Gordon Ramsay ... our hero.
The promos for Friday's episode of Kitchen Nightmares take us to Zocalo, the Mexican restaurant in University City. The owners, Greg and Maria Russell, seem to be headed for divorce court. The restaurant is tanking.
Based on a phone chat Wednesday - four months after the taping - I can report that Greg and Maria are doing fine. So is Zocalo.
Greg Russell says he and his wife, who was born in Mexico, had been toying with the idea of volunteering to be on the show since 2008-09 "when the economy hit rock bottom." He says he went online to find the casting people but never followed through. On the show's swing through Philly last year, when South Philly's Chiarella's was also taped, he got a call.
The hard part for the couple was the de-Mexican-ization of Zocalo, which has remained since Ramsay's visit.
Maria Russell says Ramsay insisted that some of her decorations had to go. Greg Russell, also the chef, acceded to Ransay's demands that the menu be modernized so the food would appeal to a wider demographic.
With a sigh, Greg Russell said they'd eat authentic fare in their own house.
Kitchen Nightmares, 8 p.m. Friday, March 30, 8 p.m.