Saturday, July 28, 2018

Bar Rescue - Bayou Bar & Grill (Fatballs) Update

On this week's episode of Bar Rescue, Jon Taffer and crew are in Jacksonville, Florida to rescue Fatballs. Fatballs is a sport bar with a bad reputation and an even worse name.  While doing recon, there are barely any customers and Jon Taffer still has to wait forever to get some food and drinks.  Even with the long wait, the food and drinks are not up to standards.

During the Bar Rescue makeover, Jon Taffer decided to change the name of Fatballs to Bayou Bar & Grill, but the bar has changed the name back to Fatballs.  Let's take a look at some information, reviews, and updates for Fatballs/Bayou Bar & Grill since Bar Rescue came and made all of the changes to the bar (All reviews are post-Bar Rescue):

Positive Reviews:
  • "Ok the TVshow "Restaurant Rescue" came in and revamped the place it is AWESOME!!!!!Food has changed and is Excellent!!! Oysters are .60 cents a piece!!!! Make sure to get the ones with garlic butter sauce!!!!!!"
  • "Man, they have some seriously good food at good prices!! Owner is a riot, staff was great!! And this was verified by some Savannah peeps!! ☺"
  • "Awesome customer service, great food and music my husband and I definitely enjoyed it especially since we don't get out much"

Negative Reviews:
  • "It was okay, but it use to be even better before they closed and reopened the shrimp are small and the garlic butter isn't the same"
  • "I habe literally been sitting here for 30 min. No drink no food nothing. I only come here for the oysters. Which you don't do a special for anymore. You service is HORRIBLE!!! Then your bring my food and not my drink. Smh... I love the food and atmosphere but this...."
  • "My first time there we had a wonderful waitress but the place was extremely hot, the wings was dried out I asked for light oysters but they were dry ,and flys we’re flying around our food smh"
  • "Staff was very rude food was ok. Never had a waitress or hostess be nasty."
*Reviews from Yelp, Google, Facebook

Other News and Links:

  • The Bar Rescue makeover happened in January 2018.
  • Here are two preview videos of the episode from the Paramount YouTube - Video 1, Video 2
  • Here is the Fatballs Facebook page and it doesn't appear they have a website.
  • Here is The Bayou Facebook page which hasn't posted since they changed their name back to Fatballs.
  • Before the makeover, there were a lot of reviews with people complaining about a policy of charging an 18% gratuity automatically if your bill is over $35. (Link)
  • Fatballs puts in the effort to respond to negative reviews online and try to make things right.
  • A local Facebook page told people to come out during the Bar Rescue filming and all of the comments talk about the bad location of the bar.  The comment, "Ain't nobody risking their lives on 103rd to get on TV" had over 450 likes and there were many other comments about the bad location on there.  Another comment said, "Unless you lift that building up and put it in another part of town, it’s going to fail" (Link)
  • In March 2018, The Bayou was closed by restaurant inspectors.  On March 7th, the restaurant was cited for "100 hard and dry rodent droppings, raw food stored over cooked food, accumulation of mold, and no proof of required state employee training." The restaurant was also cited when an employee pulled up his pants then handled raw chicken without changing his single-use gloves. Follow-up inspections on March 9 and March 10 found 90 and then 50 rodent droppings as well as fresh and moist ones. On March 10, the manager was informed that any more droppings would be considered as a new activity. Then, 50 more were found, and the restaurant was temporarily closed. It reopened on March 12 after a follow-up saw no violations." (Link)
  • Here are other restaurant inspections at Fatballs and an inspection in April also found rodent droppings and small flying insects in the kitchen. (Link)
  • On March 14th, someone asked if the bar was called The Bayou and Fatballs responded - "Yes because We had a reality TV show called bar rescue come in and film an episode and so they remodeled it on the inside and outside and they changed the name to the by you but I'm gonna change it back the fat balls because that's what my customers affiliate me with"
    • Fatballs also said on that post, "We were closed because we had a reality tv show called bar rescue here filming and they remodeled the place and changed the name to the bayou and the city made us close because all of our licenses were under FATBALLS SPORTS BAR but the name outside on the building said the bayou but I was allowed to open again after getting an extension from the city and now I have a company coming to take down the name the bayou and they're building me a new sign that says our original name which is fatballs"
  • Someone recently asked owner Tony how many employees from the episode are still there, and he responded, "2 lol" (Link)


Fatballs Sports Bar & Grill was renamed to The Bayou Bar & Grill by Bar Rescue, but the bar has changed the name back to Fatballs.  Fatballs has said they changed the name back because that is what customers affiliate the bar with and because the city made them close because all of their licenses were under Fatballs.  There aren't too many reviews for Fatballs since the Bar Rescue visit, but the reviews available are mixed.  Fatballs was shut down a few months after the Bar Rescue visit due to bad restaurant inspections that found rodent droppings.  Also, it seems that people think Fatballs is in a bad/dangerous location.

UPDATE - Owner Tony has been responding to people on Facebook after the episode aired.  He said, "if you think that the reality show bar rescue is real your being too gullible my friend. The truth is he had his staff at my front door not letting my customers in so he can come inside and say we didnt have any customers. My customers were calling me saying why wont they let us in. Keep in mind it's a show that's looking for drama and ratings. I didnt need bar rescue I just did it for the free publicity and the free remodel. All the other people who come on the show do it for the same reason. My business wasnt failing and bar rescue didnt even ask for 1 piece of paper to prove that I was losing money. It's a show my friend that's all. Me and my staff gave them the drama they were looking for and they gave me the publicity and the remodel I was looking for. People might not want to hear that but it's the truth. I used to watch bar rescue all the time but i stopped because it's all just for show"

In another response regarding changing the name back, he said "Hi everyone I'm tony the owner. I've been open for 3 years now and weve done 3 million in sales when I was fatballs and when bar rescue changed the name to the bayou I literally lost 50% of my sales. All the customers thought I closed and that it was a different restaurant with different food and they stopped coming. I put my original name back up there and now my sales increased but still not where it was. Also I'd like to point out how in the picture they used my name in the day time so it wouldn't pop but they used their name at night when the sign is light so it would make it look better. Last but not least Fatballs was never meant to be offensive...I'm a sports bar so it stands for footballs, basketballs etc. And the fact that it works on more than 1 level makes the name a dream conversation starter and 80% of my customers are women."

UPDATE 2 - Fatballs closed in May 2019 - More info on the closure.

*To see how all of the bars from Bar Rescue are doing, go to the Bar Rescue Updates page, and also Like us on Facebook or Follow Us on Twitter to stay up to date with all things involving Bar Rescue.

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