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Volunteers wanted: ‘Restaurant Impossible’ overhauling Coach Lamp next week


Chef Robert Irvine, host of Food Network's Restaurant Impossible, will come to Louisville next week to help owners of The Coach Lamp revive their restaurant.

Chef Robert Irvine, host of Food Network’s Restaurant Impossible, will come to Louisville next week to help owners of The Coach Lamp revive their restaurant.

The Coach Lamp Restaurant & Pub is expecting a visit next week from chef Robert Irvine and his crew at the reality TV show “Restaurant Impossible.”

Sales at the restaurant (located at 751 Vine St. in the lower Highlands) have lagged of late, and owners Gail and Billy Darling hope Irvine’s advice will give the business a boost.

According to the Food Network, “Restaurant Impossible” takes on the challenge of saving “America’s most desperate restaurants from impending failure in just two days with only $10,000.”

Whether Coach Lamp was facing “impending failure,” we don’t know. But when we called Billy Darling on Tuesday to confirm rumors that Coach Lamp had been chosen for the assistance, he said couldn’t comment about it.

He did refer me to Nick Smalarz, a Philadelphia-based TV producer, who confirmed his crew was coming to record the show Aug. 13-14, but asked that Insider wait until today to publish the story because Restaurant Impossible invites the public to take part in the grand reopening.

“It’s a little complicated to explain, but by inviting the public to take part, they have to make reservations, and (the Darlings) have not been told what they need to do when the calls start coming in,” Smalarz said.

Fair enough, plus we didn’t want to be a nuisance, so we agreed to play along.

“But what you can do to help is tell people how to get their reservations,” Smalarz added.

So here’s your invitation: Starting today, you can call Coach Lamp Restaurant and Pub at 502-583-9165 and save your seat.

But if having a camera record you at the trough doesn’t sound fun enough, then volunteer to be a helper in Coach Lamp’s makeover.

According to Food Network information supplied by Smalarz:

We are looking for individuals to help with the renovation of the restaurant over the two days. Design volunteers will be painting, crafting, construction, remodeling, cleaning, decorating etc. (depending on your skill set). Always looking for skilled contractors in there (sic) fields to help out (electricians, plumbers, painters, etc.)

Volunteers are needed on the following days and times:

Tuesday, Aug. 13, 1-8 p.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 13, 8 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 14, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

To volunteer, email Smalarz at

More info from Food Network:

This is a volunteer position, but meals will be provided. Also a great way to meet people in your field and contribute to a good cause in the area! You should be okay with being on camera and wear comfortable clothing & sneakers/boots with no logos.

If you’ve seen past shows, you know that Irvine likes works hard and fast. So be prepared: the man’s got stuff to do!

Smalarz added that Billy Darling’s refusal to talk is tied to a gag order regarding the show, and that won’t be lifted until five days after the Coach Lamp episode airs sometime this fall.

The show airs regularly on Wednesday nights, so remind yourself to save some DVR during football season so you don’t miss it.


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