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Laura Sternberg

Kitchen Nightmares: Jack's Waterfront Restaurant

By November 7, 2008

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The episode wherein Gordon Ramsey visited Jack's Waterfront Restaurant in St. Clair Shores finally aired last night. Judging from the snow on the ground in it, the episode was actually filmed last winter. It was interesting to see the behind-the-scenes politics of restaurant ownership at a familiar locale. As always, Gordon Ramsey seemed to zero in on the underlying problem: Jack's new owners had no clear management structure, which resulted in no one taking responsibility for bad food.

Unlike most Kitchen Nightmares episodes, there was no clear happy ending, but the owners took steps based on Ramsey's advice. They also received some cosmetic changes via Ramsey that helped to give the restaurant more character -- you can apparently thank him for the restaurant's now multiple aquariums, corrugated-metal walls and hanging dinghies.

Jack's Waterfront Restaurant in St. Clair Shores
Photo © Sara Weagel

Having dined there this last summer, the owners seem to be on the right track with the food and at least one of Ramsey's new dishes, the poached salmon, remains on the menu. What do you think? Does anyone else have any experiences before, during or after the new ownership at Jack's and/or the Kitchen Nightmares visit?

More Information:

November 9, 2008 at 10:07 pm
(1) Gary Thison says:

I took about six out of town guests to dinner there in August and we all found the food, service and atmosphere pretty damned good. Then, right after dinner the place turned into a loud, raucous, deejay jammin’ night club. And everyone enjoyed that too.

I’m not a regular, but the few times I’ve been to Jack’s all aspects were more than adequate.

I didn’t see the Kitchen Nightmares episode, but from what I’ve seen, I wouldn’t let that arrogant host anywhere near my kitchen. On second thought, any publicity is good publicity.

November 10, 2008 at 5:23 pm
(2) Stacy DeGrande says:

I’m from St. Clair Shores MI and currently live in Southern California. During my visit back this past summer, I of course visited my past local hangout, Jack’s, and noticed the change of the menu had expanded and the food was great, including the decor!

Good job and well overdue!

December 11, 2008 at 6:01 pm
(3) JacksVet says:

Long time veteran of Jacks, always had great food and service. Looking forward to experiencing the new changes when visiting this holiday season.

December 13, 2008 at 4:40 pm
(4) Horrible Owners says:

…[The owner's] dad – amazing cook. You can thank good food to him probably

March 6, 2009 at 2:24 pm
(5) Looking forwrd says:

I hear that the old owner from years ago bought Jack’s again. I was told that he brought in a new chef who is supposed to be great. I guess they are supposed to open back up some day between 3-9-09 and 3-14-09. I’m looking forward to the new menu.

March 18, 2009 at 12:38 pm
(6) Sandy says:

I heard that the -old/new owners just did some really cool changes inside.. removed the wall.. expaned the dance floor… and all new bathrooms! Hopefully the Chef can measure up!

May 21, 2009 at 9:45 am
(7) jep says:

went to jacks after they reopened before easter got a menu that was printed like a newspaper – quite tacky. selections were ok prices are high. got a golorifed dinner salad that was 8.99 most dinner salads are around 3.50, no homemade dressings favorite cucumber dressing is no longer available food is not as good as before. will try one more time.

June 13, 2009 at 12:02 am
(8) Gloria says:

Would love to see the 11/7/08 episode aired again. Is that possible, or can that episode be purchased?

June 29, 2009 at 10:50 pm
(9) Leo says:

“Would love to see the 11/7/08 episode aired again. Is that possible, or can that episode be purchased?”

Hulu.com, you can watch dozens of episodes for free and with for commercials.

