Back to the Bar: Meathead-to-Head
Bar Rescue viewers probably remember The Dirty Rooster, located in Antioch, Illinois, because of owner Rob Hoffman’s drunken antics. They may also remember that part of the transformation of the failing bar to Lake Marie Lodge included Rob’s promise to get and stay sober. And those who watched that episode of Bar Rescue must recall that far too many of the food menu items were made with canned nacho cheese, a product Jon Taffer has dubbed “mystery cheese.”
For this edition of Bar Rescue’s “Back to the Bar,” Chef Nick Liberato was tapped to pop into Lake Marie Lodge and perform recon to find out if Rob was sticking to his promise, what food items he created were still on the menu, and how the bar is doing. The first thing that Chef Nicky discovered? Lake Marie Lodge now carries the unwieldy name The Dirty Rooster Presents Lake Marie Lodge. When asked about the menu Rob said that nothing Chef Nicky created was left because “they weren’t catching on.” Not only is the canned cheese back, so is Rob’s drinking, which was captured on camera. Rob then claimed that sales were about the same…then up 40%...and then up 50%...and then up 70 percent. Rob defended the name change by saying that Lake Marie Lodge is “kinda bland” and defended the horrible food by claiming that it’s what the community wants. Chef Nicky minced no words after it was revealed that he was asked to try the top 5 menu items at the bar, telling Rob he should be ashamed of himself for serving the food to anyone. When confronted by Jon about his claims that the bar is making money, Jon showed that it’s only generating $149 per square foot, translating to a mere $26,000 for the whole month. Because the bar is not making money, the food is bad, his partners have left, and Rob is back to drinking on the job, Jon has declared The Dirty Rooster Presents Lake Marie Lodge a Failure.
Another unforgettable bar that appeared on Bar Rescue, The End Zone was run by partners Justin Whitfield and Shawn Machado. Perhaps the most memorable moment of the episode was Shawn needing to be held back from Justin when tensions boiled over during the rescue. The kitchen was also impossible to forget, as Jon and Vic Vegas called it one of the most disgusting they had ever come across. By the end of the episode, The End Zone was renamed The Houston Sports Hub.
Chef Vic Vegas went back to the bar with a health inspector for recon. The inspector found that the kitchen and bar are clean, but Chef Vic found that the bar had gone back to their old name, The End Zone. When asked how things are going, Justin told Chef Vic that things are up and down but the bar is doing better, and that he recently paid off his tax lien. The bar is now attempting a Coyote Ugly-style theme and Chef Vic noticed that The End Zone seemed to have a good crowd. The bar does have some new and eyebrow-raising competition, however: former partner Shawn Machado and his wife Stephanie left and opened a bar down the road called The Corridor. When Justin and Shawn took the stage during “Back to the Bar” it was revealed that haven’t been in the same room together for over a year, and that the show’s producers had to put them up in separate hotels due to their bad blood. Justin wasted no time telling Jon that he despises Shawn. While the former partners bickered, Justin claimed that Shawn was trying to destroy and otherwise undermine The End Zone: he put flyers on cars in their parking lot for The Corridor’s opening, attacked Justin’s 35-cent wing night with a 34-cent wing night, and offered a $12 steak night after Justin had implemented the promotion. Jon had each bar’s numbers and showed that The End Zone had made $53,000 last month and The Corridor had made only $10,000. Things remained tense but Jon eventually got Justin and Shawn to wish each other well in their respective businesses and give one another a fist bump, but Shawn stood up, left the stage, and removed his mic. Jon declared that the Jury’s Out on The End Zone.
The third and final bar to feature on this episode of “Back to the Bar” was Patriot House, formerly the The Holding Company. The American gastropub is owned by 4 Irish sisters, Danielle, Leona and Marissa Browne, and Natalie Fasoli. During their episode it was clear that the sisters’ main problem was bickering and a lack of communication and leadership.
For “Back to the Bar” recon, Jon sent in 2 local professionals to test the speed of service and food quality during lunch. The spies were instructed to order the 2 most problematic food items from Jon’s visit. Their meals arrived in just over 7 minutes, which is great for professionals in the area looking for a satisfying meal delivered quickly. Not done there, Jon sent in 2 more spies later in the day to test the consistency and quality of Patriot House’s signature cocktails. The spies were instructed to discretely bottle the cocktails, freeze them, and ship them to Jon for analysis. The cocktails were consistent and of good quality and lunch sales are up 30 percent. Jon declared the bar a Success.
- Canned nacho cheese is an entirely processed product. Synthetic nacho cheese is usually made using ingredients like oil extract, hydrogenated soybean oil, complex salts, and monosodium glutamate, which gives nacho cheese its gooey plasticity. It also contains so many preservatives it will last in a can for years without spoiling.
- In order for a bar to be profitable, it must generate at least $180 per square foot.
- A bar must make money within the first 90 days that it’s open to prove viability.
- There are approximately 1,400 bars throughout the United States with the name The End Zone.
- Lunch and happy Hour are dayparts that are largely driven by guests who work in the surrounding area. If a bar is able to capture guests for lunch, they should be able to get those same guests to return for happy hour. This means generating revenue almost before the sun has even gone down.
Be sure to join us for our next Bar Rescue episode and “Back to the Bar” special!