Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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July 7, 2013

ED VASICEK: Ducky's redo

In Kokomo, big events just come to you

Marylu and I are food-ies. That means we love tasty, well-seasoned food, and we cook with an adventurous spirit. Because we try to watch cholesterol and the budget — and because I particularly enjoy the process of cooking itself — we eat out only occasionally.

We are longtime fans of Food Network. So when we heard that Robert Irvine and “Restaurant Impossible” were coming to town, we were exuberant. The Kokomo Tribune article touting the event explained that Ducky’s was taking reservations for re-opening night. We peered at one another with an animated, almost mischievous look. I cannot remember who first verbalized what we both were thinking: “Let’s go!”

Because we called immediately — and because we were only a party of two — we were privileged to be among the elite.

“Restaurant Impossible” seeks to rescue failing restaurants in dire straits. The establishments vary significantly: some are amazingly dirty, others are run by entrenched, stubborn folks who end up reverting back to their familiar ways once they are temporarily rescued. Others may have outdated menus, undisciplined staffs or require some cooking instruction.

The Food Network updates information about restaurants from previously aired programs, so viewers can follow what has happened since the program. Will owners prefer their own instincts — instincts that led them to ruin in the first place — or will they trust the experts despite their instincts? It is a lesson in human nature.

From watching the show, we knew they remodeled these restaurants within a 24-hour period, so we drove by Thursday night to gape. We spied a tent erected alongside the restaurant and crews working diligently. This was no dream.

What was it like on opening night? Things ran a little late (as they invariably do), and we were eventually escorted to the new, handsome Ducky’s. It looks like a completely different restaurant. We had the honor of chatting with owner Bill Duncan, a gracious and enjoyable host.

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