On Sunday’s Spike “Bar Rescue,” Jon Taffer and his crew came to Dearborn Heights, Michigan, on this episode titled, “Vulgar Vixens.” In 2003, husband and wife Ron and Chandra Phillips bought the Hooch. In 2008-2009 everybody moved out of the area leaving them in debt over $350,000 today. Ron was forced to take another job just to keep their head above water, but it was not enough. With a staff of female bartenders who act like strippers, the place is on a downward decline with nowhere else to go. Chandra agreed to bust open the books and put in a call to Jon Taffer and “Bar Rescue.”
For the kitchen, Jon brought in renowned chef Keith Breedlove and for the bar Lisamarie Joyce, expert trainer and mixologist. As they watched from Jon’s SUV, Chandra continually called the bartenders denigrating names for women, while she used vulgar descriptions and gestures for all to hear and see. She also laughed at them when they took their clothes off in the bar. For recon, Jon sent in two women who had a wide social media reach. Lisa noticed their bar tools were novelty items, not professional bar tools.
The women ordered the bar specialty called The Hooch which was only vodka and juice that was not fresh. They each wanted a burger, but the way it was handled made Keith shudder. With no specific cook, the bartenders had to make the food behind the bar. When Jon finally had enough of the vulgar things coming from Chandra’s mouth, he went inside to give her a piece of his mind. When Jon confronted her, he told her she was the most unlikable person he ever saw and she even admitted that she was not a nice person.
Jon asked the staff what she called them and his ears were nearly bleeding. He told Chandra that he would NOT rescue her bar if she disrespects them. The next day, Jon came in and introduced Lisa-Marie and Keith. Jon then chose Roach, the bar back to do the cooking. Chandra could not help herself from blurting out offensive things and Jon blew his top. She considered it bar talk, but Jon told her this is why she is losing $4,500 of her husband’s money each month.
When they went into the walk-in, it was despicable and visible mold was growing along the walls. They found grease under the fryer that was leaking oil. Chandra stated she did not know it was leaking. Keith was sure it was ready to explode. Jon then wiped something below and it was covered with mold too. He tossed the rag at Chandra and ordered her to clean the place before he returned. He could not believe the place was not closed down by the Board of Health. When it was marginally clean, Jon proceeded with the training. Lisamarie was satisfied with some of the bartenders and Roach was enjoying the cooking.
The stress test proceeded and the bar was packed. When a man was asked how long he had been there, he replied 45 minutes and was served tots he did not order. Melissa was making eight drinks at a time and these women had potential, but sadly, were never trained until now. Suddenly, the floor behind the bar started to flood, a glass broke into the ice bin and they could not make drinks that required ice. As they were cleaning the ice bin, Melissa asked if anyone wanted a cinnamon shot and Lisamarie was thrilled that she was thinking. Suddenly when the new ice came in, someone noticed something floating in their drink; it was mold, and Jon shouted it out loud. When he asked Chandra if she really wanted to own a bar, she vowed that she did.
The next day, Jon had to sit down with Chandra at another bar where training was to commence. He asked why she had the attitude she exuded, and she stated that she was miserable because the bar was losing money. When Jon was finished talking to her, he saw the good person inside of the mean shell. She had been taken advantage of many times in her life and hoped that shell would keep the users away. She then told the staff about her talk with Jon and they all gave her a much-needed hug.
In the kitchen Keith and Roach made awesome burgers and Lisamarie made some pretty interesting drinks. Jon met them in front of the bar and unveiled the new name Proving Ground, which described what the Motor City was all about. The interior was all about automobiles and was just fantastic. More room behind the bar was a blessing and the items that needed fixing were done and its new look and new owner’s attitude were what it truly needed and the mechanic’s uniforms were the finishing touch.
When they opened, Ron was there and he was thrilled at the new bar. Now he knows that the debts will be paid and he may not have to work so hard. Jon showed Chandra how many women were in the bar now and will most likely continue patronizing the place as long as it continues to have a positive environment thanks to Jon and his crew on this episode of “Bar Rescue.” Ten weeks after the relaunch, the proving ground has grossed only $22,692 in food and beverage sales. Chandra has returned to her demeaning behavior. As a result Cynthia no longer works at the bar.