The mayor of Rock Island says the city tried to help the owner of Goombazz Big City Eatzz succeed but bad timing may have delivered the restaurant's fatal blow.

"The last few months have been awfully hard on businesses because of the cold," Mayor Dennis Pauley said Thursday. "It was especially hard on restaurants and bars. It's so cold, people haven't wanted to go out at night."

Although the owners have not commented, Goombazz appears to have closed. The doors have been locked at least since Tuesday, and a sign placed on the entrance Wednesday said, "Goombazz Big City Eatzz is closed. Thank you for your support."

Owner Brenda Brewer has said she had high hopes the publicity resulting from the Goombazz episode of "Restaurant Impossible" on the Food Network would help her dig out of more than $300,000 in restaurant debt. Although it was shot in October, the episode did not air until December, and the mayor said restaurant and bar business plummeted that month and has not bounced back.

"Restaurant Impossible" invested $10,000 in a Goombazz renovation during the taping in the fall. By that time, Brewer said, the restaurant already was losing $10,000 a month.

Part of the Goombazz debt includes more than a year of food and beverage taxes to the city and a city loan.

Brewer is in arrears by about $6,000 in sales taxes, Pauley said. She also has failed to make monthly payments on a $25,000 city loan.

"(The) loan started on July 1, 2013, and one payment has been made to date," Jeff Eder, Rock Island's economic development director and assistant city manager, said in an email Thursday. "The loan was secured by the business and personal guarantees.

"In time, the city will pursue repayment through all methods of collections. The City has reached out and is waiting to hear back from the owners."

Brewer also was granted a rebate in the amount of $3,839.85 through the city's facade improvement program, related to the improvements she made to the former Godfather's Pizza.

The Goombazz building, 2704 18th Ave., is owned by Lohman Companies, county records show. The $16,134.96 annual property tax bill has been paid on time, the records indicate.

Shortly after the "Restaurant Impossible" taping, Brewer said she took comfort in a comment made by the show's host, Chef Robert Irvine.

"One thing he said to me I probably needed to hear — the most personal thing he said — was this: He said, 'If Brenda fails, he fails, because now this place has his name on it.'"

John Williams, associate producer of the Goombazz episode of "Restaurant Impossible," did not respond to requests for comment.

(18) comments


LOLOLOLOL. The pointless arguments here are hilarious. here some "unadultered truth" for the people who seem to have lost perspective.

The restaurant in question FAILED. The owners FAILED. the employees FAILED. Whatever previous successes they had being entrepreneur don't apply here, and and trying too say that they do simply shows that you are too personally vested in the owners to make a rational argument based on facts and not emotions. And arguing this will only prove my point.


Unadulterated what?????

Point two, he's owned 20+ successful restaurants.

What are the names of the 30+ restaurants that Sal owned in a twenty tears period?
They would have been open for only 18 MONTHS each.


Billy boy,Truth is so far off base it's

Bwayne, shut it. You are clueless. Sal owned several eating establishments on Coney Island, several small restaurants in Brooklyn, Flushing, and Philadelphia. It's a matter of public record, Bwayne. Now if you could only use the internet........Plus, if you knew Brenda, or worked with her (I had the pleasure of knowing her for over 20 years), you would know some information. Yes, Sal was obnoxious to a fault. Yes, he caused a lot of this. But, you foolish boys can't grasp.

Note, Billyboy, that he's owned 20+, and you changed it immediately to 30+ - that in and of itself is called LYING. Seems like you bought the Bridge before Sal had a chance. You do realize he grew up with a family in the restaurant business, don't you? And that he was involved in those as well. And you do know that he claimed to be a restaurant entrepreneur, which means he'd start a business and once it was off the ground, more than likely sell it, or keep it and start another one or two. Coney Island? Owned those and another, which is 3 at once...... I can see owning a business is a hard concept for you to grasp, but get real.

Bwayne - help is available for base? Look at the tax records in the boroughs, and refute that, please. Your ignorance is showing.


Calm down everyone. This is a restaurant. It closed. That's life. It doesn't mean you call people racist, an idiot, or any other name. There will be another pizza place. This woman will get another job. No one has died - let's keep things in perspective.


We went there after the make over, A very average restaurant . Good weather or bad weather wouldn't have helped this dive. # 1 who would name a restaurant Goombazz? This was brought up on the show. The boyfriend ,helper,,, of the owner needed to be fired,!!! He was the issue and the biggest problem, and this was brought up during the show also. The entire staff stated the boyfriend was the biggest issue. Now me as a tax payer has to pick up the slack because of poor decisions made by, the owner,and the City. Thanks for nothing. Now we have another empty restaurant and a empty lot across the street where we should have a new fareway store.The city needs to get it together !!! Next we will see more public housing go up where the fareway store should have went !!!

Who would name it that? Whip out the dictionary, and learn what it means. Then watch the show, and you'll hear them explain why they used that as their name.

Fired? He wasn't working for money, point one. Point two, he's owned 20+ successful restaurants. Should he have been fired? Brenda gave it much thought. He did tone it down, and the times I was there, before and after the airing of the show, he had calmed down by about 90 percent.

You as a taxpayer? This is a drop in the bucket, compared to the other businesses you are supporting. You paid MUCH MUCH more into WalMart being built in the west end.

