Escondido

Food Network’s ‘Restaurant: Impossible’ Raises $119K for Escondido Cafe Owner Hurt in Hit-and-Run

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Stars of the Food Network show "Restaurant: Impossible" were among attendees of a fundraiser Monday for the owner of a retro Escondido, California, restaurant who was severely injured in a hit-and-run crash days before Christmas.

The block party-style event, hosted by stars of the restaurant makeover show, raised at least $119,000 for Kaitlyn Rose "Rosie" Pilsbury, 33, the owner of Rosie's Cafe who was struck by a white Ford Explorer while she was riding her Harley Davidson motorcycle through Vista.

The crash sent Pilsbury to the ICU of Palomar Medical Center, where she remained in a coma for weeks.

Meanwhile, the restaurant's staff struggled to keep the establishment afloat without her.

One of Hollywood's top chefs made the drive south to Escondido for a special cafe owner in need of a lift.

"She’s not there to run her business so they’re struggling. Everything they get today is going to her and her family to help her," said a fellow Escondido business owner, Louisa Magoon of the Grand Tea Room.

The Restaurant: Impossible team became connected to Pilsbury when they helped her transform the more than 90-year-old restaurant in an episode of their show that aired in April 2019, outfitting the restaurant with 1940s-style mint green and red decor.

Robert Irvine, Taniya Nayak and Tom Bury of the restaurant makeover show shared a photo of themselves at Rosie's Cafe ahead of the block party.

Monday's event -- designed in a boardwalk theme for the New Jersey native -- was planned by the Food Network to support the restauranteur and her family as she continues her journey to recovery, according to a Facebook post from the restaurant.

"Nobody expects that a community of people will come together like this and create such a magnificent event. This is beyond anything you could imagine and the love is palpable here," Pilsbury's mother Marie Pilsbury said.

Magoon of the Grand Tea Room, who was helping sell tickets to Spanish speakers, said Pilsbury was an involved community member so it only makes sense that the community would come together to support her.

"I'm over the moon with excitement because she is such a nice girl and she works very hard for her business," Magoon said.

The block party started at 3 p.m. and cost $20 to attend. Though reservations were required to be made by Valentine's Day, a tweet from Irvine hours ahead of the event urged people to stop by.

The owner, Kaitlyn Rose, remained unconscious in the ICU on Saturday evening. NBC 7's Danica McAdam is live in Escondido.

All the proceeds will be donated to Pilsbury and her family, the restaurant said in a Facebook post. A more traditional GoFundMe set up following Pilsbury's accident had raised about $27,000 by Feb. 17.

Rosie’s Cafe is outfitted with pictures of Rosie the Riveter, an iconic figure for Pilsbury. The restaurant owner is known to wear her hair like Rosie the Riveter and rolls up her sleeve to show off her bicep for photos with customers.

"That whole arm thing, she's working on it. That arm, she broke the humerus and wrist but she's now in a position to do the therapy to get that going," Pilsbury's mother said.

In its decades in the heart of downtown Escondido, along Grand Avenue near Broadway, the restaurant has been owned by four different people; Pilsbury has operated the establishment as Rosie's Cafe since 2016.

SDSO said the search continues for the hit-and-run driver that injured Pilsbury.

The suspect was previously described as a 6-foot-tall man in his 30s with short hair and an approximately 4-inch beard.

The driver left his SUV at the scene at West Vista Way and North Melrose Drive in Vista and ran away on foot, SDSO said. The registered owner of the SUV was not a suspect, authorities said at the time of the crash.

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