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Kitchen Nightmares - Jack's Waterfront - CLOSED

Kitchen Nightmares Jack's Waterfront

In this Kitchen Nightmares episode, Chef Gordon Ramsay visit's Jack's Waterfront in St Clair Shores, Michigan.

Jack's is a seafood restaurant owned by three body builders, Jim, Tanner and Scott with Tanner's father A.J as the general manager.

Gordon arrives on snowmobile as the restaurant is located on the bay of a popular lake resort.

During the summer, the restaurant is packed with tourists and they hire entertainment, turning the place into a party restaurant.

During the winter, the restaurant suffers as the locals aren't visiting the restaurant due to the bad reputation for poor quality food. The owners are in over $500,000 of debt and owe on their taxes.

Gordon orders Krab Omelet, fish and chips from the menu and asks the waitress why the dish is spelt with a K, she tells him to highlight that it is artificial crab meat.

Gordon isn't impressed with the food and is constantly watched by Scott as he eats. Scott was made a silent partner by the other owners after customers complained that he was intimidating.

He inspects the walk in and finds beef swimming in blood and salmon that has been dyed pink.

Gordon meets Chef Aaron, he has been in post a matter of weeks and insists that it's not his menu that he is cooking. He says that his hands are tied on what he can serve.

Gordon is astounded that they buy in their fish when they are located directly on the bay.

He is shocked that the general manager has been drinking ouzo and regularly socialises with the customers, even more astonishing is that they are paying him $100,000 a year!

Gordon observes a dinner service and sees Chef Aaron struggling to control the staff, they ignore him when he is calling orders and go out to smoke whenever they please.

The customers aren't impressed with the food they receive with many dishes being sent back to the kitchen.

Gordon comes up with a fish special cooked from fish that is caught through the ice on the lake, both the staff and customers love the new special.

Gordon gives the restaurant a huge makeover introducing fish bowls in the walls and a "how to do knots" game to entertain whilst the customers wait for their food.

The relaunch is a success with customers loving the new decor and menu.

After the customers have left, Gordon asks A.J whether he will cut both his hours and salary to be able to help the restaurant and he agrees.

What Happened Next at Jack's Waterfront?

Jack's Waterfront closed in December 2010.

Yelp reviews after the episode filmed were mostly positive, the handful of negative comments were on service.

Jack's reopened as Dockside Jack's in March 2011, Yelp reviews were good but it closed after just a month.

They sold the restaurant back to the previous owners and it became Brownies on the Lake in April 2011 and Yelp reviews are mixed.

Jack's Waterfront aired on November 06 2008, the episode was filmed in March 2008 and is Kitchen Nightmares season 2 episode 7.

Read About More Kitchen Nightmares

Previous episode - Hannah & Mason's

Next episode - Sabatiello's

This post was last updated in September 2019.

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  1. They are now called Brownies and they aren't doing any better; if Chef Ramsey comes back to this place I can hear the statement now "same place and new name".

  2. They DID turn it around you mop. The question is, have they kept it up since his departure? Or were they just in too deep with the debts that they had no choice but to close it down? Assuming wont get you anywhere..

    1. Seems like you are a previous owner or friend of the owner. I have been there several times under all the names and ownership. It was HORRIBLE!

  3. I just watched this episode and Im sad for these guys. I was hoping they would pull through after getting rid of the manager and replacing some kitchen staff.

  4. The old owners of Jack's now own Mikes 2 driveways north on Jefferson

    1. Actually Mikes is the same owner of the original Jack's not these former muscle head meatballs that had no business owning a restaurant. The guy Mike, I've met him, he knows what he is doing. You shouldn't be saying things you don't know.

  5. Most of the restaurants featured on Kitchen Nightmares seem to be horrifically deep in debt. When someone says that they have 2-6 months to turn their business completely around or they will go out of business, then they are deep in the umm, stuff.

    It's usually recommended that a business have at least 1 year's worth of operating capital in reserve when opening. Ideally that should start to expand as the business grows. When a business is down to a couple months worth of operating capital, that means that their margin for error is gone. One problem, like an equipment breakdown can finish them off. They are already on the brink, so it's not a surprise that many of these restaurants fail, even if they do everything right after the show.

    1. This is good advice for people, too. Too many citizens of the US are operating with no margin for error at all--one illness, one bit of bad luck, one car failure, and they're done for. We're supposed to have a year's income free-and-clear in the bank just in case, but who does that anymore? No wonder restaurants don't know this rule--their owners probably don't either. Thanks for pointing it out.

