The famous show Bar Rescue took over Southeastern Hillsborough County early this year to revamp a few beloved restaurants.

The famous show Bar Rescue took over Southeastern Hillsborough County early this year to revamp a few beloved restaurants.

Bar Rescue is a popular TV show that spends about five days at a time flipping restaurants. The show visited the area to help three local spots, AJ’s on the River, now known as Jerry’s Dockside Bar and Grill; The Forge, which became The Crowne Irish Pub; and Jimmy’s, formerly known as JF Kicks. The team watches to see where the bar and restaurant may be lacking so it can advise the employees and clean up the space. All restaurants were given a refresh with new menu items, paint, seating and appliances.

“AJ’s has always been a great place to hang out, but I think Bar Rescue elevated it from a local hangout to a destination place,” said Leda Eaton, a frequent diner at AJ’s on the River, or Jerry’s Dockside. “It had all the elements already—great water views and friendly staff—but Bar Rescue added things that took it to the next level.”

Each night, locals are invited to take part in filming in different ways. As the show can only allow so many diners into the restaurant, people begin lining up hours in advance in hopes to make it inside. After waiting in line, producers perform COVID-19 tests on those first in line up to the amount of people they can allow in. Finally, once everyone passes the test, filming begins, and everyone let in stays for hours until it is complete.

The host, Jon Taffer, spends time analyzing how the establishment runs on its own along with checking out competing restaurants in the area. The next night, they welcome locals in to order food and drinks to complete what they call the stress test. Once this is finished, Taffer and his experts work to train the employees on bartending, cooking or any other areas where staff is lacking, then the team transforms the kitchen and dining area with new things like equipment and seating. Finally, the bar opens back up, sometimes under a new name, for the local diners to check out the totally revamped bar.

All three restaurants are back open for business and are excited to show off their new look.

For more information, call The Crowne at 813-548-7090, Jerry’s Dockside Bar and Grill in Gibsonton at 813-605-4621 or Jimmy’s at 813-643-7777.

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