! Is April here? Yeah, I'll go get her.

– Okay, thanks.

– Cool, thanks.

– How you doing?- April, how are you? – Hi, oh, my God!- Andrew, we got your plea.

We saw you upload it.

That's so awesome! So, talk to meabout these online review.

What's going on? Oh, my God.

The online reviews are horrible, and none of it's trueand so we're struggling here and I need help.

How are the online reviewsimpacting the bottom line? Oh, it's horrible,'cause people tell me, "Oh, we were gonna go there,but we saw that it was bad reviews,so we went somewhere else.

" – So.

– Here's a question I have for you:has your chef ever cooked Mexican food before? Um, I think he has.

– You think he has?- I know he has– I got to tell you,Andrew and I have to say, no, I don't think so.

We actually came here and dined,and I got to say, the online reviewers are right.

Yeah, the food wasreally bad.

– This is an eyesore.

– [laughs] (Anthony)Look at the hostess stand, man.

(Andrew)That's the first thingpeople are greeted by.

[wooden creaks]- Table a little squeaky, huh? The markof a great Mexican restaurant– Is the salsa! Those almost sound stale.

They are,and this salsa tastes like canned marinarawith dried chili powder.

It actually crawls upinto my sinuses and dies.

Why is there two differentstyles of menuing? This one's goingto be more Americanized, and this is justyour more Ameri–Mexican.

Is this a Mexican restaurant? Yes, it is.

So why do youhave American food? Uh, just to give peoplea variety of what they want.


How about the bacon-wrappedjalapeño? Uh, yeah, an orderof guacamole.

– Okay.

– And I'll take a corn mayo too.

WTF is that corn mayo? I was expectingthe full corn on the cob.

It's canned or frozen corn.

Bacon-wrapped jalapeños?That's junk bar food.

– Oh, my gosh.

– Look at that.

The doily is oily.

Did you see this chair? Looks like somebody tooka switch-blade to it.

So this is, like,an American take on nachos and throwsome French fries in there.

Hey, would you likesome shot-out steak? That's dog food.

That's awful, man.

That looks like airplane food, because airplane food ismicrowaved.

I thinkit actually looks worse than airplane food.

The rice was overcooked,the beans came out of a can, tastes like [bleep].

I can more authenticMexican food at a fast food joint.

Your enchilada platemade me want to staple my mouth shut.

Oh, wow.

Anthony and Andrew'sfeedback sucks.

I so want to hit them.

What nationality are you? I'm Mexican.

Is thathow your mom cooked? No.

This is my chef's food.

Yes, Tim and I together.

We got some peoplethat we want you to meet.

– Okay?- Okay.

But before that,what we're gonna do is, we're gonna take careof everybody's bill here.

– All right?[cheers and applause] I know that's exciting,we're gonna take care of your lunch, but.

The caveat isyou guys have to go.

What, what's going on? (Andrew)We're shuttingthe restaurant down and bringing inyour toughest online critics.

The turnaround isgonna start right now.


I think it's totally necessaryfor an owner to know about a customer'sbad experiences.

And if it has to be online,so be it.

I'm the number one videofood blogger in Los Angeles.

As a food video blogger,I cannot steer my followers wrongby sugar-coating a review.

I'm a nurse.

Not only can I take vital signs, but I can also tell whenrestaurants are flat-lining.

I'm actually happythat they're coming out From behind their computersto face me so I can tell themwhat they're doing to my business.

This is my livelihood.

This is my home.

This is my retirement.

These are my–my family.

This is [bleep] personal.

All right, thank you everybodyfor coming back to La Pescadora.

Each of you have posteda negative review about La Pescadoraonline or on social media.

The goal tonight isto open up a conversation about thingsthat need to be fixed.

So this is your chanceto say what you said online directly to the owner.

Let's kick it offwith the food.

Who here wants to start? Hi, my name is Jesh.

I gave this place one fork.

[sighs] The sauceon those chicken enchiladas was like an open tin can.

I mean, I tasted that sauceand it tasted like foil paper.

What is the saucefor the enchilada? So,can we ask chef that? Well, as the owner,I would hope you would know.

Yeah, so we do–we use chiles, we use tomato.

Fresh tomatoes? No, we use canned tomatoes.

I don't know what it is,but I know what's fresh.

Nothing was fresh.

Do you guys agree? You're all wrong,everything here is fresh, I'll tell you that.

Is your salsa fresh? – Well, sort of.

– Is it fresh? You just saideverything's fresh.

It's out of the can, yeah.

All right, so not everythingis fresh, then.

But it's not froze.

– It's not fresh, then.

– Yeah.

I'm beginning to wonderdoes April even know what fresh means? Seriously, it means morethat just "not frozen.

" Who here has actually hadthe corn mayo? Go ahead, stand up.

The corn mayo tasted likeyou bought corn from the dollar storeand squirted mayonnaise on them.

That's not true.

