Subscribe to Pleasure in Simple Things via RSS ReaderFollow Pleasure in Simple Things on InstagramFollow @InSimpleThings on TwitterLike Pleasure In Simple Things on FacebookFollow Pleasure In Simple Things on PinterestEmail Jackie

chef irvine in the house

May 4, 2012

field trip friday

I am slightly obsessed…okay maybe a little more than slightly… with shows on the Food Network.  That being said, you can only imagine how excited I was when I found out that Restaurant Impossible had chosen a restaurant IN CONNECTICUT to feature on the show!  If you haven’t seen the show, the premise is that a failing restaurant is transformed in two days with $10,000 and a lot of ingenuity.  Chef Robert Irvine stars in the show, revamping every facet – including the concept, décor (utilizing a design team), and menu to makeover the chosen restaurant.  Two days sounds like a quick turnaround to totally makeover a restaurant…and, it certainly is, but actually witnessing the process up close and personal rather than watching it on television makes the whole process even more amazing.

Stella’s updated look…with a lemon motif.


I drove by and checked out the activity during the two days the workmen toiled in the makeshift tents set up in the parking lot of Stella’s (the restaurant they transformed).  Everything seemed pretty low key…granted, the workmen were VERY busy, but there were no other people, like me,  that wanted to check on the progress…at least not while I was there.  A friend that lives near the restaurant said he saw Chef Irvine in the nearby Dunkin Donuts hanging out and being very personable, but unfortunately I didn’t happen to be buying coffee at the appropriate time to be able to witness his demeanor.

One of the tasty appetizers I enjoyed at Stella’s.

Anyway, it definitely was an impressive restaurant overhaul….not just in respect to the aesthetics of the place, but also updating the menu.  Chef Irvine tweaked the menu selections and gave suggestions on food presentation.   I think the part that impressed me most, when I actually sat down to dinner, was the energy from the employees….they certainly had to be exhausted and emotionally drained after the intense two days they had been through, but everyone was so friendly, and…the best word to describe them … energized.


It will be fun to watch the design team create this room divider when the episode airs in July.

The restaurant just needed a little attention to rediscover itself.  (Don’t we all!)  Who doesn’t like a good makeover?  A tired, dated restaurant benefited from an updated look and some new energy…breathing life into an old favorite.   I have to think the experience made the entire crew closer to each other and their community.  I will definitely be visiting the “new” Stella’s again.  Hopefully, this new-found energy continues beyond opening weekend.    The episode doesn’t air until July, but the photos here provide you with a sneak peek of the facelift.

Michael Savoie’s family has been in the restaurant business since 1919. He has owned and operated Stella’s since 1998.

The ‘energized’ Stella’s crew posing with Chef Irvine.


My favorite? Popeye Pizza made with fresh tomato, spinach, ricotta cheese & fresh garlic.