By Andrea Brown Herald Writer
The kitchen rock star is in the building.
Yeah, the buzz on the street is true. Gordon Ramsay is at Prohibition Grille.
Hence the base camp of camera trucks, trailers and white tents staged on the lot next to the restaurant at 1414 Hewitt Ave.
The mouthy British celebrity chef with the messy hair travels the world whipping troubled restaurants into shape for his Fox TV series “Kitchen Nightmares.”
The brick-walled venue in downtown Everett fit the bill. Patrons come more for the belly dancing and live music than the gourmet collard greens and cheese grits.
The restaurant is open only by special invitation this week, but that isn’t stopping the masses from trying to get a peek.
What is stopping them is Ramsay’s version of the Secret Service — a team of local hires in street clothes, carrying scanners and wired with ear pieces, diligently patrolling the sidewalk and alley.
“No, sorry, you can’t look in the door,” a stony-faced guard told those who ventured too close. Gawkers included The Herald reporter, who was told, “Give me your card and Fox Legal will call you.”
Julie Montgomery leaned on her walker, hoping to catch a glimpse of Ramsay. She had walked the block from Full Life Care, a day treatment center, with her social worker.
“I’ve got to see him,” Montgomery said. “I’ve got to say hello. I never miss his program.
“I love his cussing. I love how he’s blunt. He says the right thing and he hugs everybody at the end. He uses psychology.”
She left without seeing him, but extended this offer. “He can visit me any time. My door is always open to him.”
Those who got inside the restaurant this week first had to go to a tent to sign a waiver and get a mug shot. They also had to pay for their meal.
Khristina Riedel said the Southern Sampler plate she ordered was on par with previous meals eaten there.
“It was really disappointing,” she said. “The fried green tomatoes were dry. The ribs and collard greens were bland. My friend had a shrimp dish. Everything was lukewarm. She sent it back.”
The redo wasn’t much better.
It wasn’t all bad, though. “The coffee was great,” she said.
Riedel, owner of Sol Food Bar &Grill across the street, said she’d welcome a visit from Ramsay. “I’d like to see what he says.”
Ramsay sightings were buzzing around. Rumor has it he went to a nearby hair salon for feedback on Prohibition Grille. Not his hair.
On the show, the 46-year-old chef with the boyish face and the brow of an old man gets to the nitty-gritty of why the place is a flop and tells owners how to improve the food and image.
One change was already noticeable Wednesday: Black tape covered the word “Grille” on signs in front.
It is unknown when or even if the footage here will ever make an episode, because Fox Legal has yet to call back.
Calls to Prohibition Grille owner Darlene Brown, who goes by the name Rishi, weren’t answered.
The show’s reservation Twitter feed places Ramsay on the job at a Seattle restaurant recently.
Another Twitter post reads: “Seattle is a great city for Kitchen Nightmares… we received over 2,800 emails requesting to dine.”
Maybe so, but this is big stuff for Everett.
“This is extremely exciting,” Downtown Everett Association manager Sue Strickland said. “This is international exposure for Everett. How much better can you get than that?”
She had applied online for a seat inside the restaurant while the show is filming, but in the meantime had to make do snapping pictures on the sidewalk. Like everyone else.
It was still all good.
“Kudos to Rishi for getting them to be here,” Strickland said. “We’re hopeful she makes the show and that they do a really nice job for her.”
Andrea Brown; 425-339-3443; firstname.lastname@example.org.
• See what locals are saying on Facebook here.
• To try to make a reservation: email email@example.com
• Kitchen Nightmares reservations on Twitter: twitter.com/KNReservations
• Prohibition Grille: www.prohibitiongrille.com
• Gordon Ramsay: www.gordonramsay.com