July 17, 2009 at 5:10 pm
(10) Rob says:

You can watch every episode of Kitchen Nightmares US on fox.com. Here’s the link to Jack’s Waterfront episode: http://www.fox.com/fod/play.php?sh=nightmares&ep=3815

August 9, 2009 at 8:54 pm
(11) Mary says:

What a horrible restaurant! The inside of it looks dirty and dingy. The food was awful. All the tables seated around us complained about their food. One person was even served lamb that was completely raw. I was excited to try this place out after watching Kitchen Nightmares, and I was extremely disappointed. I will never go back to Jack’s and will tell everyone how completely awful it is. What a waste.

December 14, 2009 at 4:29 pm
(12) Detroit eater says:

I ate there sometime between Ramsay’s visit and the episode airing — which should have been a high point — and the food was inedible. Easily my worst restaurant experience in years, and the staff seemed utterly oblivious. Never again, and I have warned everyone who asks about the place that it’s a definite must to avoid.

April 18, 2010 at 5:43 pm
(13) Jack (not that Jack) says:

People like “Mary” are born complainers. “I will tell everyone not to eat there”? Really? Are you *that* much of a douche?

June 28, 2010 at 6:35 pm
(14) Steve-O says:

I’ve been to Jack’s on serveral occasions, both before and after the episode. Before the episode aired, my girlfriend and I were there and my girlfriend ended up getting sick from her meal. When we saw the episode, we said, figures.

I was there once last summer and I think the food is still mediocre at best. I am chatting with someone right now who goes there quite a bit and he even thinks the food is not too good.

July 20, 2010 at 10:30 am
(15) Eve Broughton says:

Amazing. Ramsays episode just aired again here in Australia. Its now July 2010. You often wonder if a restaurant manages to survive a ‘resurrection’ by Ramsay. Sadly not it seems as there are new owners in again. For once, the team took the advice given. The food was a Health Dept hazard (gagging!), the father – a drunken unprofessional liability (100K per annum, youve got to be kidding!!!), the additional cooks – lazy, talentless and insubordinate, the chef – an underutilised resource, and one of the owners (son of) – a poor businessman mixing friendship & family, always an inevitable cocktail for disaster just waiting to go off. Was probably best the whole lot disbanded. A pitiful tale for the seaside town “restaurant”. Ramsay shaking them up probably ultimately did them a favour in the end!!!

July 23, 2011 at 2:00 pm
(16) Jacks Waterfront Sinks Like the Titanic says:

Unfortunately the Restaurant sunk like the Titanic and was Permanmently closed down December 2010.

Hopefully someone will buy the property and make it a better restaurant.

Their 2nd Restaurant called
on St John St
Wyandotte, MI 48192
(734) 284-1111

Owned by the same owners, With the Same boring food as their old restaurant. See their restaurant reviews at:

Posted: JULY 23, 2011.

November 14, 2011 at 4:26 pm
(17) jq says:

gary thison if your talking about gordon ramsay being the arrogant host your a dumbass gordon ramsay is one of the most brilliant hard-working chefs ever he speaks his mind he is blunt but he has a reason for everything he does and if you don’t get it you’ve never been in the restaurant business or your just an idiot yourt probably one of those people that think you could run a restaurant , oh its so easy you just cook the food and throw it on a plate how hard could that be, right!

March 4, 2013 at 4:20 pm
(18) Lori says:

Well said! I too have the utmost respect for.chef Ramsey. Tells it like it is and takes no prisoners. He is a successful.chef and restaurateur which speaks for itself.

May 20, 2013 at 1:20 am
(19) Jessica says:

I just think its funny how so many of the restaurants from kitchen nightmares that still fail then place ALL the blame on Chef Ramsey. What in the world? Yes because the man with over 12 successful restaurants, a world renowned chef, with multiple international TV Shows single handedly RUINED your restaurant in the week he was there.

What kind of B.S. is that? It’s simple. The people that he are trying to save are always pretty much past the point of no return, or are just to arrogrant to listen to him. What’s sad is how many of the places could have made it if they stuck with Chef Ramseys plan… or werent already in foreclosure.

Oh, but wait… It’s all his fault they failed. #smh

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