It's a good thing Diane Emery wasn't emotionally attached to the massive iron chandeliers that hung in her restaurant, Caseyville Cafe.
The TV production crew got rid of them fast, along with the heavy drapes, dark-green carpet and mural of an Italian landscape.
"Robert Irvine does not like chandeliers," said Diane, 59, of Caseyville. "That was one of the first things that needed to come down. He does that everywhere he goes."
Robert is a British celebrity chef who hosts the Food Network's reality show "Restaurant: Impossible." He travels around the country, helping troubled restaurants clean up their act.
Robert oversees a $10,000 remodeling job at each stop and makes other suggestions on menus and operations.
His crew spent three days at Caseyville Cafe in November, working around the clock. Local customers joined volunteers from all over the country.
"A lot of people come in here and say, 'I'll bet (the show is) staged,'" Diane said. "But it's not. It's very spontaneous."
The experience was both exciting and stressful for Diane and her daughter, Robin (Beard) Gordon, who co-owns the restaurant.
Three cooks quit over disagreements in the kitchen -- two during filming and one a day later. Servers endured criticism for not being friendly or efficient enough and wearing jackets on duty.
"There were cameras everywhere," said server Michelle Clark, 54, of Fairmont City. "We were miked, so they could eavesdrop on us. They heard everything we said."
The episode is set for broadcast at 9 p.m. Wednesday on the Food Network. Some of the restaurant's employees are almost afraid to watch.
"I'm sure there's going to be a lot of embarrassing parts," Michelle said. "We thought they were going to send us a tape before it aired, but they didn't."
Diane and Robin opened Caseyville Cafe in 2009, serving affordable, home-cooked meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Daily specials range from spaghetti to meatloaf, salmon patties to ham and beans, turkey and dressing to barbecued pork steaks, fried chicken to stuffed peppers ($6.25 with two sides).
"We've always had a reputation for good food, but lousy service," Diane said. "No matter how much we trained the workers, when Robin and I walked out the door, they'd just do whatever they wanted. It was so frustrating."
Diane sent an email to "Restaurant: Impossible" last fall, asking for help. A producer flew in for a visit, looked the place over and taped interviews with staff.
"The producer called a week later," Diane said. "She giggled and said, 'The executives here love Caseyville Cafe. They want you to be on the show.'
"And I'm thinking to myself, 'My gosh, what did my employees say to her?' They must have thought it was funny. The show loves drama."
The restaurant opened for breakfast on Nov. 12, 2012, the first day of filming, but closed at noon for two days of remodeling.
The crew created a contemporary country atmosphere in the dining room. They painted some walls blue or green and formed patterns on others with rust, brown and tan boards, accented with metal art.
They replaced chandeliers with giant white globes, covered the floor with wood-look vinyl, lined shelves with decorative canisters and left windows uncovered.
"It's about a 200-percent improvement," said customer Rick Casey Jr., 34, of Caseyville, a Village Board of Trustees member. "Before, it was kind of a dark place, and you didn't want to stay very long. Now, they have to throw me out."
Rick was eating a grilled cheese sandwich ($3.75 with chips), cucumber salad and macaroni and cheese. Friends Steve and Danielle Reid, ordered breakfast, which is served all day.
"I'm definitely going to watch the show," said Steve, 25, of Caseyville. "Just knowing the employees and seeing them on TV is going to be pretty comical."
Diane still whips up her daily specials at Caseyville Cafe. But she and Robin took Robert's advice and reduced their list of sandwiches. They started making house-cut french fries ($2.25), as well as deep-fried apples, corn on the cob and asparagus.
"He suggested serving glazed carrots, fresh not canned, and we have done that," Diane said. "He asked us to serve steak at least one night a week, and we do on Wednesday nights.
"We previously served frozen country fried steak on Saturdays, and (Robert) showed us how to make them from beef cube steaks, and they taste so much better."
Diane and Robin were most impressed by the time the TV star spent talking to them off camera.
"He is very genuine about trying to save your restaurant," said Robin, 38, of Staunton, who also works as a Lebanon mail carrier. "That's his goal. The first day he was really hard on us, trying to make us see our mistakes."
The women got a big surprise at the end of filming. Robert arranged for installation of a $5,000 commercial gas range in the kitchen, over and above the $10,000 budget.
His assistant, chef Alphonse "Lee" Lucier, also left something for employees. He scrawled his email address above the hand-washing sink in case someone wanted to ask a question.
The "Restaurant: Impossible" buzz seemed to boost business at Caseyville Cafe for a few weeks, but January and February were slow. Diane and Robin are looking forward to warm weather.
"The producers called back and asked if I would do (the show) again, and I said, 'Yes,'" Diane said. "It was quite an experience. It was comical."