(09/13/12) - Move over Real Housewives - Mid-Michigan received a big dose of reality TV drama Wednesday night, courtesy of the Food Network.
Paliani's in Burton was featured on the latest episode of "Restaurant Impossible."
The latest edition the show had no shortage of drama. This was the end result of Chef Robert Irvine's massive top-to-bottom, two-day, $10,000 makeover of Paliani's last June.
"I'm a pretty emotional girl, so I knew that I would cry a lot," said Marina Bufalini, Paliani's owner.
The 47-year-old Burton restaurant was gutted, the menu changed, and the staff re-trained. Much was made of the fact that Paliani's was $600,000 in debt.
Bufalini says business has been booming since the makeover - profits are up more than 30 percent.
"Phones are ringing and people are making reservations and you're booked up on a Thursday and it was never like that before, so that's kind of crazy and exciting," Bufalini said.
Speaking of craziness and excitement, Bufalini provided the Food Network reality show with plenty of it.
"Italians, we speak with our hands, and when you have that much blood pressure flowing through your body at one time, it's all going to fly out," she said.
The kitchen staff took its share of tough love from Chef Robert as well.
"As soon as the camera went off, he came up to us and said, 'look guys, I'm not here to kick your butt. I'm here to help you,' and we knew," said Paliani's line cook Todd Thurlow.
Bufalini believes Paliani's is now back on track and here to stay. She offered a heartfelt message up for Chef Robert.
"Thank you for giving us this opportunity. It was a long shot, and I would have never expected to have been chosen," she said.
This episode of Restaurant Impossible airs again on the Food Network next Wednesday night at 11.
For more on Paliani's, click HERE.
ABC12 Main Station