Why would we need a fairway store there, when there is an ALDI 8 blocks away to the East, Hy-Vee 1 block to the East, Save a lot 11 blocks to the north? The Walmart deal was negotiated before Audobon/Fairway was discussed, so it would be foolish to open a cut-rate grocery store, after Country Market couldn't stay in business, 6 blocks away. Wal-Mart is at least far enough away that it won't be impacted by Hy-Vee. It will also bail out the west end, and put a grocery store nearby, on the main routes.

Public housing? It isn't zoned for it yet. Perhaps if you attended council meetings, you would know this.

Why don't you care as much about the original Audobon school, which is still standing?

Sorry, fairway never gets a dime of my business. Low quality foods at high prices? No thanks.

Comment deleted.

Nope, friends with Brenda for more than 20 years, sorry. 20 businesses? Yep, he is an entrepreneur. Open a dictionary, and see what they do. (Hint, start a business, keep it or sell it for a profit, and start more).

Yep, a pink slime selling Fairway is all you think about. Sorry - don't want that trash in my town. Even ALDI is much more upscale than Fairway.

Fairway, as I pointed out, and you failed to grasp, was 26 blocks from Jewel, 24 blocks from an Asian Supermarket, 8-10 blocks from ALDI's, several quick shops, and Family Dollars selling food, 1 block from a Hy-Vee that sold quality food for less than fairway, and a Sav-A-Lot that was only 11 blocks away. Not to mention, a country market that also had better quality or same quality of fairway, and couldn't stay in business. Nope, didn't want a fairway to come in and promptly close. Walmart will have higher quality food for more people at much less costs than fairway, and the people won't be eating garbage meat.

Low income housing going in where the New Audobon school was at? Proof please. You realize it has to be zoned that way, and it's currently not.

I guess if you feel that way, stay out of RI. We all know a fairway wouldn't have attracted you to the city.


mayor pauley typical liberal democrat lets give money to a failed business the city won't get
one dam cent back wasted money like everything else the mayor and city alderman think is a great idea now we have a city wide boil order due to outdated water system.
but the city acts like it only a small part of the city affected

Lou Ford
Lou Ford

RiTaxpayer is a typical uninformed conservative. First of all, the RI CIRLF loan program, which they were a part of, is a revolving loan fund, by which MANY businesses in the city take part in and payback. Its one of those instances you know, where government actually helps the private sector. The facade improvement program is the same. (You didn't build that alone, you had help from the city). And btw, Pauley is a hardcore conservative who loves Fox News. Anyone who knows him and his friends knows that.


You really think this business owner is going to pay back all the delinquent taxes and loan payments? With what? I'm not against giving loans to businesses that have a sound business plan but this restaurant's business plan must have been written on the back of a dirty napkin.

Do you know Brenda? I do. Apparently you didn't see her business plan, and are doing your usual casting of stones, as you always do. Nine out of 10 restaurants fail their first year. Look at all of the epic failures in Bettendorf, and look at the ones that need to fail. Hows that Jumer's Castle Lodge doing? How about that area over by the cinemas, where restaurants file right and left? Dunkin Donuts? Qdoba?

Lou Ford, I know Pauley and family, and must agree. Then again, hearing rants about the evil democrats in Rock Island, knowing it's non-partisan is quite telling about the intelligence of some of these people.


Too funny! What until I tell Dennis that he's being portrayed as being a "Hardcore Conservative," he will get a chuckle out of that. I assume you are saying this to be funny or you obviously know nothing about him or his family.

How ignorant! He's not a liberal democrat. The city is NON-PARTISAN.

In 1953 when the city adopted the Council-Manager form of government the city once again went to non-partisan elections and it continues to this day.

In 1984 a referendum appeared on the city ballot asking whether voters wanted to adopted partisan elections or continue with non-partisan elections, the referendum was defeated by an overwhelming margin.

Instead of whining, and demonstrating your ignorance of how the city is run (it's the city manager, NOT the MAYOR), run for alderman. My property taxes went down last year. I have no problem having a property tax increase to pay for the millions needed to fix the water system. Question is, do you even own a home? If so, how much do you want your taxes increased?

Are you perhaps a racist?

Rock Island has issued a boil advisory effective immediately for the area of 7th Avenue south to the Rock River and from 11th Street east to the Moline border.

Note: That doesn't include the minorities and the poor, and the Augie students that live north of 7th Ave, and West of 11th Street. Both significant areas. Doesn't include South Rock Island, either. Nor the Casino.

The press release, which I posted here, says it's an ADVISORY for a portion, NOT a SMALL PORTION. The article also states that this is PRECAUTIONARY, and THERE IS NO INDICATION that the water is unsafe for consumption.

May of us are taxpayers, and I'm not all atwitter because of a restaurant closing, nor of a boil ADVISORY.


the food was horrible and so was the service! something simple took almost 30 min to get for lunch with two other people in the place.


Robert Irvine? You calling him the jerk? Hmmmm you sure about that? Everyone knows he is like that. Brenda should have known that and expected it.
Someone's feelings got hurt.........
I hate when I hear business is down because of the weather, it's to cold out so we didn't get that much business... If it was summer the same lame excuse will be used.
** didn't get gas in my car, it was to cold to get it**
Robert Irvine shouldn't feel like he failed nor Brenda should blame him. He showed/told her how to make the business succeed. She didn't listen. She wanted to be on the show, thinking it would solve her problems. It didn't. Not paying YOUR loan isn't Robert Irvine's fault, it's your own.


Who would go there after watching that show!? That guy was a jerk.

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