We don't do that.

We make a special mayonnaisefor the corn.

So, what corn do you use? – Chef?- Go ahead.

Why is she asking the chefabout that? As the owner of this restaurant,she should know every single ingredientthat goes into every dish.

What kind of corndo you guys use? Uh, white corn on the cob.

– Fresh?- Yes.

All right, that's surprising.

(Andrew)So, moving on.

Did anything on the menustand out as out of place? I orderedthe carne asada nacho fries, which was a fusionof American-Mexican.

Who thinksthat doesn't belong on a Mexican menu? It sounds like everybody herewants actually authentic Mexican foodand are just not getting it.

(April)Yes, but we're notthat Mexican restaurant.

You arethat Mexican restaurant.

The language on the menuis in Spanish.

– Yeah.

– The name is La Pescadora.

You're fashioning yourself asan authentic Mexican restaurant.

So, did anybody haveany issues with the service? I stood aroundfor around a minute or two and everyone was whispering,saying, "You get him," "No, you get him.

" And I felt kind of embarrassed,and I think eventually it may have even beena busboy came and got me and took me to my table.

I don't know if it's so muchthat we don't want to seat them it's like,"Oh, that's your table.

" Like, um,"I just took the last table," It's not like,"Oh, you take him.

I don't want to take this guy.

" But, to the guests, that appearsthat you're snickering.

There saying thatyou guys don't care about them, so there's somethingbeing lost in between, right? And as a result, you'resomewhat responsible, then, for those negative reviews.

It was something that happenedthat one day.

We were–they had a bad day.

It's not aboutexcuses here.

I know, but they're not–they're reasons, they're not excuses.

Again, we've onlybeen here five months.

This isn't just one review.

This is several, and this isn't just one day,this is five months of peoplehaving bad experiences.

You go to your joband be there five months and be like, "You're fired.

You've been doing such a bad job for five months.

"They give you time.

I mean, this is my family,and if I lose this restaurant, then they lose their jobs.

All for bad reviewsfor one day that we had a bad day.

– I mean, it doesn't take— And that [bleep] sucks.

It doesn't take five monthsto be nice to someone.

We're working on it.

It's better that you come to usand say, "Hey, can you call – you manager over.

"- Stop right there, 'cause with all due respect,I asked to speak to the manager and whoever came overdidn't care, rude.

I mean, I had no choicebut to write a review.

This is my cousin.

She put everythingon the line for this.

You're one person.

I've had multiple, multiple regulars before say, "What you guys are doingis huge.

" I am damn proud of her.

What she did–and you said you came in here before that,this place was disgusting.

But stop right there.

When I came in 12 years ago, there was no rudeness, the food was delicious.

I literally thoughtthere was a little abuelita in the backstirring a pot of beans.

As much as you feel likethis place is family to you, as a customer, April,I felt like this place was my house.

I was literally heartbrokenwhen I left and it didn't taste right.

It didn't tastewhat I knew.

I expected youto come with your A-game 'cause you took overa staple in our community.

– But it was a horrible staple.

– You know what? It was a horrible,horrible staple.

You know what?Visually, but food-wise, no.

That's bull[bleep].

I don't want to hear it.

to come with your A-game 'cause you took overa staple in our community.

– But it was a horrible staple.

– You know what? It was a horrible,horrible staple.

You know what?Visually, but food-wise, no.

That's bull[bleep].

I don't want to hear it.

I feel you're all wordsand no action.

You don't know me.

You don't know what– you don't even knowhow I got here.

How I ended up.

No, he doesn't,but he knows what– he knows his ownpersonal experience.

Yeah, but to sit there and saythat he doesn't think I'm gonna do anythingis insulting to me.

'Cause that's not true,he doesn't know me.

– Well, let's prove him wrong.

– Let's prove him wrong.

(Andrew)So let me ask you guys.

If we madea lot of these changes, the changes thatyou referred to, the changes thatall of you referred to, who here would be willingto come back and give this place a second chance? What do you think? Yep, totally.

Okay, so,we look forward then for you guys to come backand check this place out.

(Jesh)I don't know if there's hopefor La Pescadora.

They're so close-minded.

I mean, I don't know whocan get through to them.

After the town hall tonight,I think the biggest problem is their egos, for sure, because you cannot fix theproblems within until you acknowledge thatthere is indeed a problem.

I wanted to punchthat lady so bad.

I felt likeI was being attacked.

It looked likethey ripped your heart out.

[pop rock music] (Andrew)It's clearthat April's passionate about her restaurant,but I'm not sure if anything the online reviewerssaid last night has sunk in.

– Hey, what's going on?- Oh, hey, what's up? – How are you?- Good, how are you? – Grabbed you a coffee.

– Thank you.

Oh, thanks, I could usemy morning coffee.

So, how you feeling today? Oh, holy mother.

That was rough yesterday.

Didn't expect that.

Some of thereviews weren't true.

