Sunday, May 3, 2020

Sierra Madre Cantina (Kalaveraz) - Bar Rescue Update

In this week's episode of Bar Rescue, Jon Taffer and crew are in Escondido, California to rescue Kalaveraz.  Kalaveraz is a Mexican restaurant owned by Juan Magana.  Juan is a defiant owner who needs to take responsibility for his own failures to save himself from closing the restaurant. Juan tells Jon Taffer he's failing because he is surrounded by turkeys, meanwhile he is behind on their paychecks.

During the Bar Rescue makeover, Jon Taffer decided to change the name of Kalaveraz to Sierra Madre Cantina and they have kept the name. Let's take a look at some information, reviews, and updates for Sierra Madre Cantina since Bar Rescue came and made all of the changes to the bar (All reviews are post-Bar Rescue):

Positive Reviews:

  • "What a great and relaxing place to chill and drink one. The food and service is perfect! I highly recommend this place for a clam weekend vibe."
  • "I met with several clients two days in a row at SMC. The management/owner is very accommodating as I requested some privacy. Our server "Claudia" was on point and provided great service! Food was great and priced just right. I will definitely be coming back, and I highly recommend this restaurant!"
  • "Good food, friendly staff, good drinks and reasonable pricing. Used to come in when it was AƱejos, and came only a few times when it was Kalaveraz. Now 2nd time in here as Sierra Madre Cantina. Bartenders are knowledgable and great service. I appreciate service and good food, and like to acknowledge that. Will be back."
  • "MUST TRY!!! I had their Bacon wrapped shrimp and Enchiladas and it was super yummy! Best of all that makes the experience is the Service, SERVICE IS THE BEST BESIDES THEIR DELICIOUS FOOD!"
  • "Amazing food, amazing staff! MUST TRY if you're ever near Escondido! Best Margaritas in the area, GREAT tacos, friendly staff, great place for parties, large groups, etc!"
  • "This review is for Sierra Madre Cantina. Since remodeling this place is worth a second chance. New menu and drinks as well as modern clean decor."
  • "The food here is amazing. Way better then the place that use to be here. Also the owner is supper nice. I'm so glad that a place with amazing mexican food opened up around the corner from my house"

Negative Reviews:

  • "I'm sad to see that a Mexican restaurant can't get real fried beans and the rice right. Beans taste like can beans, and rice were so dry. I had the ceviche and I don't like getting big chunks of tomatoes in it. The tostada at the bottom was bad. Just like the chips, they were old. I got a slice of avocado on my plate. Tamarindo margarita was okay. I hope that the owner can get better chefs to actual make beans and real Mexican rice. I really want this place to succeed. Service was great!"
  • "This place is ok, but it was better before bar rescue showed up. The review below is for Kalaveraz not whatever bar rescue did to the place. Before bar rescue I gave this place 4 stars now it just isn't as comfortable and some drinks are in fancy cups and overpriced. Just a Maybe I came on a bad day I'll try again and update my review if needed"
  • "We were regulars at Anejo, in fact I even held my business lunch meetings there. Wasn't so happy with the food and drinks when the new owner took over, and stopped going there entirely. When we heard "Bar Rescue" had come to their aid we decided to give it another try. Called in an order for two dinners. When I arrived to pick them up they had no record of the order. Waited while they prepared my order, took it home and discovered that BOTH dinners were wrong. I called and was told they would make new dinners for me, but I would have to bring the incorrect ones back first. No thanks!!! Two trips for bad service and mediocre food? I don't think so!"
  • "Horrible customer service & food! I placed an order of 8 items over the phone for pick-up, and they messed up up on all the orders! No attention to detail whatsoever. They forgot to give me the tortillas for the menudo. I asked for no beans on another order, & they gave me beans. They completely forgot one of the salad orders. When I asked and they did give it to me, they forgot the dressing. Tortilla chips were hard and burnt. The rolled tacos on the menu said chicken and I got beef. They charged us $10 for a handful of chips. Portions for the food is overall too small for the price. Not impressed at all with the overall quality of the restaurant. I will not be returning, nor do I recommend this restaurant for good quality Mexican food. Save your money!"
  • "Literally waited an hour just for them to take our order. Once we did order, they brought us an incorrect order twice. We left without eating."
*Reviews from Yelp, Google

Other News and Links:
  • The Bar Rescue for Kalaveraz happened in late January 2020.
  • Here is the Sierra Madre Cantina website and Facebook page. Here is the old Kalaveraz website that has also been updated to say Sierra Madre Cantina.
    • They have a Bar Rescue menu on their website, so it seems they kept all of the food items and cocktails. 
  • Here are the Facebook pages of Juan (owner), Alyson (bartender)
  • In March 2020, Juan did a cooking demonstration on the local news station (Fox5).  He said that Bar Rescue was a great experience. (Link to video)
  • Sierra Madre Cantina was closed since March due to government regulations on social distancing, but reopened Friday May 1st for to-go orders according to Facebook.  They posted, "Hey Escondido! BIG NEWS. We are OPENING TODAY from 4:00 PM - 8:00 PM in preparation for a special airing of our restaurant's episode on Bar Rescue! We will be featuring our limited Bar Rescue menu with 5 specialty cocktails and 5 specialty dishes (available to-go)! #SierraMadreCantina.  Join us on Facebook live tonight and check out our limited menu here šŸ‘‰ šŸŽŠ.  Also, be sure to tune in on the Paramount Network this Sunday evening at 10:00 PM for our episode on #BarRescue! šŸ»"
  • Here are the reviews for Sierra Madre Cantina from Yelp, Tripadvisor and Google.
    • Juan takes the time to respond to some of the reviews.
  • The previous restaurant at this location was called AƱejo.  Juan took over and opened Kalaveraz in August 2019, so he had the business just a few months before Bar Rescue came.
  • The sign company that did the sign for Sierra Madre Cantina said they were approached by Bar Rescue to make the sign and "design, obtain approval of the design along with city permit approval, remove existing signage, fabricate and install the signs" in 4 days. (Link)


Jon Taffer decided to change the name of Kalaveraz to Sierra Madre Cantina and the bar has kept the name. It appears they have also kept all of the menu items and cocktails that Bar Rescue recommended as they have a specific Bar Rescue menu on their website.  Sierra Madre Cantina is more of a restaurant than a bar and the reviews are mixed.   The positive reviews talk about the food, drinks and bartenders while many of the negative reviews are about getting incorrect orders especially with takeout.  Juan opened the restaurant just five months before Bar Rescue came.  The episode was filmed a little more than 3 months ago which is a pretty quick turnaround for Bar Rescue to air after filming.

*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.

No comments:

Post a Comment