    2. Best, most worthy comment here!

  6. Damn, I really liked these guys. I wish they were STILL open...

    1. They would probably still be open if only they had just put some concrete galoshes on that old, desiccated, useless breather waste of space AJ, then tossed him into Lake Michigan.

  7. By giving Chef Aaron the right to craft the menu as he saw fit, does anyone know if he kept the menu mostly as Chef Ramsay had it, or did they revert back to serving frozen foods?

  8. Chef Aaron was a sweetie. I hope he found another place. He just needed confidence and the authority to do what he knew was right. It's sad that these restaurants seem so deep in trouble by the time they get onto the show; had Ramsay come much earlier, I've no doubt they'd have made it, but there's only so much repair work someone can do with a business already teetering on the brink.

  9. I just finished watching this episode on Netflix, and I am sadden by the news of its closing. I really liked the guys and they seemed like they were going to make it. The owner's father salary of $100,000 annually did not help them througout their time of need. All this money to have him drink like a fish and "entertain" the old ladies...shesh I could do that with my eyes closed. Too bad for his son. I bet the old man must be laughing at them, of course all the way to the bank. Sorry guys, hope you find another venue. Good luck!

  10. What happened to the head chef aaron? Did he give up? He looked like he had the right idea...

  11. I visited here with my family before it closed for good. I had a steak that was extremely overcooked (I ordered medium rare and very nearly got charcoal), and my dad got the all-you-can-eat perch. Our waitress was decent for about three minutes, and when I had her send back my steak and my dad was through his first plate of perch, she allegedly went to put in our order. She didn't, she completely forgot to, and she sat down two tables away from us and started talking to some guys that we presumed she knew. Ten minutes later, she realizes my dad and I are staring at her, so she jumps up, puts in the order, and comes back and says she has no idea what's taking so long. My dad immediately told her that we saw her slacking off and not doing her job, and he demanded to speak to the manager. Not only did my mom and sister get free dinner because of how epically horrible the service was, but the owner/manager gave us gift certificates for if we ever came back. Needless to say, we did not.

  12. So much hate here for AJ... although yes, he did take quite a few liberties in his position as GM, and he was pretty terrible at his job, the /real/ problem with AJ wasn't AJ himself. It was the son's fault for hiring a family member, and treating the person as family rather than as an employee.

    That, as well as something else that seems to be a common trend in this series: owners not acting like owners. The first time you, or one/both of your co-owners, witness an employee drinking alcohol on their shift, you fire them on the spot. GM's job isn't to drink w/ the customers, it's to make sure the customers are happy, make sure the front of house is running smoothly, the kitchen is performing its duties efficiently and accurately, and to make sure there is adequate communication between the front of house and kitchen. Consuming alcohol can interfere with your performance in those duties, and should be expressly forbidden.

    Really, it should be common sense that drinking on the job isn't allowed, but that's not how the USA works... this is the land of explicitly telling people that redbull does not actually give you wings, that the hot coffee you just ordered is actually *hot* and you shouldn't spill it on yourself, and that hand sanitizer shouldn't be ingested.

    1. Wow - it's the first time that I've heard than a grown adult's behaviour isn't their own fault What a cop out.

    2. Wow, so you admit AJ was culpable for taking liberties and was terrible at his job as a GM.

      However you said the real problem were his son (who sympathetically employed him) & the other owners.

      Where to begin?

      You continued by stating that anyone drinking on the job should be fired.... The person drinking on the job was AJ.

      I do not accept that the son offering his father a position in his restaurant is a get of jail free card for all the Bs that happened in this restaurant.

      Aj should be ashamed for corrupting a viable business which has cost his son dearly.

  13. They should have fired that entire kitchen when the new chef got there.

  14. 2 clear problems here and neither of them are AJ.

    Firstly: the son. His reaction that a pay cut for AJ would have been "a huge problem" for him speaks volumes.

    Secondly: the young bald owner who had clearly been siding with the son in supporting AJ and as a result, his swing vote had allowed the business to go down the drain.

  15. I have never seen such brain dead staff in my life. Those blank stares made me nervous

  16. The entire kitchen aside from Aaron needed to be fired.
    I'm surprised Ramsay didn't suggest that upon the watching them serve before the major relaunch.

  17. They used fish from the lake near Detroit? ughhh..


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