A lot of the food,they said that it was canned or this and thatwhen it actually wasn't.

I got to cut you off there.

I ate here, Andrew ate here,and I agree with them.

I mean, the food's off.

It's horrible.

I think that'swhere your wrong.

Some people are makingthe same complaint, but– There's a lot of excuseson your guys' end.

That's what the online reviewersare saying, and you guys got to change.

[pop rock music] This is gonna be tough.

There's a lot of denial here, and that's one of the hardestthings to break through.

Here's what we suggest.

(Anthony)First, people in this community want good Mexican food.

We need to persuade Aprilto go more authentic and get rid ofthat greasy bar food that she's serving.

(Andrew)And second, we want April to consider changing her decorto something that reflects more of her familyand her heritage and not someone else'srestaurant.

And third,we've got to improve service all around.

We have to finda creative way for the serversto engage with the guests so that we can kick-startsome really good online reviews.

While Andrew's workingwith the front of the house on service,I've got to get to the bottom of why April thinksthis food is fresh.

So, obviously,we got kind of beat down on the online reviewers, right? – [laughs]- Yes.

So, let me ask you a question.

Have you actually ever workedin a Mexican kitchen before? No, I haven't.

Did American.

A little Italian,a little Spaniard.

So when you actuallygot this job, did you actually doany research on Mexican food? Actually, no I didn't.

This is your kitchen.

You should know that, right? And the one thingwe got beat up on big time was what? The corn mayo.

The corn mayo tastedlike you bought corn from the dollar storeand squirted mayonnaise on them.

You said it was fresh corn,correct? Yes, it is.

All right, let me seeyou make this dish 'cause I got to see itto believe it.


I'm just gonna heat upthe sauté pan.

Put a little of drawn butter.

Is that processed butter? Yes, it is.

So I'm just gonna heat this up,get it a little hot.

So, Peter,do you like this dish? – Um.

– Are you proud of this dish? It was somethingI didn't want to put on the menu.

So, who came upwith this dish? Actually, I talked about it.

I wanted to do a corn,I like it in a bowl because it's easierto serve that way.

Take it over here,add the mayonnaise.

So now youtake processed mayonnaise.

Why would I cometo your restaurant if I know I'm getting that? So just right off the bat,technique-wise, you never mix metal on metal,spoon with the pan.

That can release metalinto the food and give it a metallic taste.

Okay, puta little drawn butter on top.

Oh, my God.

More processed product.

And then dumpParmesan cheese.

Which is probablyprocessed as well.

Is that fresh Parmigiano or.

No, it's processed.

Everything you have hereis all processed product.

It's gonna taste like [bleep].


(Anthony)So, why don't we do this? Let's go in the walk-in.

– Go ahead.

– Okay.

– You lead me the way.

– Let's go.

– What's this right here?- That is frozen corn? For when we have events.

It's a lot easierto run with the frozen.

I'd like to doa little comparison.

I mean, just offlooking at it, this looks like the same cornthat's there.

Yes, it does.

– And that's fresh corn?- This one is frozen.

– Okay, so you lied to me?- Yes, I lied.

I mean, as an owner,this would [bleep] piss me off.

I am mortified and embarrassedthat Anthony found a box of frozen corn 'causeI thought it was fresh corn.

And I'm annoyed with myselfthat I don't know these answers.

I should be on top of it more.

It makes sense why you guysare having problems.

– Okay, so you lied to me?- Yes, I lied.


If this was my kitchen,and someone lied to me, I'd fire them on the spot.

April is just as guilty.

It's clear she hasn't beenmanaging this kitchen at all.

I mean, right now,I'm a little concerned because to meit seems like you don't really know what's going onin your kitchen.

Do you know that, as the owner,what happens back here – is your responsibility?- Uh-huh.

I mean, you spend a lot of moneywith this restaurant.

– A lot on the line.

– Yeah, a lot.

Everything you have hereis all processed product.

– It's gonna taste like [bleep].

– Mm-hmm.

I don't wantto be the restaurant that's known for frozen corn.

It is really embarrassing.

So, let's make a change.

You like the idea of corn mayo, but let's make it better,more traditional.

So what I'm gonna dois I want to teach you how to make a Mexican elote.

It's likea Mexican corn on the cob.

It's gonna be hand-over-fistway better than your corn mayo.

I have some fresh corn.

What you're goingto do is you're going to take the corn and pull it backvery lightly.


And then pull itaround the side like this.

and we're gonna tiea little knot.

Yeah, look at you, you nailedit down first time trying.

And then take these corn andjust lace it with oil like this and grill thosewhile we're making traditional Mexican-mayo sauce.

First, we're gonna mix togetherthe Mexican crema and the Mexican sour cream to get that sweet, tangymayo flavor.

Then we're gonna addthe Cotija cheese.

Straight from Mexico,it's cow's milk and it's been aged.

