Restaurant to get TV makeover

By Mike Morris, The Union Democrat

The Food Network's "Restaurant: Impossible" will film a new episode next week at Hillbillies Restaurant in Murphys.

The production crew is looking for volunteers to help renovate the restaurant, at 55 Highway 4, on Tuesday and Wednesday, with a grand reopening scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday.

"Restaurant: Impossible" is hosted by chef Robert Irvine, whose goal is to "save America's most desperate restaurants from impending failure in just two days with only $10,000," according to the show's producers.

During the course of each mission, Irvine assesses all of the restaurant's facets and then overhauls its weakest spots by updating menus, retraining staff and implementing aesthetic changes before hitting the streets to tell the community about the improved restaurant.

The Southern-style restaurant currently serves breakfast and lunch. Some online reviews have criticized the general ambience although most have praised the food.

Producers are looking for people to paint, craft, construct, remodel, clean and decorate the restaurant in addition to skilled contractors such as electricians, plumbers and painters.

None of the workers are paid, but meals will be provided.

Workers are needed for the following shifts: 1 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, 8 p.m. Tuesday to 2 a.m. Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday. Volunteers should be comfortable being on camera and should wear clothing and shoes without logos. They are not limited to one shift.

Those interested can email associate producer Nick Smalarz at by Sunday with preferred shifts along with full name, email address and cell phone number. Type "FN Murphys Volunteers" in the subject line.

The public can make reservations for the restaurant's grand reopening Wednesday night by calling Hillbillies at 728-9300.

"Restaurant: Impossible," now in its sixth season, airs Wednesday nights on the Food Network. The Hillbillies episode will likely air early next year, Smalarz said.

The owner is not allowed to talk to the media until five days after the episode runs, producers said.

Calaveras County is becoming a popular location for makeover reality television shows.

Earlier this year, Travel Channel series "Hotel Impossible" aired an episode featuring the Hotel Leger in Mokelumne Hill, and "Hotel Hell," a Fox reality show starring notoriously ill-tempered chef Gordon Ramsay, filmed an episode early this summer at the Murphys Hotel.

A representative from Fox said Thursday an air date has not yet been set for that episode.

The Union Democrat
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