(Editor’s Note The block party-style event, hosted by stars of the restaurant makeover show, raised at least $119,000 for Kaitlyn Rose “Rosie” Pilsbury, 33, the owner of Rosie’s Cafe who was struck by a white Ford Explorer while she was riding her Harley Davidson motorcycle through Vista, according to KNSD 39/7 San Diego.)
Got to give it to to reality TV makeover chef Robert Irvine and his Food Network’s “Restaurant: Impossible” show. Irvine and company are staging the recording of “a very special episode” at 3 p.m. Monday, Feb. 17 on Grand Avenue and Maple Street to raise funds for Kaitlyn Rose (Pillsbury), 33, the seriously injured proprietor of Rosie’s Cafe.
Usually, TV shows pay extras and talent. In this case, those attending the very special episode’s recording session pay $20. They also will be asked to sign a release since the event will be shown on the Food Network later this year.
The hook here, however, is “all proceeds go directly to Kaitlyn and her family,” which, obviously, is a good thing, albeit an unusual way to raise funds. A more traditional gofundme page has raised over $25,000 as of Feb. 6 towards a $50,000 goal.
That aside, fact is Rose truly suffered a horrible accident, not of her making, and remains in serious condition at a local hospital. Irvine’s “Restaurant: Impossible” connection dates back to his restaurant makeover at Rose’s cafe in January 2019.
Hit and run
Rose was seriously injured just before Christmas.
While riding her motorcycle northbound on Melrose Drive, just north of West Vista Way, around 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, a man driving a white Ford Explorer southbound on Melrose apparently turned left, and straight into Rose, as the driver tried to enter a strip mall parking lot containing an AutoZone and Wendy’s, according to Sgt. Hernan Gonzalez with the Sheriff’s Vista traffic division.
The driver abandoned his vehicle and fled the scene. Deputies couldn’t find him. The driver is described as a male with a dark complexion in his 30s, 6-feet tall and a slender build. The suspect had short hair and a dark-colored beard, approximately 4 inches in length, Gonzalez said.
The driver remains outstanding. Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Deputy Jason Malson at (760) 940-4556.
Here are the last two updates on Rose’s condition courtesy of her mother...
Day 47Thursday February 6, 2020Hello friends! I hope all is well with everyone. Thank you for your patience in-between updates.Kaitlyn has continued to work very hard with all the different therapies. She is getting stronger every day but with that, comes increased pain. Unfortunately, as her pain levels increase, so does her irritability and headaches. The staff here has done an amazing job implementing a schedule to help manage that pain. And last night was the best night’s sleep ever!The staff has also helped me navigate through some difficulties with communicating effectively withKaitlyn. As you can imagine, this ordeal has been very trying for the both of us. We are continually working through our feelings and understanding of the situation.We are both very grateful for the tremendous help we have received from everyone. It has made a significant impact on our progress to move forward.Thank you again for all your prayers and loving kindness. It is truly appreciated.
Hello Everyone!Sorry for the delay in the updates.Day 41 … Friday 1/31/2020.Kaitlyn is doing amazing with her PT, OT, and Speech therapies. She is back to walking with the 4-prong cane (which is great). And they have her pedaling a bike while sitting in a wheelchair (I’m sure most of you have seen one of those pieces of equipment).
Speech is concentrating on memory skills while OT works on personal hygiene, upper extremity, and writing. Again, all therapist, nurses, CNA’s etc … focus on memory skills.This facility has been a great experience for both Kaitlyn and me. Everyone is so supportive. We still have a long road a head of us, but, with all the love and support from everyone, we will get to where we need to be!Thank you again for all the healing prayers. We feel blessed.
As for the big fundraising day, Irvine and company are scheduled to host a block party and fundraiser at 3 p.m. Monday, Feb. 17, at Grand Avenue and Maple Street in downtown Escondido.
The carnival will have a New Jersey theme, in honor of Pilsbury’s heritage, and it will include food booths, arcade games and rides. General admission tickets are $20. Children under 3 are free. All proceeds go to the Pilsbury family.
The carnival will be filmed for a future “Restaurant: Impossible” episode. Show producer Jill Littman said the episode will air as part of the series’ next season, which should begin airing in May. As a result, all attendees will be asked to sign a release. For information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In an interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune last April, Irvine said that reinventing Rosie’s Cafe at 117 W. Grand Ave. was one of his favorite episodes of “Restaurant: Impossible,”a series that aired on Food Network from 2011 to 2016 and then re-launched last spring with the Rosie’s episode as its premiere. The British chef is known for his tough-as-nails personality and he said Pilsbury was equally tough and resistant to change, but he eventually won her over.
“Makeovers are tough, period, but this one was tough emotionally because I truly believe in her and she’s inspiring to me. It’s the first one in many episodes where I really wanted her to succeed. I wanted to teach her. I wanted to get through to her,” Irvine said.
The Rosie’s makeover involved upgrading the menu, raising the prices to a sustainable level and giving the restaurant a new identity inspired by Pilsbury’s personal story and New Jersey heritage. In the months after the episode aired, business improved, according to the Union-Tribune.
Some regulars had complained online about the higher food prices and the loss of some favorite menu items. In the fall, Pilsbury hired a new kitchen manager, brought back some of the old menu items, expanded the shop’s pie-baking program and had introduced weekly barbecue and live music nights.
Bit of Rosie’s backstory
Rosie’s transformation into new Rosie’s on Restaurant Impossible ended Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, following three days of Chef(?) Irvine’s makeovers. He spent one day getting the lay of the land, then put his crew to work for 36 hours before the cafe re-opened. The show aired last April as the kick-off for the show’s 14th season on The Food Network.
Rosie’s Cafe opened in December 2016. Rose was an Oceanside resident formerly attached to French Bakery Cafe, a well-known bakery and fancy American comfort food spot off East Vista Way in Vista.
The 117 W. Grand Avenue location had been owned and operated as a restaurant since at least the early 1920s. Hoffman’s Pharmacy was across the street. JC Penney was down the block.
“It started out as a cafe known as the ‘Chat ’n’ Chew,’ then changed hands and names several times before it was taken over in the 1970s by Ted and Violet McCain, who introduced Ted’s grandfather’s signature cinnamon rolls to his customers,” according to Pam Kragen in the San Diego Union Tribune.
Enter Oscar and Eva Champion, who turned it into Champion’s Family Restaurant..
Champion’s old menu read like a trip down memory lane with page after page — 28 pages in all — of historic photos and references mixed with food choices and history.
“There have been millions of cups of coffee served at 117 Grand Avenue for the past ninety years,” the menu, with page after page of food choices and historical photos, said. “First called the ‘Chat-o-Chow,’ the lunch counter served as the center of the city gossip and small town politics from 1923, when Escondido’s population was 1,734 residents, to 1948.