On tonight’s Spike “Bar Rescue,” Jon Taffer and his crew came to Youngstown, Ohio, on this episode titled, “Sour Lemons and Bitter Business.” In 2013, brothers Dan and Joey Martini opened the “Martini Brothers Burger Bar.” They had previously opened two other bars, but neither took hold. When they met Jacob Harver, who owned the building, they agreed to cut him in to help keep them in operation. The first year they cleared $60,000, but soon found that Jacob had his own agenda. He wants to change the place into an art gallery and is sucking the place dry. Now the brothers are at risk of losing the bar, while Jacob is at risk for losing the entire building.
Jon sat in his SUV with Mia Mastroianni, for the bar and Mike Ferraro for the kitchen. They watched as the art gallery in the back room was like a kindergarten class of finger painters and spotted Jacob trying to lure people into the gallery who just wanted to sit and drink.
For the recon, Jon brought in two local food critics; Debbie Snook and Kevin “Spice Hound” Scheuring. They watched Joey making the burgers and squeezing all the juices from them, and the fries were put in a container right from the fryer which made them soggy. The drinks were freely poured, and the only fresh fruit was in the art gallery being smashed onto the paintings.
Jon decided to go into the bar when he saw the brothers and Jacob arguing in front of the customers. Jacob was “buying” drinks for his friends. When Jon questioned how much of the bar the brothers owned, both agreed to forty-six percent, leaving Jacob with eight percent. Jon told the brothers that they had no balls letting Jacob run roughshod over the place while they stood back and did nothing.
The next day, Jon and his team came back and Jon questioned the staff about what they, and Jacob did. Lauren, the office manager and sister of the two brothers stated that Jacob used the place as his personal playpen. Then they went into the kitchen, and Jon saw how dirty the place was and there was food lying around in grease and filth. Jon ordered all the food dumped on the grill, and afterwards he left and would not return until the place was clean.
When it was done, Mia started the training. She worked all day until the stress test began. In the kitchen, Mike gave Joey all the help he needed showing him how to cook a proper burger and make non-soggy French fries. When the stress test began, Mia kept a list of mistakes the bartenders made, and if they got ten checks, they were pulled from the bar. In the kitchen, several burgers were sent back for improper cooking. Finally, Jon shut it the f@@k down.
One thing Jon saw the night before was teamwork. Although they failed to serve everyone, the three partners worked well together. So Jon had his crew working day and night to redo the bar. When it was ready, they all met outside for the unveiling. The new name was The Federal, which was the street they were on and inside the place was bright and inviting. The grand opening was a huge success, and at night it was converted into a night club. The art gallery was now a meeting room and will be rented out several times a month. The food critics were very happy with the service and food.
Jon told Jacob that when they start making money, the upstairs loft will be his new art gallery, and he looked snappy in his managerial clothes and garnered a sense of pride in the place thanks to Jon and his crew on this episode of “Bar Rescue.” Six weeks after the relaunch, food sales have grossed $48,993, and beverage sales have grossed $89,086. Jacob actively helps the Martini brothers run The Federal and he no longer finger paints in the bar.