Bar Rescue - Big Mike’s Sports Bar and Grill - OPEN

Bar Rescue Big Mike’s Sports Bar and Grill

In this Bar Rescue episode, Jon Taffer visits Big Mike’s Sports Bar and Grill in Denham springs, Louisiana.

Big Mike’s Sports Bar and Grill is owned by Mike O’Neal.

The bar was devastated by a flood in 2016.

Three times as much rain as Hurricane Katrina fell in southern Louisiana in August of 2016.

This flooded the town and killing 13 people, 146,000 homes were destroyed and over $2billion of damage was done to businesses.

Both their business and home were flooded.

Their lives and the lives of their staff were devastated and almost nothing could be salvaged from the restaurant flooding.

Big Mike’s used to be successful with live functions and crowds.

They made $1.9m in 2015, which continued and it was going well until the flood.

They still have the space but they have no furniture.

They need about $500,000 to repair the bar and their flood insurance is still months away.

For the time they are closed they stand to lose over $1m of business.

It would take them at least six months to rebuild on their own and they would lose customers and staff in that period.

Jon comes to visit the town to see the devastation and then visits Mike and his family in his temporary home.

Jon hears first-hand how the flooding happened and has separated their family.

As their trailer cannot accommodate the family of five their twin sixteen-year-old daughters are staying with friends.

Jon learns Big Mike’s is a staple in the community and Mike himself is a helper in his community and is much loved.

Jon resolves to help them to fix the bar and get it back up and running.

On a drive to the bar they talk about how the city could go bankrupt, losing people and businesses.

At the bar Mike and his wife give Jon a tour of what the place looked like.

He is amazed at the space, especially the kitchen space and the extra space they were planning on expanding to before the flooding.

They have a Saints room dedicated to the State football team.

It is the biggest renovation Bar Rescue will take on.

Jon surprises Mike with a team of local contractors and volunteers that will be helping with the renovations.

Crown Royal has partnered on the project to upscale the bar.

Jon meets with the staff members who have mostly been in Big Mike’s since the beginning.

They all love Mike like he is family.

Emily the bartender is the one who put up their story on Facebook asking for help from Bar Rescue.

It is revealed Mike is also a fan of the show and frequently used many of Taffer’s Tips in running his bar.

They may have experience but they still need to be prepared as they are rusty.

Jon brings in expert mixologist Rob Floyd and expert chef Aaron McCargo.

The training is done offsite and the stress test is replaced by a production and efficiency exercise.

They are using two entrees from their old menu and given seven and a half minutes to fulfil food orders.

For drinks they are allowed twenty-five seconds for each drink.

Five customers are brought in and the timer is started.

The staff are nervous and they all start rusty and drinks are quickly dumped.

Food orders are placed but are not entered in so tickets are not sent to the kitchen in time.

The drinks are taking one minute and fifteen seconds to be made.

The food is ready on time and is good.

The next day Rob takes the staff through making two whiskey cocktails using crown royal vanilla.

Aaron meets with the kitchen staff and hears their stories before training them on making a signature pizza with a southern twist.

At the site Jon is monitoring the situation and enlisting the help of some locals when they run low on building materials.

It is close and they are not sure whether they will make it in time for the relaunch.

They are having a friends and family night to train the staff on the new systems and work out all their rustiness.

The doors of the site are open and the bartenders are pushed to make as many drinks as possible.

The drinks are better but they are also reminded to smile with the service.

In the kitchen, they get slammed almost immediately and they get confused but communicate to work it out.

They were generally consistent and worked as a team even after a slow start.

On the bar, there has been some delays in equipment delivery and Jon is worried.

The next day, the equipment arrives just in time and with the help of more volunteers including Deuce McAllister from the Saints.

Within eight hours they were able to complete it all and that night the staff gathered for the reveal.

The original sign of the bar is lit up in front of the bar.

Inside the bar, the main dining area has new floors, thirteen tabletops and six TVs.

In the bar area there are two workstations, two future POS systems, new beer taps, USB ports from Bar Juice, four table-tops along the wall and eight new TVs.

In the kitchen there are brand new Cisco equipment, a double batch pizza oven from Turbo Chef and a Manitowoc Ice Machine.

The Saints room that has been kept with Saints memorabilia complete with a new signed item from Deuce McAllister and several tabletops.

There is also a Crown Royal room with eleven TVs, a Big Mike’s sign, twelve tabletops and three pool tables.

Jon plays a video message from the bar he rescued from Hurricane Sandy, The Bungalow Bar.

The message is uplifting and tells them it will get better and they can come back from the disaster.

There is also a $10,000 donation from them to Big Mike’s as support.

Jon says the money was channelled towards getting Mike a bigger trailer so his daughters can stay with the rest of the family once again.

Mike and his wife break down with tears of joy.

The Baton Rouge Foundation and Crown Royal Foundation also donated a cheque of $10,000 for other families affected by the flooding just like Mike’s had.

A lot of community leaders are there for the relaunch including the Lieutenant Governor of the state, the Mayor and the Parish President.

On relaunch, the staff get straight to work and they serve drinks confidently.

The pizzas are the bestseller of the evening.

The kitchen gets slammed but churn it out quickly and it is good quality.

Jon commends Emily who put in the call to Bar Rescue.

He says his goodbyes to Mike.



What Happened Next at Big Mike’s Sports Bar and Grill?

Six weeks later, it is revealed that the bar has done way better than expected.

Sales are up 50% from before the flood.

Mike and his family are all living together while their house is being worked o.

They are planning a fundraiser to support flood victims in their community.

Big Mike’s Sports Bar and Grill is open.

Reviews after the show are mostly positive with praise for both the food and drinks.

Click for more Bar Rescues

Previous episode - Speakeasy Bar and Grill

Next episode - Desi Romano's Sports Bar & Grill

This post was last updated in August 2021.

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