Bar Rescue - Turtle Bay / Spirits on Bourbon - OPEN

Bar Rescue Turtle Bay Spirits on Bourbon

On this Bar Rescue episode, Jon Taffer visits Turtle Bay located on the famous Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Turtle Bay is owned by Brad Bohannan, who opened the bar in 2011, after he fell out with the co-owners of his previous bar Tropical Isle, they bought him out and he decided to go open his own.

Brad opened the bar across the street and modelled the bar on the previous bar, using the same colour scheme and got into a legal battle after he copied their signature cup.

Brad also brought in co-owner Steve Smith from the previous bar and he runs the day to day business of the bar.

Due to the lack of identity the bar has struggled to draw in tourists, they have not made any profit since they opened and are losing $15,000 a month.

Jon arrives with his experts Ricky Gomez, a professional bartender and Chef Ron Duprat. Whilst they are sat across the street they watch a number of tourists pass the bar.

Jon sends in Billy and Nathalie from The Black Sheep, a previous Bar Rescue for the bar recon.

After nearly missing the bar on the street they arrive and order their signature drink The Turtle, which is sour with a strong aftertaste.

The Turtle is a green drink that looks almost identical to The Hand Grenade served across the street, leading Jon to conclude that they have no unique identity.

They also order gumbo as recommended by the bartender, however it comes in pre-prepared in a plastic bag and it is microwaved.

Billy says it is lumpy and smells like bacon soup. As a Food Service Manager, he knows immediately after tasting it that it came from a bag.

Jon has seen enough and walks into the bar to meet with the owners. The first question he asks is why they copied the other bar and his response is that they are his ideas.

He reminds Brad that he sold them to them when he sold his share of the business and calls him unethical.

Jon sits both cups on the table and Brad continues to defend it believing it is different enough.

Steve thinks that he is a good manager but he doesn't know the cost price of drinks or how much the labour costs are for the bar.

Jon calls him a failure and he is defensive. He has a lot to prove to Jon as does Brad.

The next day Jon calls a staff meeting and Jon discovers there are no set drinks recipes, there is no leadership and the bartenders receive no training.

Chef Ron wants to see the kitchen where he finds unlabelled food and dead roaches. A bacterial swap counts a 4 million bacteria level where 2500 is an acceptable level.

The prepared drinks never run out, they remove the drink to clean the machines but put the drink back in and only add more to it, meaning some of the drink could be weeks, months or years old.

The kitchen staff clean the kitchen and achieve a 0 in the bacteria test after they have cleaned.

Jon arranges a stress test to put pressure on the bar. They have just 30 seconds to make cocktails and will be marked down if they go over.

Lexi is extremely slow and most bartenders have x marks against their names. Patrons leave before they are served drinks, losing $100s of dollars.

In the kitchen the gumbo is ice cold, sour and the diners hate it. After tasting the gumbo Chef Ron is sick in the bathroom multiple times and the gumbo needs to be thrown away.

The staff admit that they knew the gumbo wasn't up to temperature and Jon is furious. He closes the kitchen and explodes at the staff.

Brad admits he was badly affected when he was bought out of Tropical Isle and Jon tells him it is time to leave it behind and move on.

Jon introduces that there will be a new concept to the bar and a theme no one else has.

Chef Ron introduces a new gumbo recipe, made with fresh ingredients that they can keep at temperature and serve when needed.

In the bar, Ricky introduces new cocktails to the menu including The Southern Sour and signature cocktail The Resurrection.

Jon talks business with the owners to encourage them to review sales to make sure keep their beverage costs under 21%.

Brad tastes the cocktail and says it tastes like dollar signs! Jon reveals that he needs to change the front of the bar, move the bar and add an attraction.

The new bar is revealed to the owners including the new name Spirits on Bourbon. Jon has opened up the front of the bar so you can see inside.

Jon has used the history of the building to theme the bar with a barber chair feature as it was once a barber shop ran by Edward DeBoire who was allegedly murdered by his mistresses.

The drinks range has been expanded with cocktails on tap, the barber chair is also a shot chair, there is more lighting and there are two new POS systems.

There is a new uniform and to go station to be able to serve more takeaway drinks. Jon reveals his new cup, a flashing skull.

On relaunch night, there is a huge crowd outside the bar. The Resurrection is a huge hit and the bartenders initially struggle with the influx of customers.

They are serving drinks much quicker and before long the street is alight with flashing skulls.

In the kitchen they struggle with getting food out at first but they also step up and with improved communication they push the food out.

Both locals and tourist are loving the changes


What Happened Next at Turtle Bay / Spirits on Bourbon?

Three months after relaunch and beverage costs are down to 14%, the barber chair alone has brought in $3300 and they are bringing in up to $9,900 a night!

Spirits on Bourbon is open and they are extremely successful with reported annual sales of over $1 million.

Reviews on The Resurrection are mostly positive and negative comments seem to be on taste preference.

Planning a visit to Spirits on Bourbon? Check out their website for more info

Click for more Bar Rescues

This post was last updated in September 2020.


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