Salt Works II becomes "Restaurant: Impossible" - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Salt Works II becomes "Restaurant: Impossible"

Posted: Updated: Oct 6, 2010 12:49 PM

WILMINGTON (WECT) – For two decades, Salt Works II on 4001 Wrightsville Ave. has been giving Wilmington full bellies and many fond memories, but the restaurant is struggling.

That was until an employee say an ad in the paper for the Food Network show "Restaurant: Impossible." After a few phone calls, Salt Works II landed a staring roll in the show.

In this economy, when the bread and butter of your business is serving big portions at a low cost, it becomes a daily struggle to stay alive. Many locally-owned restaurants have shut down over the past two years.

"We're just barely treading water at this point," said Michael Thyberg, the co-owner of Salt Works II.

Enter Food Network.

Restaurant: Impossible will be on-site from October 13 to the 15. The restaurant will be open for breakfast on the 13 and will reopen for the reveal on the 15.

During that time, the Food Network crew will give the restaurant an overhaul. Food experts may change the menu, rehab the dining room or perhaps just make spot changes here and there. The details are few and far between until crews arrive.

Staff at Salt Works II say they're nervous, but welcome any changes.

The restaurant has been open since 1989 when the Secondo family opened the doors.

"This is a Wilmington icon," said Thyberg.

An icon of the past maybe!

"We kind of walked into a disaster zone as far as kitchen equipment!" said Thyberg.

Thyberg bought the business with a friend about a year-and-a-half ago. They inherited a well-known establishment but also the problems that came with it.

The equipment frequently breaks, sometimes causing major problems. Years and years of cranking out meals under those conditions have made it a challenge to keep up quality and quantity.

The business has had to continually pour money into repairs. Meanwhile, diners have been cutting back and profits have been down about 25 percent.

Cranking out meal after meal for years has taken a toll on the kitchen.

"It scares you, you're afraid it's going to be it!"

Restaurant: Impossible gives food establishments an opportunity to change that.

"Them coming in and ripping us apart and telling us what we need is exactly what we need, it's constructive criticism at its best!" said Thyberg.

The crew at Salt Works II says that even if the food or the furniture changes, the people who have been working and eating there for years will keep their homemade, homegrown feeling just the way it is.

If you would like to attend the reveal, make a reservation with the restaurant by calling: 392-1241.

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