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Examiner.com: Getting to Know: Bar Rescue's Jon Taffer

August 10, 2012


From Examiner.com:

Fort Lauderdale residents and especially ITB-ers have something to be excited about. The highly-anticipated second season of Spike TV's hit show 'Bar Rescue' premieres tonight at 10pm, featuring a prime beach bar location, a first for the show, right in our own backyard, namely the tiki bar at Bamboo Beach on the Galt Ocean Mile.

For years, the tiki bar, located in the Ocean Manor Hotel Resort, steadily lost its local following and became more or less a hotel guest trap without much to offer other than the stunning view of Fort Lauderdale Beach that is just steps away from the bar.

I used to frequent Bamboo Beach with coworkers when I worked at the Village Grille in the little oasis that is Lauderdale by the Sea, back when the tiki bar was still a pretty lively joint with a nice mix of residents and hotel guests. It was our standard ‘We'll just go for one..’ place that somehow always seemed to suck us in and the next thing you'd know it would be four in the morning and we'd had the most fun you can fit into one evening, according to accounts we'd receive the next day.

One of the main reasons I'd go there so often was the staff there were all people I knew that either I had worked with at other places or who worked at neighboring restaurants to mine. The ITB network is a pretty tight group in South Florida; we go to many of the places we do because of who we know there, but even that wasn't enough of a draw to keep me engaged after awhile. Gradually, attendance there dropped off and it just inexplicably lost its lustre, so instead of heading to Bamboo Beach to have a great time that I'd barely remember, I, like many other locals, barely remembered to go there at all.

In the Bamboo Beach episode, Jon Taffer, the Nightclub & Bar Media Group Chairman, hospitality industry veteran, Florida resident and host of the show, goes head-to-head with Bamboo Beach owner, Frank Talerico, to transform Bamboo Beach in an attempt to lend it a more upscale feel and to woo locals back to their old stomping ground. Jon brought in a surprise chef {who also attended my alma mater before transferring to Johnson & Wales…you’ll see who tonight!}hailing from a standout seafood and sushi bar in NYC to create some seafood items for the revamped menu. It's pretty exciting stuff from a local standpoint as well as for anyone who has been to Bamboo Beach as a guest of the hotel; you won't believe what Jon and his "Bar Rescue" team have done with the place.

I had the chance to sit down with Jon on a rain-soaked night in WPB while he was on set filming another South Florida location for "Bar Rescue," Mystique, which is the first African-American club the show has tackled. We discussed everything from the show itself to how the hospitality industry is reclaiming it's former prestige, and he shared valuable insights on how bar and restaurant owners can compel their staff to transform any business into a shining success and how having the right attitude can make or break even the greatest place in the best location.

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CA: Hello, Jon! Congratulations on your second season of Bar Rescue!

JT: Thanks! It feels good, it feels good!

. . .

To see full interview visit Examiner.com.


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