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On Location Blog

Chef Duffy Dishes On Bar Rescue's ZanZBar

March 14, 2013 By: Brian Duffy

Denver Colorado the city of granola, skiing and mountain loving people, which are in fact, great groups of hugely diverse people all commingling in the mountains studded with beauty. I love the city and the fact that it has more craft beer than any other city in the country.

On my way to the Bar Rescue shoot Jon Taffer told me to take public transportation (which was the first time in a long time). In fact, I took the #9 bus. Obviously, there was a reason Taffer asked me to do this. He wanted me to see how people got around, which was key to our recon, considering that in a city of over 600 thousand people 50% of them (roughly 300K) take public transportation every day.

Taffer wanted me to see and understand the demographic in which we needed to attract into a bar that desperately needed help. A bar that screams “I have no idea what I am doing.”

As I get off of the bus with a load of other people. I realize I’m the oldest by far on the bus and find myself flash mobbed by 21-28 year olds. In the mist of the hordes of people getting off the bus, heading out for a night on the town, I hear yelling; an annoying kind of desperation to get attention. Someone was screaming “free shots, free sex, free pool and free foot massages.” Then I see a small man who is the culprit. Oddly enough, my newfound children (I mean bus friends) were all going to other places in the area. And I was told to go to Zan Z Bar, the one with the man yelling outside of it.

When I walked into the place I found a failed attempt at a “pool hall.” I am shocked at how the owner (the man yelling free shots) speaks to his employees. In between him yelling and screaming outside and literally degrade the staff; I have to remember to hold my anger and my tongue.

I then have to chuckle at the menu as it had seven sandwiches all with the exact same ingredients except for the meat (i.e. insert cold cut, cucumbers, green peppers and tomato). I have worked in restaurant for years and, believe me, I have had some bad days. But nothing can compare to what all of you want to hear about.

So let’s get to it.

Yes, people get upset and lash out but you never ever personally attack a staff member. Ami was an attacker. A verbally abusing man from the moment we walked into the place. I listened to him degrade the staff on numerous occasions and then he finally attacked me, a personal attack to deflect the attention from himself.

Now, I am an adult and I am able to handle myself in any situation. I know many people are going to ask why I didn’t haul off and knock this little man’s head off...because I am professional. I retorted to Ami's attack by bringing the focus back on him and letting him know that I didn’t care about the name calling. I did however care about the fact that he was treating his staff like slaves and placing all of the blame on them.

The funny part is... the only thing I heard was that he blamed me for the failure in the kitchen that night; despite the fact the he put oil in the burgers! This almost caused a fire.  He also sent the chef to clean the bathrooms five minutes before the stress test started.

So why didn’t I hit him after his remarks... because I am a much bigger man in many ways and also... because Taffer wouldn’t have let me. However, to my surprise once Ami crossed the line Taffer stepped in! 

Ladies and gents and fans of bar rescue... This definitely goes down as one of my favorite episodes.


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