Fiesta Sunrise on Kitchen Nightmares


Did you catch the Gordon Ramsay show last night? It featured Fiesta Sunrise in West Nyack. I’m trying to decide what was my favorite part. The cockroach-infested kitchen? The big gloppy bucket of spoiled refried beans that made Gordon close the restaurant and send poor unsuspecting diners home? The free tequila dispenser in the entryway? The burning nachos? Or maybe when the son-in-law exploded at Vic, throwing the table to the floor like an old Western: “I pay my bills! And I pay your bills, too B@TCH!”

Of course, in the end, Gordon saved the day: cleaned up the restaurant, brought in fresh food, new decor and Julieta Ballesteros of Crema in Manhattan (though they never said where she was from) to teach the staff how not to overcook rice. The family was back together, all smiles and happy.

Eagle-eyed viewers might have seen my cameo (it was a fraction of second). I was there for the “re-launch,” and so was Nyack mayor John Sheilds, who said he loved the “taquitos.”


I’ve got photos from the meal, but unfortunately — right after the taping in February — I lost my notebook (with the menu tucked inside). So I don’t have much for you as far as commentary. I do remember almost everything needed salt. I remember some dishes being quite good (especially the pork and the hot chocolate) and some being decidedly average. But it was fun to see Gordon in action. He’s so tall.



My dining companion Alex:


My husband:


Tortilla soup. A weird version, in my mind. I like a thinner broth:


The waiter takes Alex’s order:




This salad needed salt:


This was OK, I seem to remember:


My other dining companion Tessa:


Enchiladas with rice and beans:


Tortilla on la plancha:


This pork dish was good. The white was hominy (which needed salt):




Coconut tres leches:


Chocolate and churros:


In August, a New Jersey teenager was assaulted and stabbed four times after a fight there. A White Plains man was arrested in the incident.In September, the restaurant was closed for not paying its taxes. It re-opened again a few days later.


About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.


  1. I just saw the Fiesta Sunrise episode recently. To me Vic the “manager” appears to have had a lobotomy! I have seen more emotion from a Manatee!
    As for the mother-daughter investors, I am absolutely mystified!! Do they even have a pulse?
    The Blank looks, the feigning of total ignorance about the state of their restaurant was just to much for me. I don’t buy it for a second. I mean really, are their kitchens that disgusting at HOME?
    These people should be banned from even owning a Taco stand.!!!
    After seeing this episode it will be a long time before I eat in any Mexican restaurant, and when I do I will ask to see the kitchen FIRST.
    I was shocked the Gordon Ramsey had the cajones to show this “restaurant” for what it really was–A Cesspool!!! Thank-You Gordon!!!

  2. “I will ask to see the kitchen FIRST”
    Oh gimmie a break!! …. Even if you do ask you aren’t going to get very far as insurance will wash their hands of the place if you get hurt back there. Not to mention the health hazzards YOU will be bringing in there as they have no clue if your hands are clean if you touch anything (But of course you wont touch anything, because you are that self righteous.) Not to mention any other germs just from breathing in the kitchen … Wouldn’t it be a kick in the head if YOU brought the flu virus to the kitchen staff, because you just HAD to “see the kitchen FIRST!”

    You are the kinda customer that does more harm then good trying to prove a point. Do yourself and the general public, a favor and stay home!

  3. Sorry, but this just shows that ANYWHERE you eat can be this way. The only way you can possibly be sure that it might be safe is looking at the rating. Anything less than 93 out of 100 is a “no way I’ll eat here” choice.

    Anywhere you eat can be nasty…the only place you’re ever safe is in your own home….and do you know it?

  4. I loved the sound when Gordon dropped the scoop back into the bean-slop bucket…it was a slurpy suction, shoe lost in the much sound. I saw a picture somewhere on google of the closed restaurant.

  5. The salad needed salt? If you feel the need to have salt in your salad, then I think you consume a little too much msg.

  6. That location seems ideal, but every restaurant seems to fail there. There is a restaurant there right now and at around 6PM this past Sunday, when the mall was packed, there were 2 cars in the parking lot.

  7. i see your chocolate and “churros” but the churros i know they are larger than that piece of sh….t and the Tortilla soup well isnt like that i tell you this because i live on mexico city

  8. Do you know if this restaurant is still open or is close now? Because in Mexico we saw the Gordon Ramsey program and is not good the restaurant don´t open, I have a restaurant in Mexico city, kind regars USA people regards from Mexico city

  9. Antonio,

    Fiesta Sunrise is closed now. I think the official reason is that they didn’t pay their taxes but no doubt things were going down way before the tax collector came around.

    Vic’s probably on to open another restaurant (maybe he’ll try to reuse those menus Gordon Ramsay made up for Fiesta Sunrise lol) and Patti and Don will have to figure out how to pay off all that debt the restaurant racked up. Sad.

  10. Tony Montana on

    Too bad for the mother and daughter. There was no way the restaurant could succeed with firing everybody in the kitchen including the husband (who first should be horse whipped).

  11. Gary Fatnich on

    They should feed the owner to some chiuahaus and where was the health inspecor they should be hanged with them for letting the conditions get thtat bad my homeboys in the hood to run this joint btter than that toad.


  12. Gary Fatnich on


  13. evidently what passes for “Mexican Food” in New York does not quite meet the same standards.

    I can not place it as either the Norteño or Sureño, Americanized Tex-Mex, Oaxacan or Yucatécan and those are what I know. Tamale Pies and burritos vary depending on who makes them so anything made with the ingredients will pass as Mexican….Especially in a large city and that far from the country of origin

    I want to feel sorry for the girls involved but they didn’t seem to know what they were doing with not only their own money but that of other people.

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