Why Danielle left Hot Potato Café from Kitchen Nightmares

Danielle left Hot Potato Café shortly after Gordon Ramsay did, seemingly to pursue a brand new career outside of the restaurant industry.

Whenever Gordon Ramsay shows up to the failing restaurant that has been chosen to feature on an episode of his show, Kitchen Nightmares, it is usually just a matter of time before a battle of wits breaks out between this celebrity chef and the local chef who usually serves customers bland, frozen or just plain disgusting food.

But much to Ramsay’s surprise, he found the owner’s 21-year-old niece working as the head chef when he visited Hot Potato Café.

This restaurant, which was featured in the premiere episode of Kitchen Nightmares’ second season back in 2010, had been struggling so much financially that sisters Claire, Kathryn and Erin could not afford to hire a real chef.

So they convinced Danielle Keller to take the job, even though she had no desire to become a chef.

However, despite the fact that Ramsay could not employ his usual “knock them down a peg” tactics on this spud-themed restaurant’s young and naïve chef, he still managed to whip Hot Potato Café back into shape just in time for the restaurant’s re-launch at the end of the episode.

What’s more – Danielle seemed genuinely excited to stay on as the restaurant’s head chef.

Hot Potato Café’s Danielle – Where is she now?

Unfortunately though, it seems like this excitement was short-lived, as Danielle reportedly left Hot Potato Café shortly after Ramsay’s visit (and just a few months before the restaurant ultimately closed down).

And although there is usually tons of behind-the-scenes drama when a Kitchen Nightmares chef decides to leave their restaurants, it seems as though Danielle simply left to focus on her real-life career goal of becoming a registered nurse.

Currently, Danielle’s LinkedIn profile confirms that she has been working as full-time nurse at Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals for more than six years now.

The Hot Potato Café timeline

Ramsay’s intervention (which almost made this experienced restaurateur throw in the towel completely) was seemingly not enough to save Hot Potato Café, as the restaurant closed down about six months after this Kitchen Nightmares episode aired.

The entire Hot Potato Café timeline can be summarized as follows:

Date Event
March 2007 Claire, Kathryn and Erin open Hot Potato Café
May 2009 The Kitchen Nightmares filming crew arrives
January 29, 2010 The “Hot Potato Café” episode of Kitchen Nightmares premieres
June 9, 2010 The restaurant is put up for sale on Craigslist
August 31, 2010 Hot Potato Café closes permanently

Did the Kitchen Nightmares intervention not work?

In the end, Hot Potato Café only stayed open for about a year after Ramsay and his Kitchen Nightmares filming crew first made it to Fishtown, Philadelphia.

However, while it may seem like Hot Potato Café’s quick closure confirmed Ramsay’s first instinct – that the business was beyond repair – the actual reason why Hot Potato Café closed down is much less sinister.

In reality, Hot Potato Café’s lease had simply expired, and the landlord had decided to sell the property, instead of renewing Claire, Kathryn and Erin’s lease.

In fact, by the time it closed down, Hot Potato Café had earned an above-average 3.5 out of 5-star rating on Yelp.

How Hot Potato Café’s owners felt about being on the show

Perhaps the most compelling reason why it was likely not Ramsay’s- or Kitchen Nightmares’ fault that Hot Potato Café closed down, was the glowing review that Claire gave the show and its host.

Claire spoke to The Temple News about her experience filming the show in February 2010.

Despite calling the week-long filming period of the show a “group psychotherapy with a really mean therapist”, she did confirm that filming for the show was not all that bad, saying “We really had a ball”.

The restaurant that took Hot Potato Café’s place

Once Hot Potato’s lease ended, this old restaurant was replaced with a brand new gastro pub called ‘Lloyd Whiskey Bar’.

According to the website’s menu, Lloyd Whisky Bar was first established in 2012 by Scott Coudriet and his wife, Taylor, who came into the project with plenty of years of experience from running another bar called Whiskey Ward in New York City.

Lloyd is still open to this day and has proven to be fairly popular with the local Fishtown foodies and whiskey aficionados.

The bar currently has a 4.2 out of 5-star rating on Yelp and has even been featured in the Philadelphia Weekly’s 2023 roundup of the ‘50 Best Bars in Philadelphia’, which is the same publication that published Brian McManus’s scathing “Spuddy Hell” review.