On tonight's Spike episode of “Bar Rescue,” creator Jon Taffer visited The End Zone in Houston, Texas on this episode titled, “Muscle Madness.” In 2005, former bodybuilder and stripper, Justin Whitfield, left his exotic scene and opened The End Zone Sports Bar & Grill to rave reviews. But although they were doing $100,000 a month in sales, he found that he was just stretched too thin. So he brought in his friend of 15 years, a former stripper, bodybuilder and MMA fighter, Shawn Machado, who sold his truck and bought into the bar.
As time went on, the partners did not see eye to eye on how to run the business. Shawn allows the bartenders to drink behind the bar, which Justin does not agree to. With the fighting between the owners, now trickling down to the staff, and at $200,000 in debt, they agreed to bust open the books, break down the doors and call Jon Taffer for help.
As Jon explained the demographics of the area, there are so many stadiums in the area, and this Houston suburb is a haven for sports teams. He has to find the reason why this sports bar is ready to strike out. For the kitchen, Jon brought in culinary expert Vic Vegas and for the bar, expert mixologist Kate Gerwin. As Jon and his experts watch the goings on, he points out that Justin, the original owner has neglected his taxes and owes $100,000 in back taxes on the bar. They noticed that the bar had no theme, and it was dirty and neglected.
When a member of the recon team tasted a beer, it was sour, so there must not be any regulator on the taps. They ordered a pepperoni pizza, and Kevin, the cook, was spotted in a filthy kitchen. Then Kevin was making a hamburger with no gloves, opened the refrigerator door, took out raw chicken and was handling it without washing his hands. He dropped the chicken into the oil that bubbled because it was so old. Jon knew the food was going to the recon team, and called to tell them not to eat a thing. While the recon team was still there, Justin got up and started stripping, as they just shook their heads. Is this is a sports bar or a strip joint? Suddenly, Shawn’s wife Stephanie, also a bartender starting fighting with another female bartender. The next thing, the two owners were fighting as their business was going down the drain. Jon decided to wait until the next day to enter the bar, as half of the staff left, and he hoped they would cool off by then.
As Justin, his wife and Taylor, who instigated the fight were sitting at the bar, Jon walked in. The other half was not there yet, soon after, they walked in because as Shawn related, they had nothing if they lost their part of the bar. Jon refereed the proceedings as the two partners talked it out. Justin agreed that Shawn was a 15% partner, but never gave him any paperwork to prove it. He stated that with the tax lien, he did not want to involve in him in it, because it happened before he joined the business.
When Jon went into the kitchen, he was livid and was truly disgusted with Kevin, who might as well take a gun and shoot someone, rather than feed them anything from this kitchen. Vic told him how many violations he committed while they watched him. When they went into the walk-in, there was blood dripping on the beer. When they went behind the bar, it was infested with fruit flies and obvious that nobody ever cleaned or gave a darn. Jon told them to clean the place as he walked out.
When Jon left, Justin wanted a public apology from Shawn because he called him a liar, and refused to give him any paperwork affirming his partnership until then. When Jon returned, the place was still not clean and Jon told them he would be back in a few hours, and the place better be clean, or else. He asked Justin if he could keep his house if the bar failed and make car payments, and he replied in the negative. Now Jon will see if he wants to keep the bar or not.
When they returned, the place passed inspection, so they got to work. Vic worked in the kitchen, and Kate was behind the bar preparing for the stress test. When the time arrived, there were several people outside. Jon was looking for the two guys to act responsibly and work as a team. In the kitchen, the orders just piled up, as Vic was yelling to Kevin, who was clueless. Ten tickets sat as not a thing went out.
At the bar, the entire place was waiting for a drink, as the bartenders could not keep up. Justin and Shawn were told by Jon to communicate and work together, but everyone was doing their own thing, and not in a business sense. Jon then told the disappointed crowd to please come back in two nights, and he promised the service would be better. Jon gathered the staff and told the bartenders what they had to do and Kate confirmed his order and added a few of her own. Vic commended Justin for coming in to check on Kevin to make sure he was alright. Jon told Justin, they were bringing in his lawyer and ironing out the issues once and for all.
When the lawyer came in, the paperwork was done and the partners became friends again. They each apologized to one another and hugged. Then everyone got to work; in the kitchen, Vic created Ball Park type items, that would appeal to everyone. The bar created drinks that would keep customers coming back for more. Then Jon sent them home, so they could complete the reconstruction.
When the work was done, they returned, and as they stood outside, Jon had them all turn around together to see the new name; Houston Sports Hub, an immersive sports bar that made one feel they were right there at whatever event was taking place.
The crowd outside was excited to come in and see the new place. The exterior was inviting and sporty; the handles on the doors were baseball bats and inside, there were stadium seats, a boxing ring, and every sport was featured. Jon watched the tally as $2,200 was sold in the first hour.
Two months after the relaunch, sales have risen by 30%. Shawn and Justin work well together, and Houston Sports Hub continues to attract 100 new patrons each week thanks to Jon and his staff at "Bar Rescue."