“Restaurant: Impossible” gets help from Elon students

A popular cable series pops into the School of Communications as show host Robert Irvine asks for impressions of a local eatery.

“Restaurant: Impossible” host and chef Robert Irvine on March 1 speaks with Elon students.


Food Network personality and chef Robert Irvine visited students in the School of Communications on Thursday to get their thoughts on a Burlington eatery he was rehabbing as host of the channel’s “Restaurant: Impossible” program.

For more than an hour, Irvine, along with a production crew of a dozen producers, camera operators and audio technicians, filmed 18 students in Professor Lee Bush’s upper-level “Strategic Campaigns” course on the second floor of McEwen building.

Students offered Irvine feedback on their visits to University Grill on West Webb Avenue about two miles from campus. The restaurant’s owners also visited the class to hear responses firsthand, including comments on the location relative to campus, its strengths and weaknesses for different types of events, and its menu.

Art students painted a mural on the side of University Grill on West Webb Avenue.

Bush’s students then “flash mobbed” two other classrooms to get spontaneous thoughts from their peers as way of conducting impromptu market research.

The School of Communications class wasn’t the only Elon University involvement with the show. Students and faculty from the Department of Art & Art History painted a mural on the side of University Grill, and others volunteered on set with renovation needs.

Now in its second season, “Restaurant: Impossible” attempts to save restaurants from impending failure in just two days with only $10,000. Over the course of each program, Irvine assesses all of the restaurant’s facets and overhauls its weakest spots with updates to menus, retraining staff and implementing aesthetic changes with the help of his design team, before hitting the streets to tell the community about the improved restaurant.

Professor Lee Bush with show host Robert Irvine.

The episode is tentatively scheduled to air in late May.

Additional Media