Is there anything better than eating some takeout while binge-watching Kitchen Nightmares?
Starring Gordon Ramsay, the show was a mainstay during 2007-2014 when it originally aired. Ramsay's hardline approach to whipping restaurants into shape makes for endless entertainment -- which explains the show's enduring popularity long after it went off the air.
In the show, Ramsay is the obvious star -- his loud, foul-mouthed personality a focal point for a behind-the-scenes look at some of the worst kitchens in America.
If you haven't watched Kitchen Nightmares before -- or if you have and are deciding how to start your rewatch -- now's the time to press play on the best Kitchen Nightmares episodes to ever air.
Amy's Baking Company
No episode has been crazier than the one where Ramsay visits Annie's Baking Company in Scottsdale, AZ. The events in the episode were so intense that Ramsay actually left during the restaurant's transformation process because of conflicts with owners Amy and Samy.
The drama started before the episode even aired though -- Amy's Baking Company received negative reviews for local food bloggers, which severely hurt their business. Owner Amy said they were lies. Now, the episode has gone down in infamy.
Since the episode aired in 2013, Amy's Baking Company has closed, with the owners stating their closure had nothing to do with bad publicity or negative restaurant reviews.
We can't forget the belly dancers. Prohibition Grille was an experience for sure. Owned by belly dancer Rishi Brown, the restaurant was reported to have bland food made by a checked-out chef. Then, Ramsay came in and tried to turn the business around.
For three years after the show aired, Ramsay's changes were a success, welcoming in a new era for Brown's business. The success, however, did not last forever. In 2017, the restaurant closed and the building went to new owners who opened Abbott's -- which closed during the pandemic.
The entire first season is worth watching -- every episode is so good -- but an obvious standout is episode two about Dillon's, a restaurant in Manhattan that seemed to have too many managers. Ramsay immediately notices this is a problem and it becomes a point of contention throughout the episode -- especially when Ramsay recommends the owner fire one of them. Incidentally, one of the two managers quits the night of the "relaunch," ultimately leading to a smoother-running restaurant.
Despite the trend toward success, Dillon's closed in 2009.
Another season one favorite, you should definitely add the episode about Sebastian's to your watchlist. Owner and self-taught chef Sebastian di Modica is a force to be reckoned with -- his staff frequently mentions his short temper and incendiary reactions (he reportedly fired 49 people in one year). Ramsay comes to town to try to make this right at this Hollywood restaurant with abysmal food.
Like many of the worst-of-the-worst restaurants on Kitchen Nightmares, Sebastian's closed shortly after being featured on the show. In 2008, the di Modicas released a statement that they would be moving back to be with their family in Boston.
Chappy's on Church
After Hurricane Katrina destroyed the original Chappy's in New Orleans, owners John "Chappy" and Starr Chapman moved their restaurant to Church Street in Nashville in 2006. In this season six episode, Ramsay must contend with bland food, complaints about Chappy from the staff, and a bad public opinion of the restaurant.
The transformation was well-received by everyone except for Chappy -- which ultimately led to the restaurant's demise. Chappy reinstated the old menu and just a month after the episode featuring his restaurant aired, the restaurant closed.
Following the episode, Chappy gave many interviews detailing how he believes Ramsay "destroyed his business." It's hard to say if that's actually the truth, especially since Chappy returned to his old ways.
READ: Every Restaurant Gordon Ramsay Owns, From Las Vegas to London