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On Location Blog

The Black Sheep in Cheviot, OH

August 24, 2012 By: Kristen Santoro

“Every failing bar has a failing owner. And every failing owner has an excuse!” – Jon Taffer during the Black Sheep walk through.

In 2007 Owner Scott, a local firefighter, decided to open the Cheviot, Ohio bar The Black Sheep.  This family owned bar was a huge success at first, pulling in $70,000 a month. However, with Scott’s Uncle Tommy and Cousin Greg acting as silent partners and Scott’s two other jobs, the venue has been left with no functioning management. 

Currently losing $8,000 a month with mounting loans reaching $700,000 it’s only a matter of time before they need to close their doors for good. Scott takes it upon himself, since his partners don’t know how bad the situation really is, to call in renowned bar consultant Jon Taffer and the “Bar Rescue” team to help.

Chevoit, OH has a population of 8,500 people and The Black Sheep is located in the middle of an already saturated marketplace – two dozen bars in its immediate surroundings.  With the lack of management and failing conditions of the bar and staff it’s no wonder people have opted for other local places to enjoy a night out.

During the initial recon Taffer and his two experts, Chef Brian Duffy and Mixologist Peter O’Connor, are shocked and appalled by the things that have been going on in the bar.  “In thirty plus years I have never seen a cook with a kitty litter scoop,” says Taffer while watching the surveillance footage.

Most people think that you can only get sick from a kitchen but that is not the case.  There are plenty of ways a bartender can make a customer ill.  O’Connor and Taffer point out multiple unsanitary practices that the staff has been doing behind the bar including not cleaning out the coolers and stacking glasses that aren’t completely dry. This and many other things lead to mold growth and contamination. But it gets even worse in the kitchen.

The smell being the first thing that hits you upon entering the kitchen was enough but as the inspection went on multiple sanitation issues began to stack up. Chef Duffy demonstrates just how bad it is by scraping clumps of grease off the wall behind the stove, which personally made me gag.  Taffer is furious and advises that kitchen chef, Billy, get his act together or get out.  

Taffer has an enormous amount of work cut out for himself and the “Bar Rescue” team to turn this bar around. Hopefully, the white flag doesn’t get thrown in the air.

I can’t give away much more than that, but tune into Spike TV this Sunday to see the drama of turning around a failing bar business in 72 hours and how Jon Taffer’s rescue panned out. Be sure to check out nightclub.com for exclusive coverage of each episode.


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