Dennis Ristucci thought his younger brother was joking when he said a television show wanted to feature his restaurant.
"I actually hung up on the guy thinking it was one my of brother’s buddy’s busting my chops," said Dennis, who runs Valley Inn Restaurant.
But after a quick call back, scouts for the Food Network television show "Restaurant: Impossible" had worked out the details with Dennis for shooting an episode featuring the family run restaurant in Palos Hills.
Valley Inn's episode is scheduled to air at 8 p.m. p.m. (CST) Wednesday. Promotional commercials for it began running last week.
Ristucci and his wife Becky recently granted Palos Patch a chance to photograph the new digs and provided old photos to contrast the changes made during the show's remodeling.
The The show's host Robert Irvine heads the operation, flinging the occasional insult while offering advice on how to overhaul the establishment.
"He was really hard on our staff, which was needed," said Becky. "He brought his own chef in (Chef Lee) and showed the guys in the kitchen new ways."
The "kind of jerky" persona is mainly for the camera, Becky said. At one point, he pulled the couple aside and gave his personal insight into restaurant operation.
Even with the friendly advice, the 2 1/2 days of shooting was grueling for the Ristuccis and the restaurant staff, Becky said. Most of the changes were made to the dining area, adding more lighting and giving the whole place a more contemporary feel.
Becky said she saw the first commercial for the show on Oct. 3. The realization that he restaurant was about to appear on national television suddenly hit her.
"I almost choked.”
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