Bar Rescue: TJ Quills, New Orleans, LA

Here’s a scenario, take eight high school buddies, $315K, an obscene amount of booze, a historic bar on the main drag in-between two massive universities plagued with the lore of underage drinking and add a splash of sexual harassment and a blatant disregard for any form of law that states anything having to do with the words “Liquor law”. Welcome to TJ Quills. Where I’ll offer you a shot and take my shirt off when you try to leave.

Now this may seem like a farfetched story, but I swear this is exactly what I walked into when I arrived in New Orleans after Jon had called me and said “Duff, I really need your help on this one.” I have heard this before, but never did I hear it with such a sense of urgency. For this one he had asked a pretty tall order, we needed to get a kitchen into a space that has no hood, no menu, no chef, no cook, no food history. So, basically no nothing.

The first order from Jon was to get an oven that could cook quickly, with little upkeep and be able to handle the day-to-day operations that anyone could operate. Jon and I are both very familiar with the technology, turbochef which works with a magnetron, has the capability of a microwave on steroids, impingement on the top and bottom and uses convection throughout. It cooks up to 12 times faster than a conventional oven and was exactly what we needed.

The second order of business was coming up with a menu that screamed simplicity but was going to be able to grow as the new concept grew. I was able to go back to my days as college kid and a Rugby Player (2nd City Troop thanks for the inspiration) in order to create a fun menu. Items like Tater Tots, Coconut Shrimp Po’ Boy and super pretzels were sure to be a hit among this crowd.

The final challenge was create a system that a group of never been trained cooks could execute. Therefore, we came up with a spec sheet that broke each step of production down in order to make sure that any staff member could execute it properly.

This being my first expert appearance on Bar Rescue Season 3, I can only imagine what is going to come up in the next few months. I can only hope that Jon, myself and the other experts have a few better smelling places to walk into.


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