Bar Rescue - Van Goghz Martini Bar and Bistro / Crafted - OPEN

Van Goghz Bar Rescue

In this Bar Rescue episode, Jon Taffer visits Van Goghz Martini Bar and Bistro in St Louis, Missouri.

Van Goghz is owned by Dani Davis, who bought the Martini bar and bistro in 2013 after working there for years.

For six months it was doing great as she was present but she was not prepared for the pressures of being an owner.

The pressure got to her and she has clashes with staff often and stays away from the bar over long periods.

They are losing $2,500 a month and are in $250,000 in debt.

Jon recons the bar with expert mixologist Lisamarie Joyce and expert chef Chef Pink.

They see the exterior is nice and matches the art places surrounding the area but it does not look like a bar.

Jon fills them in on Dani owning the business for only 2 years.

They see her drinking beer and vaping at the bar.

They see a dog walk around freely in the bar greeting guests, which is a health code violation.

Jon has two local mixologists visit the bar to sample the service.

They go in and immediately see the dog then sit at the bar to order from the Martini menu that is on the wall.

Kristin the bartender has product knowledge of the martini menu but she incorrectly makes a martini shaken rather than stirred.

The spies hate the martinis but order sliders with Italian sausage owned by Dani’s family in Kansas City.

Bartender and server Alison takes the order.

Soon the spies are waiting thirty minutes for their food and Dani reprimands the chef.

They get into an argument in front of all the customers at the bar.

The spies love the sausage sliders but the experts see the chef fry an egg on a dirty grill.

Jon is tired of all they have seen and goes in to stop the spies eating the food.

He takes Dani to the kitchen to see the grill the burgers were made on.

Rob admits there is grill debris on the eggs and Jon blames both him and Dani for the state of the kitchen.

Rob is unconcerned when asked to clean up the kitchen.

Jon walks out telling them the dog should not be in the bar in the morning.

The next day, Jon meets with the staff with his experts who are assessing the kitchen and bar space.

Chef Pink immediately notices a cockroach at the entrance of the kitchen.

There are sausages sitting in the open, poor ventilation, a dirty prep area and a freezer in the basement with fibre glass on food.

Lisamarie notices the sharp edges of the bar top that has injured customers.

There is a rotten bar top that leaks water to the floor while the station is not set up properly.

Jon is shocked at all they find and meets with the staff afterwards.

They put all the blame on Dani but she complains that they do not appreciate her efforts or respect her tools and equipment.

Lisamarie takes the bartenders on proper pour counts then trains them on a cotton candy cocktail made with Smirnoff vodka.

Chef Pink has organised the disposal of the freezer and trains Rob on a deconstructed corndog using the family sausage.

Jon has provided flashing badges for the guests for the stress test and once they are served the badges are removed.

They set up and then open the bar for the stress test.

Drinks not made properly are dumped.

Dani is working the room getting orders and pacifying guests waiting.

Food is getting to customers before the drinks.

Alison is making one drink at a time because there are no more martini glasses.

The battery in guests badges start dying before they even get their drinks.

Robert is doing great making the food but servers are slow in picking up because of all the problems with the bar.

In a rush to meet up with time the disasters pile up and glass breaks at the bar.

The stress test is ended

Afterwards Jon meets with Dani who gets emotional about her bar.

He advises her to connect more with her staff and listen to them for her business to move forward.

The next day, Jon meets with the staff and she lets them know of her promise to do better.

Chef Pink takes the kitchen staff through making hand made ravioli with the sausages.

Lisamarie trains the bar staff on using a cocktail press for infusing organic produce flavours into drinks that the customers can do themselves.

Jon convinces Dani to let go of the Van Goghz name as it has lost her a lot of money.

Over thirty-six hours the bar is renovated and the staff are gathered at night to unveil the new bar.

The bar has been renamed and is now called Crafted.

The bar is at a corner and the windows have been exposed.

The front is made of all glass so people can see the place from far to attract customers.

Inside it has been made more upscale with imitation murals of Van Gogh’s artwork.

The kitchen has a new industrial sized fryer from Perfect Fry.

The bar top is now less dangerous and made of wood.

There are three new 2touch POS terminals.

The staff set the bar up and open for the relaunch.

On relaunch, the customers love the infused cocktails.

The bartenders are doing a great job and all of the training has paid off.

The kitchen is slammed with orders but great food is coming out quickly and consistent to the delight of the guests.

The customers find it all so visually appealing and take many photos and videos.


What Happened Next at Van Goghz / Crafted?

Six weeks later they reveal sales are up 40%.

They are grossing almost $60,000 on food and beverages.

Dani is still open with her staff and while Dani has let ticket times slide he is working with her on improving.

Mia Mastroianni returned to the bar in 2017 and is told that they have been changing the cocktail menu with the seasons.

They have had to hire more staff to keep up with demand.

Crafted is open.

Reviews are mostly positive with the unique drinks and brunch being praised.

Shortly after the rescue more of the reviews were negative with some not liking the shortened menu.


Click for more Bar Rescues

Previous episode - Mac and Chester's SRO>

Next episode - Dale 1891 / Cayman Cove

This post was last updated in August 2021.

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