Meglio's Gets Food Network Makeover...and Gut Check Interview

Categories: Media

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Food Network
Robert Irvine pumps up John Meglio (left) on Restaurant: Impossible

Food Network's Restaurant: Impossible, the makeover show for struggling restaurants, hosted by Robert Irvine of Dinner: Impossible fame, aired its episode featuring Meglio's Italian Grill and Bar (12490 St. Charles Rock Road, Bridgeton; 314-344-1010) last night. With a two-day timeframe and $10,000, the episode's mission was to revamp the Bridgeton restaurant's menu, décor, staff and management.

Meglio's is owned by John Meglio, who opened the place in order to carry on the family culinary tradition: The Meglios owned and operated Luigi's restaurants from 1953 to 1981. The show focused on John Meglio's lack of experience and the restaurant's identity crisis, and both concerns culminated in the revelation that most of the menu items -- even the toasted ravioli! -- were being made from frozen ingredients.

Irvine kicked Meglio out of the restaurant for 48 hours while redecorating and retraining the staff. The celebrity chef instructed the kitchen crew how to fillet a fish and cleaned up the menu. (Click to view new menu; you can tell it's mod from the Papyrus font!) The Luigi's pizza was the only dish on the original menu Irvine deemed acceptable; he consoled Meglio by noting that that the treasured family recipe is "not bad."

Host Irvine is a mass of incongruities: in need of good PR, and the corporeal equivalent of a mullet -- nerdy Brit from the neck up, Venice Beach physique below. The drama of last night's episode was manufactured and consisted of Irvine barking at his interior decorator about money and time constraints and fretting that they'd miss the (arbitrarily scheduled) "grand reopening."

Had any of the tension come from Meglio, it might have been more interesting, but the restaurateur put up zero resistance to Irvine's imposed changes. The former wholesale electrical-equipment rep came off as optimistic and fragile (he welled up on-camera multiple times, whether at the thought of his second mortgage or his family tradition), the captain of a sinking ship who'd never learned to sail.

The final scene was a predictably successful reopening night, with Irvine intoning that he hoped the $10K makeover bought Meglio "the chance to create his own legacy."

Gut Check caught up with Meglio for a brief chat during today's lunch rush. The show taped this past November. Now that it has finally aired, what does the restaurateur think of the entire experience?

"We thought it could have gotten ugly, but it didn't," Meglio says. "It was put together very well."

And how's business?

"With the weather, January was what it was, but we're hoping with the TV show to see another uptick."


Location Info

Meglio's Italian

12490 Saint Charles Rock Road, Bridgeton, MO

Category: Restaurant

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14 comments
Bill
Bill

My wife and I had dinner there this evening, 07/11/12.  Toasted Rav's for appitizer, was wonderful.  Salad was good - not great, but not bad either.  Liked the house dressing.  Luigi's Pizza - tasted great, cooked just right.  My wife had the Chicken Spidini and it was very tasty.  (I was given the chance to sample it.)  On a 1-10, I'd give it and the service an 8.  The apperance of nothing in the plant trays or possibly on the tables, makes the looks a 7.  Will I be back?  Yes.

T & S Simons
T & S Simons

Having seen the show for a second time just prior to our going to St Louis this past week, we decided to look up this restaurant and see how it was.  We alsmot didn't go because of many reviews giving them a very bad rating - before and after the make-over!  Well, they have turned back to a 'sports bar' which appears to be primarily something the owners desire as I only saw one customer in the bar area where the viewing of the game would have been seen.  The service was among some of the best we've seen; the waitress that waited on us was exceptionally good but looking at the service the others were given, seemed to be standard for this place. 

The location seems to be one of this restaurant's problems as it is located in a somewhat dying strip mall with not much activity around it.  They also lack any advertising from the road to show they are back there, so, unless you are specifically looking for them, you wouldn't realize they are there.

The other concern is that once you find the restaurant, the food is lacking.  We started with an appetizer of toasted ravioli which was overdone, the meat rather dry and bland and sitting atop a large among of very thick tomato base - so thick my husband had to use his fork to put it on the ravioli. We followed that by a salad which was northing more than lettuce with a large amount of cheese.  We chose the house itialian with honey mustard which also was rather bland.  I had the veal and it was so bland and not at all tender like you'd expect veal to be.  My husband had a sausage type of dish and was shocked when he got his dish as it had only a very small amount of the sausage over a rather large portion of pasta.  We did mention this to our waitress and she had the chef cook more sausage but it didn't arrive until we were nearly done. 

