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Will TV makeover do the trick for Mystic Treats?

Ingredients for Chef Robert Irvine’s “Restaurant: Impossible” show on the Food Network: A failing restaurant; volunteer painters, construction workers, decorators; $10,000.

Instructions: Combine ingredients over the course of 48 hours, serve to diners who’ve made reservations for the big reveal.

The British chef, assisted by a team of HGTV designers and a general contractor, has tried to breathe new life into more than 120 restaurants in the three years since the show launched. It’s become one of the top-rated Food Network programs.

The team redoes whatever restaurant elements need work, including everything from décor to cleaning to the menu or food, staff training or promotional activity, or lack of it. Subject restaurants have included eateries in New Jersey, Rhode Island, Delaware, North Carolina, Missouri, Florida, California, and even Mystic, Conn.

Now Irvine and his crew are coming to Ashland on Tuesday and Wednesday to give the “Restaurant: Impossible” treatment to Mystic Treats in Tolman Creek Plaza, and are asking Ashlanders to volunteer to help rescue the restaurant.

Mystic Treats founders and owners Erika and Michael Lowe borrowed money from a customer in September to keep the doors open at 2345 Ashland St., where they’ve been open about a year. Mystic Treats started as a vegetarian restaurant in Talent two years before that.

The move cost about $40,000 and a jump in rent to $3,200 from $1,750 a month; rent has since gone up to $4,200, the couple said in September. (Under terms of their agreement with the Food Network, the Lowes aren't allowed to speak to the media until after filming is complete.)

Their new site has seen a succession of restaurants come and go, including an Azteca restaurant that was there for 16 years and then, in relatively quick order, a Korean barbecue, another Mexican restaurant and an Old Farmhouse eatery.

The Food Network is counting on individuals to come forward in short order to keep things cooking at Mystic Treats. Wanted are people to do painting, crafting, construction, remodeling, cleaning and decorating. Skilled contractors, electricians, plumbers and painters are encouraged to lend a hand.

Three shifts are available; volunteers can sign up for any or all shifts: 1 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 4; 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 4, to 2 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5; and 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5

There’s no pay, but meals are provided. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and may be on camera. Signups are due via email by 9 a.m. Friday, Oct. 31.

Volunteers should send the email to rivolunteer@shootersinc.com and use FN 1004 OR VOLUNTEER in the subject line of the email, and say what shifts they’d like, give their full name, cell phone number, what their skill set and profession is (e.g., plumber or painter). Volunteers need to receive a confirmation email before appearing at the restaurant/TV set.

Reservations are also being accepted for the grand reopening at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5. Two seatings are available: Approximately 12 tables at 6 p.m. and 18 tables at 7:30 p.m. Call Mystic Treats at 541-897-0045 for reservations.

Reach Daily Tidings editor Bert Etling at betling@dailytidings.com or 541-631-1313. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/betling.



Empty tables at Mystic Treats during the daytime. Daily Tidings / file photo
Empty tables at Mystic Treats during the night-time. Bert Etling / Daily Tidings