Saturday, May 21, 2022

Jerry's Dockside Bar & Grill (AJ's on the River) - Bar Rescue Update

In this week's episode of Bar Rescue, Jon Taffer and crew are in Gibsonton, Florida to rescue AJ's on the River.  Police veteran Jerry Clark bought the bar in 2016 with his retirement money. His son Patrick helps runs the bar and it supposedly isn't making money despite his experience, which is causing issues for their personal relationship as well.  Jerry is supposedly $120,000 in debt and months away from closing.

During the Bar Rescue makeover, Jon Taffer decided to change the name of AJ's on the River to Jerry's Dockside Bar & Grill and the bar has kept the name. Let's take a look at some information, reviews, and updates for Jerry's Dockside Bar & Grill since Bar Rescue came and made all of the changes to the bar (All reviews are post-Bar Rescue):

Positive Reviews:
  • "What a great place! So casual, so friendly, such good food!!! We sat outside on the deck with our dog, ate an amazing pork sandwich & a great "beyond" burger, & enjoyed a couple of cold beers, all with a lovely riverside view. We will make this a stop any & every time we're in the area!"
  • "Went here once and had to go back a second time, there grouper sandwich is to die for! Amazing food, great environment, and great people."
  • "Awesome atmosphere, fantastic food, great live music and friendly staff. A little confused on parking but we made it work. Will be coming back! I had the Blackened Grouper Sandwich and my husband had the Alfania burger. Both delish!"
  • "Great, on the water, blackened grouper sandwich, coleslaw, and awesome sweet tea. Definitely worth a stop in"
  • "Ambience and local live music is always nice at this Bar Rescue dockside restaurant. Servers are very nice and work very hard. Not much turnover in staff, which is a good sign that Jerry takes good care of wait staff. Limited menu is decent with only a couple new items added to the menu. I'm not sure that enhanced the offerings much. I'm still missing French fries, which I think would be a game changer!"
  • "I love the atmosphere! The wait staff has always been good. My only discontent is the reduced menu really missed the steak phili. They still have phili at Ricks on the River .., but I Much prefer AJ's or what used to be Aj's. Please increased the menu"
  • "Jerry's Dockside has a great view of the Alafia River and it's family owned. It has just been remodeled and has a relaxing atmosphere. It has many tasty drink choices and great food. They have awesome live entertainment and an amazing staff! I love this place!"
  • "Atmosphere - Very nice. Formerly AJ's (same owner, just changed the name), the restaurant has gone through a revision that was prompted by the restaurant's participation in the TV show, Bar Rescue. There are significant improvements to the bar area, as well as upgraded tables and umbrellas in the seating area on the lower level and along the water. This is a very comfortable, fun atmosphere. The owner took time to stop at our table to ask if we were satisfied with the service and food. He is a very nice and genuine person and I wish him and his staff success.....Overall Value - Very Good. The restaurant checks all of the boxes, Atmosphere, Food, Service and Prices. Once the menu is expanded, rating could easily rise to 5 Stars"
  • "Jerrys Dockside is excellent !! Must get the grouper Sandwich.. best ever! Great location right on river and you can bring your dogs. Great prices and live music that is at the right level that you can hear and still chat. Planning on going back again soon!"

Negative Reviews:
  • "Went there on 3/2/2022 for lunch waitress we had didn't have a clue..... went to pay she rang up someone else's bill, was way more than we spent didn't have a clue how to refund correctly. tried to refund and charged my husband's credit card for correct amount. Now have 2 charges on credit card and have tried to call several times no one answers just rings."
*Reviews from Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google

Other News and Links:
  • The Bar Rescue for AJ's on the River happened in February 2022.
  • Here is a preview video of the episode from the Bar Rescue YouTube page.
  • Here is the Jerry's Dockside Bar & Grill Facebook page and they do not have a website.
    • Despite the Facebook page still saying AJ's on the River, they go by Jerry's Dockside Bar & Grill and all posts reference Jerry's.
    • When they were doing the Bar Rescue makeover there were a lot of comments of support and well wishes.
  • The bar is located on the Alafia river and has spots for boats to park. 
  • Here are the Facebook pages of Patrick (manager/Jerry's son), Ashley (bartender), Shannon (manager) and Alex (cook)
  • Somebody asked Patrick if Bar Rescue was a good experience and he said, "yeah, wasn't too bad at all." (Link)
  • The bar only serves wine and beer due to not having a license to serve liquor.  Somebody asked if Bar Rescue got them a liquor license, but it was confirmed they still just serve beer and wine. So, I wouldn't expect mixed drinks from a mixologist on this episode. (Link)
  • Here are the reviews for Jerry's Dockside Bar & Grill from Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google.
    • The reviews both before and after the makeover are very positive.


Jon Taffer decided to change the name of AJ's on the River to Jerry's Dockside Bar & Grill and the bar has kept the name.  The review for Jerry's Dockside are overwhelmingly positive with people liking the food (especially the grouper sandwich), atmosphere, and staff.  There are a few reviews that mention the smaller menu, but even those are positive.  The reviews before the makeover were also positive and their Facebook page shows a lot of support from locals.  This seems like a place that locals and the boating community love.

*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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