Next thing, we're gonna addground ancho chile for a smoky flavorand fresh cilantro.

My concern is,when the customer orders it, they want their food fast, and the corn, cooking it thisway, like, do we tell them, "If you want to order this corn,it's gonna take 15 minutes?" No, no, no, you could havea few of these ready to go and then, you have oven, right? Yeah.

So you can actuallypop it in the oven an reheat it.

All right, so here we go.

We got this beautiful corn.

And now we're gonna spoon onsome of the sauce.

We got some nice fresh cilantro,fresh lime, and there you have it–fresh elote.

– Now, let's try this.

– Okay.

And see if this is a changeyou want to make.

All right, that's tasty.

– Crunchy.

– Crunchy, fresh.

The real question is, is this something you wantto put on your menu? I'm hesitant.

I like the way this corn looks, but I'm concernedthat we're going to go too traditional Mexican.

What I'm trying to say is thatI want to not just have Mexicansto come into my restaurant.

I want all culturesto come and enjoy our food because of the flavor.

Is it workingor is it not working? It's not working.

Okay, people cometo Mexican restaurants because why? Because they wantto eat Mexican food.

I'm grasping at straws tryingto get through April.

I hope Andrew'shaving better luck with the servers.

The goal for service is to create a relationshipwith the guest, and that relationship starts from the minutethey walk in the door to the minute they leave.

Reviewers slammedthis restaurant.

And everyone was whispering,saying, "You get him," "No, you get him.

"And I felt kind of embarrassed.

When you have serversthat are close friends, or family in this case,the guests can sometimes perceive that as beingunwelcoming or cliquey.

So the serversin this restaurant have to go above and beyond to really connect withthe guests.

So that's all about engagement.

You're the hostess,but when you're away from the front seating peopleand a guest walks in and the don't see anybody thereto greet them, immediately the relationshipstarts off on a sour note.

So, as a backup,all the servers need to be watching the door,waiting for a new guest to walk inso that they can jump up and greet them.

And so, like, if I walkedin the door right now.

It's just like, "Hey, I'll bewith you in second!" I mean really, really, kind oflike, shouting it out.

– Mm-hmm.

– Okay.

Let me hear you shout.

Hey, I'll be with youin a second.

Come on, scream at me,scream at me.

Hey, I'll be with youin a second! There we go, there we go.

You know what? – That's too aggressive.

– That was a little aggressive.

[laughter] It was a little aggressive,but that's the energy I want.

– That's the energy I want.

– [laughs] Dena smiles, everything.

What I want to do is,I want to show you guys how we can make guacamoletable-side.

Using guacamoleas the means through which we can communicatewith our guests, we can createa stronger relationship.

The better the experience,the better the online reviews, and the bigger tipyou guys get.

What I have right here, okay? These are all the basicingredients to a guacamole.

I want you guys allto make your own.

The key to a good guacamole,okay, it's got to be fresh, ripe,avocado, okay? Squeeze it,squeeze it right out.

Isn't that beautiful? Red onion, okay? Add a little bitof the roasted jalapeño in here.

We've got garlic, which islightly roasted right here.

Tomato, nice, ripe tomato.

Now, cilantro.

It adds an herbal feel.

A little bitof just fresh ground pepper.

That lime juiceis so important.

I mean you can even smell that,that fresh citrus.

Mm-hmm,it already looks good.

– Nice, thank you, thank you.

– [laughs] There we go.

See, my tip just went up.

[laughter] To finish it off, too, we add alittle bit of this pumpkin seed in there.

That adds a whole new dimension.

All right, guys.

Dig in.

Tell me what you think.

[crunching] It's really good.

It's just the bomb.

[laughter] This table-side guacamoleis the perfect way for the customersand the servers to connect.

But April keeps pushing backgoing authentic with the menu.

Like, I want to be ableto come into your restaurant and say, "Wow, that's awesome,I want to come back there.

" But right now, what peopleare doing is they're coming, there eating, they're like, "I'm never going tocome back here.

" But if you're actually doingone thing right.

– Yeah, but I want— Traditional classic dishes.

– Yes.

– Then people are going to come to you.

You have that great history.

You should show your heritage.

In my house,we always had Sunday meals, so beinga first-generation Mexican, there's stuff that we had thatall Mexican people don't eat.

I want to see–I want to seesome of your dishes and could we actually cometo Sunday dinner at your house? Yeah, totally.

Let's do it.

[rock music] ♪ 'Cause she feelslike lightning ♪ When we found outwhat April was eating at home with her family was differentthan what she was serving at the restaurant,that's when Andrew and I got a little curious.

(Andrew)So we asked herto throw together a little family potluckso that we could try and spark some inspirationfor these new menu items.

I can't waitto meet April's family.

You and me both.

– Hey, guys!- Hey, how you doing? – Hey, how's it going?- Good to see you guys.


Welcome to my house.

– Yeah, nice.

