WESTWOOD, N.J. — Westwood's Jack's Cafe got a rockin' makeover on Food Network's "American Diner Revival," thanks to celebrity designer Ty Pennington and celebrity chef Amanda Freitag.
Chris D'Eletto and Risa Kandel's seven children surprised them by transforming their Broadway eatery from a classic 1940s boxcar diner into a rock 'n roll rail car while they were on a weekend vacation.
"How often does this happen to somebody?" said D'Eletto, who opened the diner with Kandel in 2006. "It's like hitting the lottery."
The "modern-day Brady Bunch family" is now serving up new menu items such as Freitag's "Jersey Girl Pork Chop" and a new mozzarella, parmesan and vegetable lasagna.
The diner's newly red, tiled walls also sport vinyl records with the D'Eletto and Kandel families' photographs on them.
D'Eletto's favorite part of the renovation is the stainless-steel guitar now hanging on the wall. He spotted the $1,200 piece of artwork several months ago at a local art shop but didn't buy it because it was out of his price range, he said.
One of D'Eletto's customers donated it to him for the show.
"It’s just been a godsend and the best thing about it is that all of our children came together," said D'Eletto of his five children and Kandel's two children.
"The whole production team at one point or another told me and my wife what great kids we have and that's biggest compliment of the whole thing."
The seven D'Eletto and Kandel children kept the secret from their parents until the end, even when the owner called during production, concerned that his son, Joey, wasn't taking his calls.
"He knows that he has to answer his phone whenever we're away," D'Eletto said. "But we had no idea what we were walking into."
D'Eletto anticipates that the publicity on Food Network will continue to bring more customers.
"I'm totally surprised," he said. "I'm very grateful."
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