Desi, You Got Some ‘Splainin’ to Do
We are back in Louisiana to save yet another failing bar. It’s one thing when a flood destroys the bar. It’s a totally different thing when the owner destroys the bar. On this week’s Bar Rescue, Jon will attempt to save Desi Romano’s or it will become just another statistic. The bar wasn’t exactly rocking, but things took turn for the worse after Desi’s stroke three months earlier. He was forced to take time off and his daughter Lindsey did the best she could to run things, but is inexperienced. When Desi returned, he began drinking and so did his staff.
Jon is in the parking lot with his crew, mixologist Derrick Turner and chef Tiffany Derry. They like the look of the outside of the bar but feel the inside lacks personality. Desi has no idea how much he’s losing per month because he hasn’t but down a beer and picked up a calculator. The head cook is Desi’s niece Bethany who is large and not in charge of the kitchen’s cleanliness. In Louisiana you can smoke in a bar, but not if you are working, but Desi’s staff does anyway because who cares about rules. That’s just gross, come on people.
The recon guys show up and are disappointed not to have a drink menu and that the bartender can’t make a hurricane. They know the owner, so Desi buys them a shot, and whoever else wants one. If only the drinks were measured correctly, maybe they wouldn’t taste like crap. The recon guys can’t get oysters, and why should they expect oysters just because they’re in New Orleans. They order the “first place” mac and cheese instead. The question is, first place of what? Lindsey announces to the staff not to serve her dad anymore alcohol. But he wants more, so Desi gets the beer himself. Jon has had enough and goes inside to open a can of whoop ass.
It takes time for Jon to get Desi’s attention because Desi is ignoring him. Desi keeps saying, not tonight like he hears from the ladies – ba dum tisk. Jon calls Lindsey over and demands that Desi put the beer down. Desi says he’s only losing a little bit of money and wants to start the rescue tomorrow. Jon warns it’s tonight or not at all. Desi is torn. Jon can’t believe this idiot and walks out. Lindsey begs her father to go after him.
It’s mayhem in the parking lot. Jon tells Desi to shut it down and Lindsey drags her father back inside the bar to kick everyone out and gather the staff. Desi is still confused as to why this has to happen now. We learn that Desi is $150K in the tank and meet wife Tina who doesn’t have much to say. Oops. Sorry about that comment above. Lindsey starts crying because she doesn’t want her dad to die. Desi says he’s fine and that was so three months ago. Jon tells Desi he better come back sober or he won’t get help remodeling the bar. Desi ponders what to do like it’s a riddle. Jon tells Desi he’s done and walks out again. Desi calls Jon a dick and Jon tells Desi he’s broke. Desi does the only sensible thing he can think of and has another beer. The tough love begins tomorrow.
In walks a sober Desi who doesn’t remember what went down last night. This is surprising because on the drunk scale, Desi only seemed like a 7. Jon makes him watch video of him being an ass. Desi can’t watch it anymore. Next, Jon lets the staff have it for having open tabs and drinking and smoking on the job. The highest tab is about $2,000 by head cook and niece, Bethany. Combine, the staff total is over $3,800. Desi says he doesn’t have faith in his daughter to run the bar like him – before the stroke. Jon explains he will set him up as an owner and empower Lindsey to run the bar effectively.
It’s training time! Derrick and Tiffany are ready to tell the staff everything they are doing wrong. It’s about consistency, something this staff knows nothing about. Derrick teaches the staff how to make a Hurricane, something everyone in Louisiana should be born knowing how to do. Back in the kitchen, Tiffany teaches the cooks how to make fried okra stuffed pimento cheese. Yum-yum. The challenge to think outside of the pot is accepted by Bethany.
It’s now time for stress test where the staff will surely fail because they always do. Here we go. Two goals: everyone gets a hurricane and they have to pay for it. The kitchen has one speed, slow. The bartenders are pouring out more drinks in the sink than they are serving. Desi is having trouble sitting back and is clucking around like a chicken. There are tickets on the floor for customer drinks that haven’t been made yet. Food is finally coming out of the kitchen, but damned if anyone knows who gets what. The bar’s future is not looking good.
Jon shuts down the stress test and calls it a complete failure. He’s worried that if he reopens the bar, the staff won’t be able to handle things. The staff is all smiles and Jon shuts that down, too. Desi calls the stress test a cluster fuck…or is it clusterfuck? No matter, it failed.
Jon brings back everyone the next day to get better training and a visit from Spirits – the biggest New Orleans success story Bar Rescue has ever had. They owners give a pep talk before the new drinks and menu are taught. The staff is thrilled to have the training – except for Bethany in the kitchen – she says she’s excited but looks more like her dog died.
Desi and Jon have a sit down. Jon tells him he needs to retire or refire. Desi chooses to refire. Desi wants to make sure his daughter wants to run the bar. They bring Lindsey in and ask her. Desi says he will hand over more power, but can Lindsey run the bar? Lindsey says absolutely! The question is, will Jon change the name of the bar?
No. That was quick. He only freshens up the outside with paint because “it worked.” Inside Jon changes the concept and makes it more of a sports bar like the sign outside says it is. There are lots of TV’s, pool tables, dart boards and USB charging stations. And the new drink is called Hurricane Lindsey. The brand is authenticity and nothing says authenticity like a bunch of shutters?
It’s time for stress test number two. Desi holds a staff meeting to pump everyone up. Jon is impressed with the new and improved Desi. Customers can’t believe Desi’s wearing a coat and tie. Bethany is now large and in charge! Drinks and food are getting out in time. Jon considers this new bar a success and says it’s time for him to go.
Six weeks later sales are up 12%, which is surprising because typically they are up 20%. Desi has yet to relinquish control to Lindsey, but at least he’s not giving away shots.
Missed last week’s episode of Bar Rescue? Check it out here.