Mi casa es su casa.

I've lived heresince I was five.

A lot of the great memoriesthat we have are always around the dinner table.

(Anthony)This is a great spread.

– This is my mom.

– Hi, Anthony.

– Anthony, Marta.

– Hi, I'm Andrew.

(April)She's a great cook.

She learned from my grandma.

My beloved grandmother,Mami Eva, brought her family recipesfrom Coahuila, Mexico.

[upbeat music] – The chiles rellenos.

– Beautiful.

I hope they're not too hot.

That looks unbelievable.

(April)The green rice,it's a family recipe.

My grandmother is famousfor her green rice.

She was 98 years old,and poor thing, they'd call her and say, "Grandma, don't forgetthe green rice.

" How you like the green rice? – Unbelievable.

– Everything, everything.

– Unbelievable.

– This is the food you should be servingat your restaurant.

(Andrew)You've got all these phenomenal dishes, you've gotall these great recipes that have gone throughgenerations in your family.

Do you have the recipes? Years ago, I mademy grandma write 'em all down.

I imagine you have this book in a safety deposit boxsomewhere.

I have it in the house.

(Andrew)Oh, man.

We got to see this.

Let me go get it.

[country music] ♪ ♪ So this is it.

See, how she did in Spanish? Can you read us a little bitfrom this recipe? Nopalitos con chile colorado,which is cactus with a red sauceon top of meat.

She put, "It's muy bueno.

"It's really good.

– [laughs]- Really? – Which I love, yeah.

– Double star.

– That's great.

– Yeah.

But do you seehow special this is right here? Oh, totally.

That's why it's, like,put away and– I mean, this is awesome.

You got a handwritten recipebook from your grandmother, and you're actually servingnacho fries.

April has misjudgedwhat the diners want.

I ordered the carne asadanacho fries, which was a fusionof American-Mexican.

Who thinks that doesn't belongon a Mexican menu? And what they wantis authentic, fresh food.

The same type of foodthat's being served right here in her house.

We've got to getto the bottom of this.

Why in the heckis April shying away from these amazing recipes? (Anthony)April, this is the foodyou need to be serving.

What's holding you back? It'd be so hardto use my grandma's recipes at the restaurant.

It's a gamble.

I know what we like,and your accustomed to your family food, but I'm afraid thatcustomers may not like them.

I would hate to be wrongand everybody hate it.

If I don't succeed,then I lose everything.

If I don't pay the mortgage,then I lose the house.

I love this house,this is my home.

I've lived here for 40 years,and it's not just a house.

– It's not just, you know.

– I know.

– A room, like, where I live.

– There's history here.

Yeah, there's total history.

And to tell my sistersand my mom, "Hey, I lost the house.

" – Holy moly.

– Wow.

There's major financial stakes.

Yeah, it is,it's scary, it's really scary.

Um, there's nobodyto help me, you know? So it's not likeI have a husband to help me pay my bills,so I have to pay 'em myself.

What does your familythink about everything thatyou've risked? They're nervous for me.

We don't really talk about it.

'Cause I don't wantto worry them.

Especially my mom.


I don't ever talk about it.

What does your familythink about everything thatyou've risked? They're nervous for me.

We don't really talk about it.

'Cause I don't wantto worry them.

Especially my mom.


I don't ever talk about it.

I've never been one,my whole life, to ask for help.

– Yeah.

– It's just not who I am.

You don't have to.

You're sitting on a goldmine with that recipe book.

– Yeah.

– [laughs] Honestly, that's the foundationupon which you can build an incredibly successfulrestaurant.

You just need to trust it.

The unknown is scary,but this is my last chance to changeand make it better.

Thank you.

Hug it out.

There was oneof grandmother's recipes that really stood outto Andrew and me.

We've asked Aprilto show it to us.

I'm gonna put you guysto work.

– I love it.

– Think you can open it or not? You guys can cut the chiles.

(Andrew)What kind of chiles are these? (April)These areCalifornia whole chiles.

– Chile pods.

– Okay.

We're gonna put 'emin the pan.

April's family is originally from Coahuila, Mexico,which is cattle country.

So a beef dishwith cactus, nopales con chile colorado,makes total sense.

First, we're gonna createa chile sauce.

Oh, I need to get some onionsand some garlic.

I'm gonna put these chilesin the hot water.

Let it steep.

So you toasted up those chilesto get the oils out, to get 'em nice and fragrantand toasty and now your just gonnasoak it in the water – so they can steep?- Correct.

You writing this down? Oh, I'm writing it down, buddy.

– Just drop them in.

– Come on, Andrew.

(Anthony)You're slacking over there,buddy.

– Put that in here.

– Okay.

So the cactus isin the fridge.

And for thatwe dice that up.

Next, we're gonna dicesome cactus called nopales, then we're gonna sauté ituntil it becomes tender.

Well, I need to cook morewith nopales.

And these areincredibly healthy.

