Restaurant reopens after bad reality TV experience

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX (AP) -- A Scottsdale restaurant reopened for business Tuesday night to good reviews after it temporarily shut its doors following an embarrassing reality TV experience.

Wife and husband Amy and Samy Bouzaglo recently invited the popular makeover show "Kitchen Nightmares" to their restaurant, Amy's Baking Co., after years of bad online reviews from unhappy customers. The Bouzaglos complained on the show that they were the victims of online bullying, but host and celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay agreed with the bad reviews. He declared the food at the upscale pizzeria undercooked and poorly seasoned. The Bouzaglos got angry with Ramsay and he left the restaurant before making it over - a first for his show.

Amy's Baking Co. temporarily closed last week after the episode aired and hundreds of "Kitchen Nightmares" fans began leaving angry comments on the restaurant's Facebook page.

Fewer than a dozen people were waiting when it reopened Tuesday. Four guards blocked the door and turned reporters away.

Sheryl Hugill, 33, of Scottsdale, was among the few who were let in. She read about the drama online and had to see it from herself. She went with her boyfriend, who suspected that the conflict was staged to attract media attention.

"I started seeing people from all over the country posting about it and was like, wow this is becoming big news," Hugill said. "I think that part of it was real and Amy is probably naturally a really defensive person. It sounded like Samy had shielded her from that, so when she started actually getting complaints about her food she had a breakdown. It just got out of control and now they are trying to fix it."

Hugill said the restaurant's 55 seats were not full and service was adequate. She would go back.

"The wait staff were all really nice. Samy was really nice. The food was good. We didn't have any problems," Hugill said.

Michael Saucier, a spokesman for the couple, said they were not available for an interview on Monday or Tuesday. The restaurant's answering machine was full. Emails and Facebook messages were not returned. Saucier said the restaurant had no plans to change the menu or replace Amy Bouzaglo with another chef.

About two years ago, reviewers and bloggers "decided to make up lies and say the food was disgusting," Amy Bouzaglo said on the TV show.

During filming, the couple yelled insults at unhappy customers.

"I just tell them to leave the restaurant and don't come back," Samy Bouzaglo said.

The couple said during the episode that they keep all tips because they do more work than their wait staff. They said they had invested more than $1 million in the eatery since opening in 2006.

A Facebook posting announcing the reopening said more than 1,000 reservations had been made.

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