Bryant’s Ice House before Bar Rescue
In 2012 accountant Jeff Simon pursued his dream of entering the bar business and bought biker establishment Bryant’s Ice House in Katy, Texas for $1.1 million, including a food cart outside the premises for the grub. Simon was aware of the bar’s negative reputation and he was confident that, with a bit of cleaning and good service, he could reinvigorate the place. He never entertained the thought of changing the bar’s name or doing any other change to distance it from its tarnished status.
Bryant’s Ice House was also situated in a poorly lit area which discouraged customers from paying a visit. The patrons who managed to get into the bar had to endure the infighting between the feisty employees and Simon was too nice to even lift a finger.
Simon’s problems extended outside the business as he already lost his house and the reds on his income didn’t go well with his million-dollar debt. To save his life’s dream from turning into a nightmare Simon took the only way out: by calling Jon Taffer and Bar Rescue for help.
Bryant’s Ice House on Bar Rescue
Taffer and expert mixologist Russell Davis finally park outside Bryant’s Ice House after being lost trying to find the bar in this Stygian part of town. Two local ladies enter the bar for recon and were served food and drink of poor quality. The inebriated maintenance worker / security personnel Randy approached the pair and pestered them with offensive language, forcing the two to walk out of the Ice House and Simon didn’t even do a thing or reprimand the man for his actions. Those who remained inside got a front row view of the escalating tension between two bartenders behind the bar and Taffer had to step in before it became a catfight.
The bar was closed down for the night and the staff gathered with the Bar Rescue host for a meeting. Randy got out of the bar after butting heads with Taffer and Simon was motivated to step up to the plate. The next day an apologetic Randy returned and asked for another chance to prove his love for the bar, and the owner was forced to fire bartender Kimmie for stealing although he relied on his girlfriend Shelley to axe the employee as Simon lacked the spine to do so. Afterwards Davis stepped in and gave the bartenders a crash course on mixing to hopefully correct their errors during the recon, and food cart expert Eric Regan advised cook Brian against the reliance on frozen food as the cold temperature decreases the fryer’s efficiency.
That night Taffer subjected Bryant’s Ice House to a stress test. Bartender Nadya was skillful enough to mix multiple cocktails at once while her partner Missy moved at a snail’s pace. Taffer had the cumbersome bartender out of the picture and Davis substituted to keep the ship from sinking. The clear lack of a system ensured not only slow serving times but also a handful of incorrect food orders due to miscommunication. After the test Taffer described the bar’s output as “catastrophic” and Missy’s disappointing performance got her fired. On a positive note Nadya was promoted to head bartender and Brian’s determination earned praise.
Afterwards Taffer and the experts discussed the new concept of Bryant’s Ice House that was perfect for industrial employees. Regan suggested fresh dishes with large portions and for the cocktails Davis proposed whiskey cocktails. A trio of new bartenders joined the bar’s roster the next day and Davis introduced the recipes to Wildcatter’s House Whiskey and Jeff’s Rough Neck Sour. Regan worked with Brian in the creation of a turkey meat loaf sandwich that’s perfect for the working Texan. Randy was recruited by Taffer into the renovation team as the remodeling of Bryant’s Ice House commenced.
36 hours later Bryant’s Ice House was renamed to The Wildcatter Saloon with a theme that paid tribute to Katy’s oil industry. A huge sign and a panel truck along the road now pointed the way towards the bar so people won’t have to drive blindly into the dark just to get to the destination. The interior was given new furniture, the walls darkened to give the bar a more intimate feel which increased length of stay, and numerous oil-related décor and branding. The food truck was splashed in black with a huge logo on the flank and a computer system inside alleviated Brian’s problems regarding orders. The bar area was equipped with two POS systems and a third service station was erected to help decongest the main bar.
The grand reopening proved how cohesive the employees and how effective the new systems were. The new food and drink items were whipped out at commendable speeds and earned commendations from the patrons. Taffer left the premises with Simon and the staff fired up for a brighter future.
Bryant’s Ice House Now in 2018 – The After Bar Rescue Update
A month later The Wildcatter Saloon reported a 35% increase in sales, and both Simon and Nadya exhibited good leadership skills.
The Wildcatter Saloon kept the rescue’s changes and is still open today with an impressive amount of positive reviews on their Facebook page. People praised almost everything about the bar and the negative reviews were way back last year. Last January 2017 the bar announced that they will be closing but they took back the statement two days later.
The bar expanded with events like karaoke night and live music. They also built up two separate bars and the backyard was occupied with a stage and an island bar which is called The Park and is open for rental.
According to a post on their Facebook page bands are lining up to land a gig on The Wildcatter Saloon and this large volume of willing musicians seem to be the cause of a planned acoustic and duet performance on Sunday afternoons.
Around the first week of March 2017 Simon and Shelley appointed two new operators of the bar as they were focused on their certified public accountant (CPA) business.