Then we're gonna throwthe flank steak on the grill, which has been marinatedin a mixture of garlic, vinegar, and beer.

This marinade itselfjust smells unbelievable.

(April)Everything goes in the blender.

And you're going to addthe chiles into this as well? Correct.

[whirring] (Andrew)Mix the sauce with the nopales,and I'll cut up the steak.

And now let's plate it.

Go ahead and poor that nopales con colorado on top, and garnish itwith fresh cilantro and lime.

We have to dig into thisreal quick.

Well you should alwaystry it first – before you send it out.

– Exactly.

– Wow.

– Wow, that's so good.

– It's amazing.

– Online reviewers said that your food wasn't authentic,it lacked flavor, and it was bland.

This is bold.

The flavor is overwhelming.

It pops.

I can still taste itin my mouth.

This is a guaranteedfive-fork dish.

So how do you feel aboutputting this on the menu? – I'm excited.

– You want to do it? – Yeah, I think so.

– I love it.

– Well, I'm proud of you.

– Thanks.

Good job.

Now, April's smilesays it all.


She's letting go of her fear and committing to bringing herfamily's dishes to La Pescadora.

It seems to have lit a fireunder her.

Now it's time for herto bring that same passion and authenticity to the decor.

We got a–whoa,this thing's heavy.

We're just–you know,we're starting to kind of clean things up and startwith a blank slate here.

So, talk to meabout the decor.

What do you wantto gain from this? What is your brand? (April)I want to be Mexican,but fresh, new, modern Mexican.

Just becauseour menu's authentic doesn't mean our decor needsto be traditional Mexican.

So, what do you thinkabout this exterior? Look at how dirtyand tired it looks.

(April)It looks rundown.

I think one wayto let people know there's changes happeninginside–we paint the outside.

(Andrew)I agree.

(Anthony)So what color's are youthinking about? Some teal or some blueor something like that.

– That's— Teal or blue, I like it.

All right, so we got a little bit of workahead of us.

Just kidding, a lot, okay? Anthony and I are gonnatake things from here.

We're gonna bring in our crew.

We're goingto start to renovate.

But you have a lot of workahead of you because you need to getwith your family and your chefand work on those new dishes for your new menu.

(Anthony)A-game on! – A-game.

– A-game on! [rock music] (Andrew)April wants La Pescadora to have a modern feelwhile still tying in her family rootsfrom Coahuila, Mexico.

So we took inspirationfrom the Aztec print blankets made there withthis bold graphic wall covering.

(Anthony)Then we're using The blanket tasselsas inspiration for the unique focal pointon the opposite wall.

Did you just brush that one? I did to make sureit was all square and even.

(Andrew)Next, we're installinga live-in wall to highlight the archways.

Living walls are a huge trendin restaurants right now.

(Anthony)This lavender and whitepaint color will freshen up and modernizethe look overall.

(Andrew)We're buildingall-new cedar tables.

– I love these tables, man.

– I know, I absolutely love 'em.

(Andrew)And these mid-centurywill add a modern feel.

These chairsare freaking awesome.

– What do you think?- That looks awesome.

(Andrew)There's nothing likemodern contemporary Coahuila.

We only have a few hours leftbefore the grand re-opening.

I really hope we capturedApril's dream for this place.

So I'm really nervousabout the renovations because what ifit's not what I want? What if it's not me? Everything's at stake.

If I don't make this work,then I've lost it all.

I've lost my moneyand I let my family down.

This is it.

♪ ♪ (all)Wow! – Look at the colors!- Wow.

– Hey.

– Hey! How's it going? Wow, looks greaton the outside.

I love the color.

(Andrew)Before, the yellowand orange paint felt dated.

Now, we've freshened it upwith a new color palette to advertise the changesthat are happening inside.

Walking across the street,it doesn't blend in to the rest of the buildingson this street, so.

– Stand out.

– Yeah.

(April)It totally stands out.

All right,let's go check this place out.

Let's take a look.

[gasps]Wow! (all)Wow! (April)Awesome.

– This is fabulous.

– Nice.

I can't believe it.

I'm gonna cry.

It's okay.

This is so wonderful.

Your dream.

– Your dream's come true.

– And it's good.

(April)I love the tablesand the chairs.

(Andrew)These tables are hand-builtfrom cedar wood.

These obviously aren't tablesyou're going to find at any restaurant outlet store.

These chairs aremid-century modern.

What's nice about them:they're easy to clean, they're veryrestaurant friendly, but their unique.

They're one of a kind.

Not gonna see duct tapeor foam coming out of these chairs.


(Alec)I love the wall.

It's the focal point.

You see green.

You see life.

It's aliving, breathing wall.

Yeah, it's awesome.

I love it.

(Marta)Did you see the tasselsover there? – Yeah.

– So colorful.

I collect allthese little Mexican dolls and that's what itreminds me of.

Wow, the room looks great.

