Sunday, 17 February 2013

US Season 6 - Sam's Mediterranean Kabob Room - CLOSED

Open or Closed: CLOSED
Location: Monrovia, CA

Episode Summary: Gordon visits a mediteranean restaurant in Monrovia, California owned by Sam Najarr and his family. He worked in the restaurant starting as a bus boy and decided to buy the restaurant in 1997. Business was good to begin with but slowed down and now the only staff he has left is made up of Sams wife and his five older children (his other 2 children are under 14) and as families do, they argue and they argue a lot! They also argue in front of the customers and resent being in the restaurant to help out their father as they feel it is holding them back from what they want to do in life. As Gordon leaves his hotel to travel to the restaurant, he is besieged by Sams children wanting to talk to him before he reaches the restaurant. They all have plenty to say about the problems at the restaurant but they mainly blame their father for the arguments. Gordon is shocked to discover that all the children all work seven days a week and are the only staff. They tell him that none of them want to work there anymore.

Gordon arrives at the restaurant and is greeted by Sam and discovers that he doesn't pay his children any salary as he can't afford to pay them. They all live at home with him and don't pay to live there. An argument breaks out over a smashed plate. Sam rates his food as a 9/10 and recommends a lamb shank to Gordon. Gordon notices that meat is spelt as meet on the menu and there are many other misspellings on there too. Gordon orders the Vegetable Combo, Lamb Shank, Gyro and the Top Sirloin Steak and Shrimp cooked medium rare. Gordon describes the decor as dreadful and depressing and hears the family fighting in the kitchen. The Vegetable Combo has canned eggplant and is dreadful and the falafel is bland with no seasoning. The Gyro is bought in from a company and is frozen, it tastes dry. The lamb shank looks anemic, is a bad colour and tastes like bland boiled lamb that should be sent back to New Zealand. The kitchen argues throughout and two tables leave. The steak is overcooked, solid and dry. The shrimp scampi is swimming in butter, it is also rubbery, hard and overcooked. His children admit they have given up and no longer care. They continue arguing through to the afternoon all the way through to the dinner service.

Gordon arrives to witness a dinner service and meets Sams wife. They all take it in turns to cook and the food is returned as undercooked or overcooked. Gordon discovers they have mouldy food in the kitchen so decides to discover the walk in. He discovers huge buckets of chopped parsley, bendy celery, soft cucumbers(?) and rotten lettuce. They try to serve raw chicken to a customer, the Chef shows his cooking inexperience as he says it is cooked on the outside so he thought it was cooked on the inside. They argue yet again after service and the argument overspills into the street outside. The next day Gordon sits down with the children and tells them to be honest with their father and explain that they want their lives and careers to go a different way as they are currently trapped at the restaurant. They are scared to stand up to him as they don't want to hurt him. Sam puts his foot down saying that the family rule is that he makes the decisions for the family. They all speak their mind to their father and there is a lot of tears.

Gordon gives the staff cooking lessons including cooking the kebabs on the skewer to keep them more juicy and to avoid the chaos there will only be one person cooking on the grill. The family are happy with the new food. Overnight, his team give the restaurant a huge makeover, with Gordon describing it as one of the biggest and most expensive transformations ever. The menu gets a makeover and is modern and contemporary. The staff sample the food and love it.

Relaunch night, the customers are raving about the decor of the restaurant and they love the food. The family are working well together in the kitchen. As Gordon is leaving he gives them the framed photo he took of them all. 

What Happened Next? 

In the following months, the children have been given time off and Sam is hiring for new staff. Yelp reviews since mixed with criticisms of the food and the service. The restaurant closed in January 2014.


  1. They sucked, so their clientele spoke with their wallets and sent them back to Libya.

    1. you are a complete moron, whoever you are.

    2. You suck, so the commentators here vote you go back to school and be re-educated, stupid bigot.
      Also one of the daughters was hot!

    3. They're Lebanese, not Libyan.

    4. Daughter was adorable. Only reason to go there.

  2. I still can't get over how young the mom looked!