Bar Rescue - Plush / Osteria Calabria - CLOSED

Plush Bar Rescue

In this episode of Bar Rescue, Jon Taffer visits Plush in Glenside, Pennsylvania.

Plush is owned by Bruno Smoje, a former restaurant manager, grew up in the business with his family.

Bruno says he grew up in his parents’ restaurants.

He says that by 18, he knew he wanted to own his own bar.

To get the funds to buy the bar, Bruno took out a $250,000 lien against his grandma’s house.

After opening Plush in 2003, Bruno hired his now ex-wife, Shari, to help manage the bar.

Plush’s nightclub life took off immediately.

They were making around $15,000 a week.

Bruno said all of his bills were paid off within the first 10 days.

He said he had more money than he needed.

Eventually the success of the business faded when the pressures of the bar drove Bruno and Shari’s marriage apart.

In 2013, Bruno and Shari filed for divorce.

Once Shari left Plush, the customers left as well.

After Shari left, Bruno struggled to manage the business.

The staff doesn’t care about standards, the bar is dilapidated and Bruno is left with $250,000 in debt.

Bruno says he’s losing around $3,000 to $4,000 a month.

Bruno says that if he loses his grandma’s house then he won’t have anything to look forward to.

Bruno makes a call for help to Bar Rescue.

Glenside, Pennsylvania is located just 12 miles north of downtown Philadelphia.

Glenside is a small suburban town with a population of only 8,000 people.

However, Glenside is home to the Keswick theater, a 1,300-seat venue that sees over 100,000 people visit a year.

Shari is in the SUV with Jon and his experts.

For the bar, Jon brings in expert mixologist Mia Mastroianni.

For the kitchen, Jon brings in expert chef Nick Liberato.

Bruno owes Shari around $65,000 from their settlement.

Shari says that Bruno has only repaid $300 out of the $65,000.

Shari short sold the home and she says it was hard to fake it to her daughter Claudia.

She says that Bruno hasn’t looked her in the eye in a year.

The bar is disgusting.

Bruno is in the kitchen cooking because they couldn’t afford to hire another cook after they had a falling out with the old one.

The staff are all taking shots behind the bar.

Jon reached out to 200 people and they are all going into Plush.

Jon said he wants to stimulate people getting out of the theater across the street.

Plush is an 1,800-square-foot bar with a designated lounge area and a full-service kitchen.

The staff is immediately overwhelmed by the sudden storm of business.

People begin to leave when the people are dancing on the stripper pole.

Jon says that Bruno is not a smart man.

This bar is clearly unorganized.

The staff are being rude to the customers.

One bartender says “I’ll get to you when I get to you,” when asked for a drink by a customer.

Bruno goes straight to making food after touching the pole, not once watching his hands.

Bruno seems to be hiding from the chaos happening in the front of the bar.

Jon decides that now is the time to walk into the bar.

Bruno says that Shari has no business being in the bar with Jon.

Jon and Bruno get into a huge argument.

The next morning, Jon meets with the staff.

Jon says that Bruno needs an attitude adjustment.

Jon stresses that they will not be drinking behind the bar anymore and they will pay attention to all customers.

Jon brings in his experts.

Mia shows the bartenders how to properly make cocktails and be quick about it.

She has them all try it out themselves.

Nick shows Chris and Bruno a few recipes to try during tonight’s stress test.

Jon says that for stress test, he wants Shari to work the front half of the bar.

Bruno says that this is a bad idea.

Bartender Peanut says he’s not sure why Bruno can’t get over his personal problems with Shari.

Bruno says that bringing Shari here is the worst thing he could possibly think of.

Bruno says he is incredibly annoyed but he is going to put his personal feelings aside for now.

Jon says that for the stress test he has invited the theater crowd.

Plush opens up for stress test.

Communication is very poor between Shari and Bruno.

The ticket system is a disaster and they need a POS system.

They are off to a rocky start.

Mia says that everything they went through in training is out the window now.

There are many customers who are waiting on their drinks still.

They are struggling to find who ordered what food.

Jon tells them to close the bar for the night.

Jon meets with Shari and Bruno to try to mend their relationship a little bit.

Mia shows them some drinks she came up with that will be added to the new menu, such as the After Show and the Curtain Call.

Nick shows them a few recipes that will be added to the new menu to match their Italian theme.

Bruno says that he can’t wait to serve the food.

They all taste the food and they love it.

The remodel begins on Plush.

The next evening, Jon meets with the staff to show them their new bar.

The bar has been renamed and Plush is now called Osteria Calabria.

Bruno says that this bar is fresh, vibrant, and colorful.

He said the name is spectacular.

The staff are blown away from how amazing the bar looks now.

There are no more stripper poles.

Jon got them all of the equipment they need, including two Revention POS systems at the bar and one in the kitchen.

Jon has given them Partender for six months.

Osteria Calabria opens up for the first time since remodel.

On relaunch, the customers are enjoying the food and drinks.

Mia says the bartenders are loving every second of making drinks for people.

Jon says that this was a very difficult rescue.

Claudia can now spend time with her parents without them arguing so much.

Jon shakes Bruno’s hand and says that his work here is done.

Bruno says this experience is so surreal.


What Happened Next at Plush / Osteria Calabria?

Six weeks after relaunch, food and beverage sales have gone up 21%.

Bruno has paid 7 months on the $65,000 he owes to Shari.

His grandmother’s house is no longer in threat of foreclosure.

They renamed the bar again to The O.C Bar and Bistro

Plush / Osteria Calabria / The O.C Bar and Bistro closed in May 2015 after the building was sold.

They planned to open at another location but this did not happen.


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This post was last updated in September 2021.

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