Sunday, 29 May 2011

US Season 4 - Kingston Cafe - OPEN

Open or closed? OPEN
Location: Pasadena, CA

Episode Summary: Restaurant owned by radiologist and Olympic athlete Dr Una Morris, her son Keone is the manager and they often do not agree on things especially as Keone wants to cook fresh. She runs her restaurant very strictly managing every aspect, the servers are in white shirts and ties. Gordon meets Keone first and he tells her it is his mothers management style that is the biggest problem. Gordon nearly drives past as it is not clear it is a restaurant. He arrives and sits down for lunch, Una reveals that she does everything even designing the menu. Gordon orders Jamaican patties, jerk chicken and Oxtail. He thinks the patties are gross and soggy and doesn't like their sauce either. The chicken was dry and overcooked and the oxtail was full of fat and everything was only luke warm.  Gordon heads into the kitchen and tells them he did not like the food. Keone tells Gordon that he thinks everything should be cooked fresh but Una cuts him down saying that Jerk chicken is meant to be dry, Gordon tells her it was dry and inedible. They argue and Gordon leaves.

He returns for a dinner service. As the orders come in complimentary overdressed salads are sent out in martini glasses, Gordon is not impressed with these. As food goes out it comes back just as quick as the food was cooked the previous night. Dr Morris has a go at Keone about Gordon expecting the food to be cooked fresh on the day. Gordon goes through the fridges and discovers that everything is in plastic bags. Gordon visits Una at her medical practice which is basically next door to the restaurant. He tells her she is in denial of the restaurant and needs to make big changes. She says she has put $300,000 and can only last another month. She breaks down and says that Keone isn't always dependable and does not care about her. He sits down Keone who admits he is not as committed as he was as Una is not running the place properly. He tells Keone the situation and tells him to focus on family first.

Gordon introduces a special BBQ menu with meat and fish cooked by Keone on the BBQ. In the kitchen they are still using the bags and that Dr Morris told them to serve day old rice and beans. The customers love the BBQ but are left waiting for disappointing food in the dining room. Gordon brings in a wheelbarrow of plastic bags and dumps them on the floor telling them to get used to cooking fresh. Overnight the restaurant is transformed and a new visible sign is introduces out the front. The menu is replaced with fresh Jamaican dishes and the staff are to wear tshirts instead of the formal wear.

They relaunch the restaurant. It starts to go well with appetizers going out quickly and liked by the customers. Soon, the tickets pile up and chef Daniel gets behind and the quality drops. Gordon takes Keone aside to tell him to step up, Dr Morris comes in arguing with him and Gordon tells her to let him find his voice. The kitchen gets back on track and most customers are pleased with the relaunch. Gordon praises Keone on his work but has a private chat with Dr Morris where he tells her to let Keone be more involved or let him go.

What Happened Next: Gordon revisits and meets Dr Morris, he finds out that Keone is no longer involved in the business as he is focusing on his education. All of the chefs are no longer working there as they were fired, in fact no staff at all are still working there. Gordon says the food is fresh, delicious and is more spicy. Gordon meets new chef Christie (need to check spelling). Dr Morris is very appreciative of Gordons help. Reviews are mostly good on the restaurant after the show. The restaurant closed in November 2012 BUT has reopened in November 2013, with a new dance floor, some new menu items but many of the old, themed night such as a jazz night and an expanded bar with a wider selection of drinks.

Extra Reading

1964 Olympics Womens 200 Metres Una came 4th

Love Hotel Hell? Visit my Hotel Hell blog here.


  1. Many negative reviews for Kingston Cafe. :(

    1. What are you talking about? 151 reviews of them are 116 in the 3,4 and 5 star level thereof alone 63 four star ratings!
      Maybe you didnt understand the yelps rating system at all.

  2. Gee, do you think "Anonymous" is Dr. Morris?

  3. Closed as of Nov 2012.

  4. Sad to say Kingston Cafe is now CLOSED

  5. Didn't realize that this restaurant finally closed. It had tough competition from the Saladang not far away, which was much more popular despite being an "Americanized" Thai restaurant (attractive to folks who like Americanized Asian foods).

    I did remember seeing the owner around the church that I attend in Pasadena. I think they probably scrapped KC and reinvented themselves as a lounge with a new name (as I saw on Yelp).

  6. People like that owner though are annoying as hell. They think they're above everybody else because they have a doctorate and usually think they're experts at everything.

    1. Yeah, until, they know... save your life.

    2. I think the woman is a nice person, and that was confirmed when she broke down & cried.
      Just because someone acts tough does not mean they are automatically bad. She had to be tough to survive losing her mom as a child, to be an olympian, to drag herself through school to become a radiologist. She's to be admited not hated.