Really gives it a lot of colorand a lot of pop.

I could never have done thison my own.

Come on over.

We've got a new POS.

– What?- It's a two-touch POS system.

– Oh.

– Wow.

I mean, this isa big deal tonight because we gotthe grand re-opening, and the way it is right nowonline, your forkage is low.

Forkers are at one,and that's horrible.

We got to get those forks upto four and five.

I think this if definitelythe step in the right direction.

Then we have a lot of workto do on grand opening.

You guys ready? – Yep.

– Yes.

[soft instrumental music] ♪ ♪ April brought in her momto make these family recipes work for the restaurant-sizedportions and still maintain that homemade taste.

Chicken stockto give it some flavor.

Put some onion in thereand cilantro.

So we blend thislike a puree.

Pour it in there.

So, now we're gonna let itsimmer for 15 minutes.


Sounds perfect.

Why don't we takea little culinary journey through some of these dishes? We can weave in and outof Coahuila.

(Anthony)Before, when we actuallyhad the chips and salsa.

It was watery.

It almost tasted like it was a Marinara sauce.

And now we actually havethat great family recipe that we used.

(Andrew)We've got the salsa de nopales, you've got the roasted cactusin there, and a lot of flavorsand texture, it's bold.

And you don't get thatat every Mexican restaurant.

– No, you don't.

– And I don't want to be a typical Mexican restaurant,so that's good.

So before,we had the frozen-style corn swimming in mayonnaise.

(Andrew)Now we've got this great elotes, which is the grilled corn.

Comes with a nicefresh sauce on there, which is crema,the Cotija cheese, and ancho-chile powder.

It's so flavorful,nice an crunchy.

All right, so before,we had the enchiladas, right? To me, it was very dry chickenwith obviously some type of a canned saucethat went on top.

You came up with a great dishthat was from your grandmother's recipe, then we came upwith the carne asada.

Top it off with poblano peppers and cactusand some fresh cilantro, and the sauce is fresh,authentic.

It sounds likewinner, winner, cactus dinner.


(Andrew)And then we also havethe puerco de rotizida, which is thebraised-pork tacos.

This is over the top.

This is buzz-worthy foodright here.

This taco's really good.

(Andrew)And we also havethe chiles en nogada, which is the poblano chilestuffed with a little bit of jack fruit, herbs, cheese.

We've got a walnut creamon there.

The reason we usethe walnut cream and the pomegranate seeds, because those are bothingredients that are indigenousto Coahuila.

There you go! (Andrew)All the entrées are servedfamily-style, and they're served with our braised black beansand green rice.

(Anthony)For dessert, we have tres lecheswith fresh caramel– white cake soakedin whole, sweetened, and condensed milk.

With vanilla bean and rum.

This is authentic.

What do you guys think? You know,if my mom were here, she'd be beaming.

And that's somethingI think that we need to talk about withthe online reviewers tonight.

Make sure we getthe story behind the food so that people knowit's one of a kind.

Just wait till they taste it.

They're gonna love it.

I'm putting my hearton the table.

I'd be really hurtif people criticized my grandma's recipes.

But my grandma would say, "Dale ganas.

" It loosely means,"give it all you got.

" All right you guys,finish up.

We got to get this place ready.

We have to get these onlinereviewers to change their ratingsfrom one fork to five forks.

It's not just my nameon the line, now.

It's my grandmother's recipes.

So front of the house, I really want you guysto go out there.

Give best foot forward.

Greet them, smile.

And back of the house, these are delicious,so keep it up and let's get the service goingfor tonight.

Let's go! [dramatic music] Before it didn't seemlike April had much of a sense of what was going onin her restaurant.

Now, she needs to be looped inon everything.

No more buryingher head in the sand.

I'm nervous to gointo the grand re-opening because I do careand I'm really afraid of what online reviewersare gonna say.

They're the onesthat could make or break my business with their reviews.

– Hello.

– Hi, welcome to La Pescadora.

– For two?- Thank you, yes.

I'm anxious, I'm nervous,I'm excited.

I have so muchto prove today.

I have to prove thatI'm going to make this happen, but it's really scaryto use my grandma's recipes.

What if other peopledon't like 'em? Oh, my God, dude! [upbeat music] (man)Look at–look at the green.

Here's your menus.

We have new stuff, so check it out.

Before, guests feltservice was cold and impersonal.

Hi, welcome.

I like it, it's cute.

– Is this, like, a marble?- It's called a molcajete.

– Mm-hmm.

– So, back in the day, they'd actually get this thingand they'd mash.

So, it's, like, super authentic? – It's super authentic.

– Yeah, yeah, yeah.

(Andrew)Now the servershave an opportunity to create a relationshipwith the guest and tell the storyof the restaurant while they're makingthe guacamole table-side.

Do you know what you want? – Chiles en nogada? Nogada? Yeah.

I would literally come herejust for this.

