Food network

‘Restaurant: Impossible’ Comes to Midtown New York, Seeks Locals to Help

Food Network’s “Restaurant: Impossible” returns to central New York next month.

Celebrity chef Robert Irvine has announced he will be coming to Balanced Chef on West Dominick Street in Rome, NY on Wednesday, November 9, with the goal of upgrading the restaurant for a grand reopening on Thursday, November 10. The reality show will be filmed around lunchtime at 11 a.m. on November 9 and conclude with dinner at 7 p.m. on November 10.

According to a description of the event, the public is invited to be part of the show as restaurant diners by registering for a reservation on Those selected will receive a confirmation email close to the episode’s filming date. The production will cover the cost of lunches, but not the grand reopening dinner; customers will be responsible for payment of the invoice.

All participants must be at least 8 years old and must take a rapid Covid test on the day of filming.

WKTV reports Irvine and his production team are also looking for local people to help the construction crew, especially those skilled in painting, crafting, building, remodeling, cleaning, decorating or upholstering. The first shift would begin Wednesday, November 9 at 1 p.m. and the second on Thursday, November 10 at 10:30 a.m. All construction participants must be 18 or older and pass a Covid test beforehand; crew members will be paid minimum wage.

To sign up for the “Restaurant: Impossible” build team, send an email to by November 7 at noon with the subject line “2026/THE BALANCED CHEF Volunteer”.

“Restaurant: Impossible,” hosted by Irvine, is a long-running Food Network series aimed at saving America’s most desperate restaurants from impending failure in two days.

Irvine previously brought “Restaurant: Impossible” to McShane’s Restaurant & Pub in DeWitt in 2011 and returned for an anniversary show in 2012, but the restaurant closed a year later. During the episode, Irvine called it “the most awful place” he’s been to so far doing the show. He ordered a cleanup, decor makeover and major menu changes, but praised owner Cindy Baker’s signature dish, seasoned chicken.

The series, now in its 20th season, has also spotlighted upstate New York restaurants like Oleander Bar and Grill in Olean, Papa C’s Eastside Cafe in Fairport, Double H Ranch in Lake Lucerne, Cosentino’s Ristorante in Geneva, Casa Di Francesca’s in Buffalo, and Park Vue Soul Food Bar and Restaurant in Buffalo. The Oleander and Papa C’s have since closed, but the others are still in business.

Episodes air Thursdays at 8 p.m. on the Food Network and can also be streamed on the Discovery+ streaming service.

No air date has been announced for the next episode of The Balanced Chef.