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'Restaurant Redemption' recap: Family is family, business is business

Season 2 | Episode 2 | “Pho Barclay” | Aired Oct 21, 2014

In episode 2 of Restaurant Redemption, we meet Jim Ong and Anita Te, the brother/sister duo who own and operate Pho Barclay in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Although it’s located in a busy strip mall, the restaurant, which opened in July 2009, is no longer the busy establishment it once was. Not only that, but there are some major personality issues.

I’m sure Jim Ong is a nice person. However, for much of the episode, he comes across as being extremely self-centered, with a big case of “false sense of self.” As the story unfolds, you discover that Anita works seven days a week, despite the fact that she has two children with her husband, takes care of Jim’s and her nearly 90-year-old mother, has pumped $125,000 of her own money into the restaurant, and often doesn’t pay herself. Jim, on the other hand, lacks focus. Instead of fully dedicating himself to his restaurant managing duties, he flips houses on the side, receives a steady paycheck from his sister, and is all about his new invention: frozen pho (which he mentions repeatedly, to Ching’s befuddlement). He talks about the frozen pho to Ching almost immediately, and the look she gives him is classic.

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 9.15.45 AM

Jim brings up the frozen pho again later on, after Ching checks out Pho Barclay’s food, which she believes is decent. Here’s her reaction.

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 9.18.04 AM

Jim mentions his frozen pho yet again after Ching introduces him and Anita to a new dish that she suggests for the Pho Barclay menu. Ching delivers some serious shade that would impress First Lady Michelle Obama—one of the side-eye masters.

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 9.43.24 AM
Seriously, have you seen Michelle Obama throw shade?


Anita, for her part, comes across as being the responsible, caring, forgiving, and loving older sister. She’s compassionate and motivated to succeed for her entire family—husband, daughters, brother, and mother. Anita has the work ethic that I really admire in immigrant families who are driven. I’ve seen so many restaurant owners like her who come to the U.S. for a better life and aspire to do good through hard labor, but often run into financial difficulties despite their dedication. And they, like Anita, become tired. Sitting with Ching one-on-one, Anita says, “I really need a break. I cannot work seven days a week. And I have family. I have kids. And I have an 85-year-old mom to take care of. All of the money that I’ve put in here, I did not get a penny back.”

They decide to make Anita have a frank conversation with Jim. Either he focuses on the restaurant, or Anita finds another Pho Barclay manager. After all, “Family is family, but then, business is business.”

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 10.26.57 AM

The “come to Jesus” moment between Anita and Jim goes well, of course, and the rest of the episode focuses on the well-planned and well-executed physical transformation of Pho Barclay, its new menu, and its successful reopening. Much like episode 1, the “come to Jesus” moment is also the true redemption. And this is why I enjoy the show. Restaurant Redemption is about the people in the restaurants, not the restaurants’ brick and mortar. It’s about how each restaurant’s proprietors pull themselves up with a little help from a woman with a hell of a wicked side-eye.

Restaurant Redemption airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EST on Cooking Channel.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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