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‘Bar Rescue’ made a ‘Hostile Takeover’ at O’Banion’s on Spike

Host and mastermind, Jon Taffer
Host and mastermind, Jon Taffer
Spike TV

On tonight's season premiere episode of “Bar Rescue,” creator Jon Taffer went to O’Banion’s Bar & Grill in Bellevue, Neb. on this episode titled, “Hostile Takeover.”

If you have a failing bar, call this guy!
Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Spike TV

In 2005, after having lost his job, Jerry Dalrymple heard that his parents’ favorite bar, O’Banion’s was for sale. So Jerry and his brother Dave purchased as both 40% owners and their friend Steve bought in for 20%. During the first two years, they were bringing in about $25,000 a month. Feeling confident in his abilities, the managerial duties were put in Jerry’s hands. However, left unsupervised, Jerry started taking the party atmosphere there to extremes and his drinking was out of control. He would get drunk and buy rounds for customers on Friday and Saturday nights. When the three owners started butting heads, Dave and Steve called in Jon Taffer, without Jerry knowing.

In Bellevue, only ten miles from Omaha, and close to an Air Force base, it is home to 22,000 airmen of an average age of 23. However, with the misguided Irish theme, it fails to attract a military crowd, even with only one other bar in the area.

While Jon watched from his car with Steve and Dave, they told him that their dad was in the Air Force, and the bar was his favorite. When they took it over, it was doing well, but since Jerry ascended his throne, they have not gotten along and the bar is headed to oblivion. The two guys put up their houses for the $160,000 investment in the place. They have been friends for 30 years, but due to Jerry’s actions, their partnership is strained. Jon told them he had the place under surveillance for a few days as they watched from the car, they saw the antics of Jerry and his obnoxious way of treating the customers.

As a woman came in with food, Jon asked if they sold food there. They told him that Jerry took it upon himself to sell the kitchen equipment without their knowledge. Jon also pointed out that as 60% owners, the pair could take the bank account away from Jerry and control the rowdy atmosphere in the bar. Now Jon wants them to show Jerry how pissed they are and not to hold it back. With 60% ownership, he wants them to perform a “Hostile Takeover,” to remove Jerry from his management position and take the keys.

This is the first hostile takeover Jon ever oversaw in his years of rescuing bars. The next morning, Jerry showed up as did the female bartenders. They do not respect Jerry because with the free drinks given away, they do not make any money. Jerry did state that the other two guys rarely showed up, and when he asked for help, they did not oblige. Jon told them the past is over and the future lies ahead, but if Jerry took just one drink while he was there, he was leaving.

Jon brought in Trevor Frye, expert mixologist, to do training of the bartenders. Then Jon took the three owners to the kitchen, where he installed a new kitchen after the place closed. He also brought in Nick Liberato, culinary expert who can revive the place with food. Suddenly, a smell permeated the entire place. It was a clogged grease trap that had not been cleaned in ages, forcing them to call in a plumbing company and losing a day of training. Jerry really enjoyed working in the kitchen, and Nick gave him added confidence.

As the stress test began, the crowd outside was happy to come in. As Trevor supervised behind the bar, they ran out of glasses ten minutes into the test. When people left because they did not get their food, it was money out the door. As Jerry lost his temper when Steve did not take food to the right tables, he started yelling.

When the place closed, Jerry received kudos from Jon. He did not drink, worked hard in the kitchen and nobody asked him about running out of glasses, because there were two cases of glasses in the storage room. He was the hero and received the keys back with apologies.

Next, after conferring with Jon and Nick, Trevor taught the bartenders to make Air Force associated drinks with names airmen would identify with, and he changed the name to Sorties Tavern. Again, he congratulated Jerry on his transformation, as he wept because he had not heard such compliments in a long time. When they saw the interior, it was incredible. The Air Force theme was just a welcoming sight, but the picture of their father with his two young sons brought tears to everyone’s eyes. Jon saw Jerry as a responsible owner who handled the needs of his bar staff, while the other two guys handled the kitchen. Jerry knows with his father watching over him and the place; he will never disrespect him again.

After six weeks, drink sales have increased 20% and food sales are up 100%, and the place went from a hostile takeover to a partnership makeover, and Jerry is still sober; thanks to Jon and his staff at "Bar Rescue."

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