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Restaurant's TV Makeover

Another Houston restaurant gets a reality TV show makeover: Will it be enough to survive in Montrose?

Gratifi Restaurant Impossible Exterior
The name and exterior are the same, but the Restaurant Impossible crew made big changes inside.  Photo by: Eric Sandler
Gratifi Restaurant Impossible Interior
The wooden tables remain, but the walls have a new color.  Photo by: Eric Sandler
Gratifi Restaurant Impossible Interior Bar
The bar has been redone, too.  Photo by: Eric Sandler
Gratifi Restaurant Impossible Interior Dining Room
Another look at the renovated dining room.  Photo by: Eric Sandler
Gratifi Restaurant Impossible New Menu
Here's Gratifi's shortened menu.  Photo by: Eric Sandler
Gratifi Kitchen + Bar Houston mural January 2014
Another change? This mural along the restaurant's Taft side by artist Alexandra Kontrimalte. Gatifi Kitchen + Bar/Facebook
Gratifi Restaurant Impossible Exterior
Gratifi Restaurant Impossible Interior
Gratifi Restaurant Impossible Interior Bar
Gratifi Restaurant Impossible Interior Dining Room
Gratifi Restaurant Impossible New Menu
Gratifi Kitchen + Bar Houston mural January 2014

Add Montrose restaurant Gratifi to the list of local spots that have undergone transformations thanks to a reality TV show. Chef Robert Irvine and his crew from Food Network show Restaurant Impossible spent two days and $10,000 transforming the restaurant formerly known as Ziggy's Healthy Grill.

As with this week's episode of the TLC show Bakery Boss that was filmed near Vintage Park at Drew's Pastry Place, Restaurant Impossible seeks to make over struggling restaurants. 

Gratifi hosted a well-attended grand reopening party Thursday night to show off the changes. The party also allowed the show to capture footage of diners reacting positively (one assumes) to the new changes. 

"When Houston was the land of the giant chicken fried steak, being healthy was unique for a restaurant," owner Kevin Strickland told CultureMap when he first decided to rebrand the restaurant. "That started changing a few years ago when more people and more places became health-conscious.

"We decided it was time to broaden our reach."

Despite a new menu and a dog-friendly patio, the restaurant still sought assistance. The only clue comes from this tweet that notes "it is REALLY expensive to own real estate in Montrose."

While no one at the restaurant is allowed to comment on the experience of filming the show or the changes made to the restaurant until the episode airs, an open front door provided sufficient access to examine the space and spy a glimpse of the new menu.

The restaurant's wooden tables and chairs remain, but a new coat of dark blue paint gives the interior a more upscale feel. The bar looks to be redone, too.

Most importantly, Gratifi's unwieldy menu has been streamlined down from 20 burgers, sandwiches and full-size entrees to just seven items, plus a short list of appetizers and salads. The burgers were one of Gratifi's strengths, so it's good to see they remain. And who can argue with any restaurant serving a daily mac and cheese special?

Also, if the new menu header can be believed, the restaurant will keep its somewhat confusing name (read it as gratify not graffiti).

Is that enough to get Gratifi back on its feet? Someone at the restaurant certainly thinks so, tweeting, "Wow. Words cannot do justice to what @RobertIrvine and @lynnkegan and @Rest_Imposs accomplished tonight. I am genuinely blown away." 

Want to see the changes? The restaurant will be open for regular service this weekend. 

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