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Staff File Photo / Michael Adams, executive chef and owner of Blue Orleans Restaurant on Chattanooga's Southside, dishes up his signature Creole Red Beans and Rice in this 2015 file photo.

February was an interesting month for Mike Adams and Cherita Bloodwirth, owners of Blue Orleans restaurant on Market Street.

First, they got word that they would be getting a video call from Dave Portnoy of Barstool Fund fame regarding some funding they would receive to help keep their restaurant open.

Then, later in the month, they learned Robert Irvine, host of the reality TV show "Restaurant: Impossible" would be returning with a crew to follow up on how the restaurant was doing a little more than a year after his first visit. Filming for the original episode, which aired in February 2020, was a stress-filled event as the couple, who moved here after Hurricane Katrina, were trying to save not only their restaurant but dealing with personal issues as well.

Adams said on Thursday afternoon that the return visit was not nearly as stressful, even amid the pandemic, because the couple and the staff were acting on Irvine's advice to keep the restaurant in business.

"I'm excited about it coming on," he said of the episode, titled "Two Stops in Tennessee" and airing at 9 Thursday night and again at 1 a.m. "I think it was a much better experience the second time around. Robert had not lowered his standards. I just think we had stepped ours up from the first time."

Bloodwirth, who was busy Thursday afternoon getting ready to open the doors, said she didn't know when the show would be airing.

"We aren't having a watch party," she said. "We are just getting ready to open."

Adams said Irvine and crew occasionally do make return visits. The show is also revisiting Z Fish House in Loudon, Tennessee, during the two-hour episode.

Even if the pandemic added another difficulty to the restaurant's struggles last year, Adams said Blue Orleans was no different than any other restaurant in that regard.

"It affected everyone equally across the board, especially in the hospitality industry," he said. "We just had customers really step up and show their support even when we were doing carryout only, so kudos to Chattanooga."

Staff writer Lisa Denton contributed to this story.

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

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