Sunday, May 17, 2020

Par Bar (Pepe's) - Bar Rescue Update

In this week's episode of Bar Rescue, Jon Taffer and crew are in Canyon Lake, California to rescue Pepe's Mexican Restaurant & Cantina.  Pepe's is owned by Victor and Laura Demoreno who own the land and the building ($2.5 million investment) and are losing $6,000 a month with the restaurant/bar. They are absent from the bar a lot of the time and when they are there, they only monitor it from an upstairs office. Due to the dark interior, employees refer to Pepe's as the dungeon.

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

Positive Reviews:
  • "My boyfriend and I went to the last night of recording for the reveal night! I had half (it comes with another to share) of this pretty blue drink that was pretty good! Also had an awesome michelada and we ordered the chilaquiles nachos which were TO DIE FOR! The chips were thick and crispy and the steak was so tender! I'll be back ASAP, I want to try everything!!"
  • "Pepes is a staple for those of us that live in Canyon Lake. I suppose as a regular, we may receive better service. We always have excellent service. The drinks are strong and yes, a little pricey but reliable. Here are a few of the best things on the menu- Chili Colorado burrito, bean dip, nachos borrachos."
  • "Got to check our the re-launch and the food was as great!!! Super awesome bar menu items, definitely check it out and try the spicy margarita!"
  • "Love the new look, Jessica and Shawna are awesome always make me feel at home. Drinks are good, vibe is good..... good people at this location ."

Negative Reviews:

  • "Went in thinking it would have been a bar rescued but there was no rescue. Same draft beers, same bar... some wallpaper and new chairs. It wasn't much of a rescue. I'm actually embarrassed for the place. They need to take all that crap down. It's so cheesy and half assed. Literally they have a wood prop by the entrance... such a joke. Go take a look for yourself. Nothing special."
  • "Not much has changed sadly other than the decor. Service was horrible and the place was not that busy. Asked for food and she never came back. Ended up asking for the check and moved on to a place with better service."
  • "I have frequented Pepe's for 20 years and over the past few years it has gone way downhill. The prices have sky rocketed the portions have diminished and the general attitude from management is a "We Don't Give A Damn What You Think" attitude, which is far from what management's attitude was prior to a few years ago."
  • "What a joke!!!! You advertise your family to-go packs (and trying to support small business at this time of crisis, decided to order that for dinner. However, there is NO ONE inside the restaurant. Ps. It is 4:04pm and this deal is said to be from 4-8pm.....TERRIBLE FALSE ADVERTISEMENT (particularly for an establishment that was on the verge of closing until you were RESCUED)!!! Won't ever even attempt to eat your nasty food again anyways! Thanks for saving me the $100 that I gladly invested in a small business that 1. Doesn't false advertise and 2. Appreciates the business. Good day!"
  • "0 stars. Horrible place. Food was cold, drinks tasted like straight alcohol, and the waiter was on an illegal substance. Never coming back."
*Reviews from Yelp, Google

Other News and Links:
  • The Bar Rescue for Pepe's happened in February 2020.
  • Here is a preview video of the episode from the Paramount YouTube page.
  • Here is the Pepe's Facebook page. Their website domain expired recently.  They also have Instagram.  The sign of the bar says Del Lago Bar at Pepe's.
  • Here are the Facebook pages of Victor and Laura Demoreno (owners), Shawnda (bartender), and Jessica (bartender),
  • According to Victor's LinkedIn profile, he is the president/CEO of multiple other businesses, some of which are food related.
  • Locals were talking about the upcoming episode saying they felt bad for the owners because the Bar Rescue makeover was cheap.  One said, "I felt awful for them! But, the regulars will be back! I hope they get through this! (I hope we all do!) I felt bad cause Bar Rescue saw golf carts and assumed they were all golfers! In Canyon Lake, as we all know, everyone drives golf carts!" (Link)
  • In the comments of the preview video, there is also a comment that says, "Completely missed the mark with this bar. This community is NOT a golf community. It is a LAKE community that has a golf course. Most people own golf carts just to drive around the community, and don’t even golf." Others agreed with that comment.
  • The Par Bar sign and decorations have been moved to someone's personal bar in their house. (Link with photos and one to the right)
    Photo - Facebook
  • Pepe's does have a Groupon deal available.
  • Here are the reviews for Pepe's from YelpTripadvisorGoogle. Here are a few from the Par Bar Yelp.
  • With government regulations on social distancing, Pepe's is only open for to-go orders right now.  They had to close about a month after the makeover due to regulations but reopened in April for takeout orders.


Jon Taffer decided to change the name of Pepe's Mexican Restaurant & Cantina to Par Bar, but the bar quickly changed back to Pepe's and the golf decor has been removed. The gold decor is currently in somebody's home bar.  It seems that the owners as well as locals thought that the golf concept didn't fit, and the makeover looked cheap.  Locals in the area drive around in golf carts even if they aren't playing golf, which they think may have fooled Bar Rescue into thinking they were all golfers.  The reviews for Pepe's/Par Bar are somewhat negative, but they weren't open too long after the makeover due to social distancing regulations.  Owner Victor is listed as the president/CEO of multiple companies and owns the complex where Pepe's is, so he maybe wasn't struggling for Bar Rescue's help.

*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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