While the service was acceptable, it couldn't make up for the food which was very forgetable; we wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

I've just read the owners comment below; really!?  We had hoped to find that they had taken the whole thing serious and would have been thrilled with the food - sadly, we weren't.  No, Mr. Meglio, I don't enjoy making negative comments and if you look at my comments, I started out complimenting your servers.  If I remember the show right, there were comments from Robert Irving about bland food - maybe you forgot some of his suggestions.  I hope you do read my comments and take them to heart and make the corrections to turn it around.

John Meglio
John Meglio

This is John Meglio and I hope all of those that place themselves and their opinions over a man's livelihood should be ashamed. Because of people like you and your opinions, my business is now suffering. I wish people who want to share a real opinion would come out and comment.

Since the show aired I have been savaged by a few. I feel, as sick as it is, some people want to see me fail just because I appeared on TV. We have served thousands of guest since the show aired. Only a few have taken the time to tell everyone how terrible it is and that they won't be back. I've held off responding to many, I felt, unfair and less than genuine reviews.  Well I'm done. The gloves are off people. I can't take the lies. I will respond to any and every review.

I'm not falling prey to those people that want to see a man's livelihood fail. We will make it work!!!

Bcving
Bcving

I ordered the cowboy stamboli it was burnt I will not be returning

Bcving
Bcving

Im here now the staff is terrible, unattentive over priced food ($6. 00 for garlic cheese bread) if you dress up a piece of crap its still crap

Sandy K
Sandy K

I just saw the episode and didn't know this place existed. I live in St. Peters, but we go to Casa for our Mexican fix. I hope the restaurant makes it and they keep up the place. I thought the inside looked great but had doubts about the junipers surviving. My husband and I plan to make a trip to the restaurant soon. We remember the original Luigi's pizza. Spectacular thin crust pizza.

Plastics
Plastics

table of 7 for lunch yesterday.Salads were somewhat wilted and house dressing was red wine vinegar and sugar. No flavor.Pizza was thin crust-provel style. Tasty. $14 for small. The lunch special size pizza with choose two was about the same size for $8.00 with side salad. Next time will get lunch special. Pasta rec'd good comments from out table. Hopefully they can keep up the decor.Juniper trees used as room divider was already turning brown.

Paulyn0615
Paulyn0615

I miss the family feeling - the pictures, etc. and really had no problem with the menu- even if it was prepared from frozen ingredients. This was a quiet family restaurant with good food and a nice selection. The bar was separated from the restaurant by a wall, which many considered a benefit

The "papyrus" menu is ostentatious and lacking in variety. If I wanted food, price and atmosphere like this, I would visit the Hill or CWE, etc.

As with many rgular customers, Meglios has lost us!

Nita
Nita

Very good episode. I wish the best to Mr Meglio, his restuarant, employees, and family. I hope to visit and support your restarant soon.

Tom L
Tom L

The place looks a lot better. We haven't tried any of the new dishes yet, but the Luigi's pizza is a winner. Their biggest problem is the location, which is invisible from the street.

Faygo
Faygo

That was an interesting episode. If I ever get near Meglio's, I will certainly patronize it!

Sandy
Sandy

We were there justlast night for the first time. I didn't know it was on televisionuntil the day before when my husband's co-worker told him about theshow. I did a search and found a few articles and a couple videoclips of the show.

I can't compare itto the way it was before, but to the three of us who dined last nightthe food was just average. The tomato sauce on the spinach andartichoke ravioli was too thick and I did not care for the taste. Thewhite sauce (I got half and half) was very good. The salad was 100%iceberg lettuce with a little cheese. Boring. My husband had a pastaand sausage dish. He didn't care for the sauce either and the sausagewas just okay.

Although theserver was friendly and very good, the rest of the experience,including the décor, was pretty bland. Unless I have a terribleexperience at a restaurant, I usually give it a second try.

I would have triedMeglio's again except that the owner attacked the reviewers opinionsof their dining experience. I know it is impossible to pleaseeveryone, but if his business is struggling (other than the reason ofits location), he might consider the reviews as opportunities tohopefully improve his business.

To balance thenegative reviews, it would be nice to read reviews of those whoactually enjoyed their meal.

Peggz2002
Peggz2002

why in the world would you turn it BACK into a  sports bar?  Somewhere along the way you lost the path Robert put you on ....i am hoping you find it again as we wiould ALL TRULY LOVE TO SEE YOU SUCCEED. 

ed
ed

lol U mad bro?

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