– How's it going?- Yeah! – This, I love this.

– Good.

But preparing fresh ingredientstakes a bit more juggling, and the kitchenis in the weeds.

Alex, table nine.

[intense music] Coming right up.

[speaking Spanish] Don't burn 'em.

[speaking Spanish] – Thank you.

– Where's the rice? Oh, excuse me, sir? So, we ordered our entrées,but I noticed it says they're served with rice verdeand black beans? April is clearly greatwith the guests.

She's making themfeel welcome.

She'd getting themexcited about the menu, but I have yetto see her check on the kitchen.

(Anthony)How we doing in here? Good, good.

You know that peopleare actually getting their entrée portions and they're not gettingtheir rice and beans.

Oh, [bleep].

Why is that happening? I just got cut offwith the entrées and forgot.

I need youto nail that down, all right? – Yeah.

– 'Cause customers are getting aggravatedout in the front.

As the owner, you have to bethe bridge between the front of the houseand the back of the house.

Okay, so the kitchenseems buried.

The dishes are coming outwithout rice and beans, okay? But I don't think anybody'smissing rice and beans just yet.

April's going backto her old habits of ignoringwhat's going on in the kitchen.

She's got to get back there.

She's got to lead this team.

– Right here.

– Just set 'em right there.

There all goingto table one.

Oh, but it does have meat.

The chiles en nogada.

Yep, go,and I got two more coming up.

(April)Notice the recipesare my grandma's recipes.

– Where's your grandmother from?- From Coahuila.

One more right there.

This is so frustrating.

Things are failing,and I can't be the one that's keepingthis kitchen afloat.

Get April back here.

You know what? We're missingrice and beans on a few tables.

(April)No, oh, my God.

All right, let's find outwhat tables they are, and let's get on top of it,all right? – All right, let's do it.

– Let's go.

Let's go, go, go.

Find out exactly what I needright now.

Let's go.

(April)It's really stressful right now to see that platesaren't coming out right.

All right, look.

That goesto table three, go.

– That looks good.

– Rice and beans here.

And I got you guyssome rice and beans.

There you go.

Now she's acting like an owner.

All right, here are your beansand rice.


We actually ordered our meal, and we thought it cameas, like, a side.

I think that there wasa disconnect in communication in front of the house that theyget the rice and beans to go with the plates.

So I apologize for that.

This is really good.

Holy crap.


Now it seems like hergrandmother's recipes are a hit.


(April)It's such a good feelingto see the restaurant full and full of life.

You could call us Stella,'cause we got our groove back.

Order up, two nogadas.

How many forkswould you give this? When I came herethe first time, I gave it two.

Without a doubt,it's a solid five now.

They really upped the anteon the table-side service.

I felt attended to.

I felt like they caredabout what I wanted.

Have you had food like this, this authenticat any other restaurant? Yes, and that's whyI love it, 'cause I have another locationto go to.

Now, what do you think,fork wise? Five forks, for sure.

– Five forks?- Yep! The carne asada with nopales,the cactus, is delicious.

Reviews seemto be turning around, but what about Cindy, who was so disappointedin La Pescadora? I was literally heartbroken when I leftand it didn't taste right.

What do you thinkabout this green rice? Oh, my God, so good.

And the beans are fantastic.

So you don't feel like it's kind of out-of-a-can,off-the-shelf Mexican food.

– Absolutely not.

– How many forks? I think this time around, I'm gonna give ita good strong four.

Everything was fantastic,very authentic.

It tasted like maybeher grandma was back there cooking the food.

The one thing I will say,though, is, the service– they need to just kind ofupgrade it a little bit.

I took a big riskusing my grandmother's recipes, but it totally paid off.

Grandma would like it, then?She'd be proud? Grandma would be–She's smiling.

She's smiling right now.

Listen, you guys,you were a little bit afraid of the kind of authentic foodin here and everything coming together,but how do you feel? It's really heartwarmingto hear how much they love my grandma's green riceand grandma's recipes.

They really enjoyed them,and that was really– And you knowwhy they loved 'em? They're classic,traditional dishes.

My grandmawould be so excited that the restaurant'sdoing well with her recipes.

She'd probably ask mefor a cut of the money.

We really appreciateyou letting us in, okay? Get in there, oh! [laughs]Thank you.

Hi, Anthony.

Hi, Andrew.

Business has been booming.

Sales are up 15%,and we're getting busier and busier every day.

People are really lovingthe new menu, especiallymy grandma's green rice.

They're loving the authenticityof the food.

The serviceis much better now.

We really trainedall the staff to make sure everybody'son point.

Our online reviewsare better.

We had two and half forksbefore, and now we're upto four and half.

As of right now,I'm still keeping my house.

My bills are paid.

My mortgage is paid.

It's such a relief to know that I'm in better shape,that I'm going to be okay.

I wouldn't be where I'm atif it wasn't for you.

I really appreciate it.


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