Sunday, April 26, 2020

Rob Ben's - Bar Rescue Update

In this week's episode of Bar Rescue, Jon Taffer and crew are in Emeryville, California to rescue Rob Ben's Restaurant & Lounge. Rob Ben's is owned by NFL star Marshawn Lynch and is named after his friend who was shot and killed in 2007.  Marshawn has both his family and Rob's family working and running the restaurant/bar and he needs Jon Taffer's help to try to keep them in line.

During the Bar Rescue makeover, Jon Taffer decided to slightly change the name of Rob Ben's Restaurant & Lounge to Rob Ben's Neighborhood Soul. Let's take a look at some information, reviews, and updates for Rob Ben's Neighborhood Soul since Bar Rescue came and made all of the changes to the restaurant/bar (All reviews are post-Bar Rescue):

Positive Reviews:

  • "The food at Rob Ben's restaurant was hella exceptionally delicious. I ordered the shrimp and links grits smoothed in brown gravy...Oh hot dammm...lemme tell YOU it was good, then the swai fried fish w/potato salad, ooh you will hurt yourself. My husband ordered the steak dam those was amazing as well. He also ordered fried pork chops to go along with peach cobbler. The peach cobbler looks like it's on point. I'm going to stop and pick up so vanilla ice cream to go with that there. And, to end this post they weren't skimpy with portions & the prices were reasonable."
  • "Love this place! I usually get the same thing 3 things fried chicken or pork chops or fish. This time I decided to get the shrimp and grits with my favorite chicken wings of course. Boy I'm glad I did!!!!! It was DELICIOUS! The shrimp and grits also had links, bacon crumbles, green onions and cheese flavors that matched to a PERFECT T! Now I will add this to my list of favorites! And will order 1 to go! Loved it!"
  • "I recently had my birthday dinner at Rob Bens and it was AMAZING, per always! Coming from the South, it's hard to find good soulful food, especially the vegetables, and Rob Bens is holding its own when comparing it to home. I eat here at least once a week to get that nostalgia of Georgia, and the food is on point... every time."
  • "The hubbs And I had chicken and waffles & an omelette with bacon, cheddar, & bacon it was phenomenal. The fried chicken was to die for (I should have gotten the chicken waffles) Either way service was great and food was amazing!! You won't be disappointed"
  • "They nailed it at this restaurant. The food was delicious. I ordered chicken and waffles and wanted to lick the plate and clean the bones. The service was unpretentious and down to earth. The place was clean. Particularly the bathroom. I have deep appreciation for an establishment (especially a restaurant) with immaculate bathrooms. All in all I can't wait to go back and try more things on the menu."
  • "It’s exactly what you are looking for if you know what you are looking for. A welcoming neighborhood place with strong drinks and hearty southern food."
  • "Great experience visiting from ATL. Good food those candied yams, mac and cheese and wings where great. OMG i had a beastmode margarita i couldnt drink was a beast exactly. General Mgr very nice lady great personality. I will be back!"

Negative Reviews:

  • "i was treated so bad, i thought i was being punked! the bartender didn't even look clean! i later found out the bartender is mr. lynch's brother! will not be going back! i really cant believe the customer service! i didn't order anything, i just left! really zero stars for me!"
  • "Customer service tonight was terrible, usually it's decent depending on how busy they are. Tonight was not busy at all. The bartender was extremely rude, never acknowledged us sitting there at the bar for approximately 15 mins and when he did he asked "what you won't (not want) when I appeared to be taken aback by his attitude, he said "oh nothing" and walked away. Proceeded to dance to the music and ignore us. When I finally got his attention again and told him that my niece would like to order...he rolled his eyes and asked her "what you won't...speak up" no customer service whatsoever. His attitude was uglier than he was....and that's pretty ugly. "
  • "If I could give this place on this particular day a negative 5 I would.... My aunt and I came in sat at the bar.. The male behind the bar had a very bad attitude. We stated that we wanted to order he said then speak up.... Supporting black businesses isn't the problem, the issue is the lack of customer service.... Get it together...."
  • "The food was okay the drinks were terrible you got very little for the money"
*Reviews from Yelp, Google

Other News and Links:
  • The Bar Rescue for Rob Ben's happened in October 2019.
  • Here is a preview video of the episode from the Paramount TV YouTube page.
  • Marshawn Lynch was retired at the time of filming, but returned to play for the Seahawks in December 2019.
  • Marshawn Lynch has career earnings of over $58 million. (Link)
  • Rob Ben's does not have a website or Facebook page, but here is an unofficial Facebook page. They have an Instagram page that is active and provides updates.
  • Rob Ben's is having a live watch party tonight on Instagram and Twitch with the team and Marshawn Lynch.  Jon Taffer also commented that he wants to do it together. (Link)
  • Here are the Facebook pages of Marshawn (owner), Shawny (manager/Aunt), Dave (bartender/brother), Cullen (cook)
  • In a SF Chronicle article, Marshawn said, "I thought he was going to come in and just rip everybody apart. And at the time, that was what I was hoping for. I knew there would be some backlash from our staff, but eventually everyone was able to see it his way."
  • Jon said in that article, "When you come into a place like this, it’s a responsibility, it’s not a rescue. Marshawn went about this for the right reasons. It was community generated, not profit generated."
  • Right after the makeover a bartender from Rob Ben's posted, "LMAOO i can't wait to see these crazies I like to call my extended family acting a damn foo on TV (I didn't sign the release so you won't catch me on there lol)" (Link)
  • Marshawn purchased the restaurant in 2018 which was called Scend’s and was a soul-food restaurant.
  • Here is an article from 2007 when Robert Benjamin Jr. was killed. (Link)
  • Here are the reviews for Rob Ben's on YelpTripadvisor and Google.
  • With all of the social distancing regulations, Rob Ben's remains open for takeout orders and is giving first responders a 24% discount.


Jon Taffer decided to slightly change the name of Rob Ben's Restaurant & Lounge to Rob Ben's Neighborhood Soul and they have kept the name. Rob Ben's is more of a restaurant than a bar and the reviews for the food are great while there are some negative reviews about rude bartenders.  With millions in career earnings, Marshawn Lynch doesn't really fit the typical Bar Rescue owner of struggling financially because of a bar, but he was probably selected for entertainment value.  With current government regulations on social distancing, Rob Ben's remains open for business for takeout orders only.

At the end of the episode it said promotional considerations provided by Beastmode Productions, which is Marshawn Lynch's company.  So perhaps he helped foot the bill for the Bar Rescue makeover or came to an agreement for doing the show.

*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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