The rollercoaster continues at "America's Next Great Restaurant," and this week Eric of Meltworks (above) has fallen off. Lackluster dipping sauce! A design of a melting cog on his uniform! The judges were grumpy. In the first episode, Eric seemed to have the jump on the others because he'd been thinking about his concept for several years. However, the judges lamented, Eric was inflexible and "not growing with the concept." Last week the judges had said Eric had "plateaued." Ouch. The only grilled cheese we may see in the near future will be at home -- though Eric insists he will pursue his dream of  fast-food grilled cheese on his own. In fact, he's quit his day job to do so.

Joey of Saucy Balls (at right in the tie) and Sandy of Saints & Sinners also felt the wrath of the judges' tribunal.


Steve Ells, judge, had tough words for Joey, who had chosen to look like an Italian gangster with his uniform and in photos (at one point toying with a gun as a prop). Ells called it a "gimmicky gangster meatball" concept.

Sandy's bad food had the judges sputtering and warning her that she had to fire her chef.




At the other extreme, Greg and Krystal, left, of Grill 'Billies won the popular vote at the exhibition with their cherry-cola braised pork sandwiches, never mind that their concept is "grilling." The judges' banter at the Grill 'Billies' booth, though, was confusing as Steve Ells and Curtis Stone first disagreed -- then argued and finally agreed --about the quality of the sandwich. In the end, they both liked it. But you had to feel for Greg and Krystal as the judges offered conflicting opinions. Ah, who do you side with? 

Jamawn of Soul Daddy, Sudhir of Spice Coast and Stephenie of Harvest Sol all won high praise for their food. Check out their uniforms, as well as the others, which they helped design, and vote on which one is the best. Next week's challenge is how they handle food trucks.

Nielsen reports come out Tuesday and I'll update then, but the prospects for a renewal of this reality show are slim as the downward trend continues downward. Update: This episode ranked #78 in the Nielsen ratings and was seen by 2.82 million households.

Who do you think will walk away with the prize?

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