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24 Hours to Hell and Back: What did the owner and his customers think?

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WATERBURY -- There was no holding back at Vasi's Restaurant and Bar in Waterbury, Wednesday.

Chef Gordon Ramsay with "24 Hours to Hell and Back" was looking to turn around an in debt Italian restaurant.

“When he comes into your restaurant, your space, there's conflict,” said Vasilios Kaloidis, who owns Vasi's.

The dining room changed from a dark, classic Italian style to a more Mediterranean look. The menu was streamlined to compliment the look, going from an old school Italian menu to one with a Greek flare. Even the name changed to Vasi's Taverna. It was an intense 24 hours.

“The whole experience was very stressful, very stressful. You didn't know that he was coming until the last minute. You thought it was something else. And then he came in, and you know, he's a very intense person,” said Kaloidis.

The whole staff changed, too, from the way they waited on tables to how they greeted customers. They say it was an experience that brought them closer together. For customers, it shows.

“When we walked in that night, immediately we noticed a brighter ambiance, just overall a more welcoming environment,” said Richard Cesarello from Watertown.

“This place was kind of stagnant with the same atmosphere, same food and everything, so it's kind of nice that he came in and kicked him in the pants to change things up,” said John Strang from Waterbury.

After 17 years, that's not easy to do.

“It pushed me to renovate and to change. It pushed me to take a menu I had for 17 years and change it, and go for a new concept, a new logo, new name,” said Kaloidis.

Google Map for coordinates 41.586105 by -73.077339.

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