Uncle Andy’s is getting ready for its close-up, again.

For the second time, the Food Network show “Restaurant: Impossible” is coming to South Portland to film an episode at the 65-year-old local landmark in the city’s Knightville neighborhood.

Robert Irvine, host of “Restaurant: Impossible,” visits with fans outside Uncle Andy’s in South Portland in 2014. Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer

Robert Irvine and the rest of the show’s restaurant makeover crew came to Uncle Andy’s in 2014, infusing the diner with a new look, new color scheme and some new menu items. On Monday, they will be back to do another segment on the place, basically a look at how Uncle Andy’s has been doing since its TV makeover.

Owner Dennis Fogg will close the diner to the general public during the filming Monday, but he wants friends and customers to be part of the show. So he went on Facebook and found about 40 people who agreed to be on-screen customers during the filming. There will be two seatings, at 10:30 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.

“They did some good things when they were here, like pointing out how I was cutting some corners,” Fogg said, referring to the original visit from the show. “Now I use fresh beef and fresh french fries, and I use more Maine ingredients, like blueberries and cranberries.”

But Fogg, who cooks at the diner and also works as a stand-up comedian, fought some of the changes Irvine wanted. For instance, he kept the place’s original horseshoe-shaped counters. He also continued his labor-intensive but crowd-pleasing method of making pancakes in any shape a child wants, from dinosaurs to a map of the United States, Hawaii and Alaska included.


“They wanted me to start doing dinner and to not do so many kids items. I told them we cater to kids and families,” Fogg said, adding that after trying dinner service for a while, he went back to just being open for breakfast and lunch.

But Fogg did let the crew build a sort of storefront divider, with windows and awnings, between the counters and the cooking area, which had been open before. They also changed the color scheme from a blue-and-white to a light green-and-brown motif, with wood floors instead of blue-and-white checked tile.

“Restaurant: Impossible” aired on the Food Network from 2011 to 2016, before going on hiatus and returning to the network in April. The usual premise is that Irvine, a celebrity chef, and his crew have two days and a $10,000 budget to improve a restaurant in need of help. In the case of Uncle Andy’s, Fogg’s four adult children had written to the show asking for help so that Fogg and his wife, Tina, could stop losing sleep over the diner’s bottom line.

Fogg said the “Restaurant: Impossible” producers did not want details of the episode to be filmed Monday to get out before it airs, so he couldn’t say much about it. He’s not sure when that air date will be, but believes it will be later this year. A publicist from the Food Network confirmed the filming Thursday but would not provide details.

After the original “Restaurant: Impossible” episode aired, Fogg said business doubled for a few months, bringing in many tourists and people from outside the area. He said he still sees a bump in business in the summer and when the episode airs in reruns.

Fogg said the last time he was on the show, he started to get “headliner” bookings for his comedy act, instead of just being one of many comedians on a bill. So when they asked him to be on the show again, he was glad to do it. Plus, the last time the crew came, their mission was to find everything wrong with Uncle Andy’s and try to fix it, which wasn’t that pleasant for Fogg.

“Now they’re just here to check in and say, ‘Hey, you’re doing all right,'” he said.

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