The Palace / Menara - Bar Rescue Update - Open or Closed?

The Palace Bar Rescue

In this Bar Rescue episode, Jon Taffer visits The Palace in Upland, California.

The Palace is owned by Ghazi Ashkar and brother-in-law Sam Khalil.

They bought the bar in 2013 and turned it into a Moroccan themed bar.

They both had zero experience in the bar business and they have never turned a profit.

This has pushed Ghazi to give out free drinks and food to the displeasure of Sam.

Their poor communication has affected their staff.

Jon recons the bar with expert mixologist Mia Mastroianni and expert Mediterranean chef Penny Davidi.

They see the exterior has no appeal and does not have any Moroccan themes.

Jon fills the experts in on the ownership of the bar.

Actors Iddo Goldberg and Alexander Sidic are Jon’s spies.

They stayed in Morocco for six months filming their TV series.

They walk into the bar and think that it looks more roman themed.

The bar does not have a drinks menu so they order martinis.

They find out there are no stools at the bar.

They sit at a table but no one offers them a menu.

The drinks are watery, so they order a different drink.

Ghazi is drinking with guests and eating peanuts.

Some dancers come with LED lights.

They are now belly dancing but no one is noticing them.

Ghazi is taking care of his friends.

The spies are left sitting for fifteen minutes without a menu.

They finally get someone to attend to them.

They order a Tagine which surprisingly is not on their menu.

They order every starter on the menu.

In the kitchen, the cutting board is dirty.

Cross contamination happens whilst preparing the meals.

Jon tells the spies through their ear not to eat any of the food.

They find a hair on their plate while Jon comes in to see the food.

Jon takes the owners outside.

Ghazi is delusional that his freebies are keeping the place afloat.

Sam thinks all the losses are from all that he is giving away.

Sam gets too angry with the situation and walks away.

Jon leaves them to sort it out the next day.

Jon meets with the staff the next day.

Ghazi is in the same spot drinking and smoking shisha.

Ghazi does not rate Jon and when his drinking is brought up, he is defensive.

Jon gets offended and walks away.

He only returns after Ghazi admits the bar is failing because of him.

Jon introduces his experts to the staff.

Sam usually is in the kitchen and Ghazi in front of house.

Jon swaps them so they can appreciate each other’s roles in the space.

In the kitchen, Penny trains them on a warm Moroccan olive plate and warm pitta.

Mia trains the staff on making a proper vodka martini but is interrupted by Jon.

Jon has to start remodelling that day.

The stress test is not at the bar but at a previously rescued bar Steinhaus.

Ivan, the owner shares his experience with Bar Rescue and how his business got turned around.

The stress test starts and the bartenders’ martinis are inconsistent with their pouring technique.

The kitchen is serving pitta bread as hard as cardboard.

Sam and Ghazi are in the way of the service and the experts are frustrated.

The bartenders are overwhelmed at having to serve so many people.

It is clear they are not used to having standards and processes.

Sam goes to the kitchen and they start bickering.

Ghazi goes to front of house too, intruding on Sam’s territory.

A bartender who made so many mistakes has to be pulled.

She takes her bags and walks out the bar.

Jon cannot take it anymore and shuts it all down.

At feedback Jon notes that none of the bartenders know what they are doing.

The owners were a mess and it is obvious they influence their staff’s bad behaviour.

The staff have a meeting on their own that night on how they can come together and do better.

The next day, Jon sits with the owners to try and get them to start working together.

They both forgive each other and promise to stop blaming one another.

Penny trains the staff on making a Tagine.

Mia trains the staff on using Jiggers to pour more accurately.

She trains them on cocktails inspired by Moroccan flavours.

The staff is gathered outside the bar in the evening to unveil their new bar.

The bar has been renamed to Menara a Moroccan Bar.

Menara means the light that guides people to shore.

The exterior is painted to look more Moroccan.

Inside follows suit with lots of warm colours inspired by spices.

There are domes, a water fountain, new barstools and a new menu.

It is like stepping into Morocco.

Bar products supplied all their bar supplies and there are three Revention POS terminals.

The customers are let in for the relaunch.

There are actual belly dancers minus LED lights.

On relaunch, the bar is packed.

Tickets are piling up and it is up to the staff to work fast.

They pick up the pace and work through the rush.

The kitchen is also on point with the food and they love the new menu.

What Happened Next at The Palace?

Six weeks later, it is revealed they generated over $70,000 in revenue.

Ghazi no longer gives out free drinks.

The fighting between the two has ended and the relationship has improved.

The bar was renamed to Menara.

They didn't keep the name and went back to The Palace.

They also returned the belly dancers with the LED lights.

The Palace is open.

Reviews are mostly positive with a few complaints about customer service and the valet service.

This post was last updated in March 2024.

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