Will TV Chef Trash Mad Cactus? Find out Wednesday

Owner is nervous about seeing the makeover on 'Restaurant: Impossible' Nov. 2

The will be featured next Wednesday, Nov. 2, at 10 p.m. on the Food Network's  Restaurant: Impossible series.

Restaurant owner Tom Krukemeyer isn't sure he'll be watching.

"I'm probably not going to," Krukemeyer said. "I don't know what they edited out, what they left in."

in mid-August to revamp the menu and decor of the 20-year-old Tex-Mex restaurant on the corner of Pearl and Whitney roads.

But shows like that are notorious for making restaurants -- and their food and staff -- look as bad as possible before the chef makes them over.

Here's how the Food Network website describes the episode:

"Chef Robert Irvine finds himself in a prickly situation as he travels to Strongsville, OH. Here, he comes face-to-face with the Mad Cactus restaurant and he immediately sees why the cactus is so mad. This dark, dirty and disgusting Tex-Mex themed restaurant, along with its lackadaisical owner, upsets Robert to no end, but it's when he finds out that they're not even cooking 'real' food that things really get heated."

That description wouldn't sit well with any restaurant owner. But Krukemeyer, who is bound by a gag order from discussing the makeover till after the show airs, can only say he expects the worst.

On , he offered up one word for the experience: "Brutal," he said, shaking his head.

In with the New

In Restaurant: Impossible, Irvine spends two days at a struggling restaurant, critiquing the menu, staff and decor, then revamping all three. 

The jam-packed menu was replaced by a handful of choices, plus a salsa bar.

A $10,000 makeover gave the Mad Cactus a brighter, airier look. Gold-ish wallpaper has been replaced by white walls with dark brown accents.

The patterened carpet is also gone, replaced by wood-look flooring. Small cactus plants sprout from stones in planters around the perimeter of the dining room.

Krukemeyer said business has gone up about 20 percent since the makeover.

"I'd say 97 percent of the people really like the new look and the salsa bar," he said.

Back to the Old

The new , although it has changed somewhat since the TV crew left town.

Make that, changed a lot.

Shortly after the TV crew left town, Krukemeyer brought back the popular chicken wings and ribs, as well as the taco salad and fajita salad. He added a "pick three" choice of three entrees, returned to the original quesadillas and will return to the original nachos on Saturday.

He kept Irvine's fish entree and a few other things.

"It's our menu again," he said. "The big thing we kept from them was the salsa bar."

Michelle Norton October 28, 2011 at 12:16 PM
I'll be watching next Wednesday! Robert Irvine is always mean and nasty to the restaurant owners; you can't take him too seriously.
Al October 28, 2011 at 01:02 PM
Could not agree with that chef more, I used to receive gift certificates from the owners relatives, hated the place so much I would not eat there for free!
David Kerns October 29, 2011 at 04:34 PM
I used to frequent this establishment when it was Howard Johnson's...cant wait to watch Robert in action once again
Sara Woogerd Lilly October 29, 2011 at 08:03 PM
Take a lesson from the FORMER owners of the Snooty Fox, who changed the menu after Robert left - they went under... there was a reason this restaurant needed help from Restaurant:Impossible - could a part of it have been the menu? And now, you are going back to the same food that people didn't eat before? You can't change stupid!
Tom Manson October 30, 2011 at 01:27 PM
I grew up in strongsville, and used to get my birthday dinner there every year until I started Jr high, when the quality first started to slip. Irvine may be a douche, but his new menus tend to have amazing stuff. I would consider keeping more of the new, as he plans fairly cost effective meals to serve.
Mike October 30, 2011 at 01:29 PM
The service was terrible, the food quality is mediocre at best, the portions are small, the price is extreme and what the heck is that Salsa Bar???? $3.00 for chips that are complimentary at most others locations...give me a break. I shake my head twice daily as I drive past this place. Time to close the doors.
Hibs November 01, 2011 at 01:21 PM
I am amazed at these negative comments. The Cactus is always a fun place to go, with great bands, friendly service, and the best wings in Cleveland. These people need to get out more and have some fun.
Holly Barnes November 03, 2011 at 02:03 AM
I"m watching Restaurant Impossible. Can't wait to see the transformation!!!


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