Friday, June 2, 2023

Marley’s Now in 2018 – After Bar Rescue Update

Marley’s before Bar Rescue

Kevin and Michelle Letourneau

In 2010 Kevin Letourneau opened Marley’s on the Beach in Warwick, Rhode Island, with financial help from his fiancée Michelle.  The couple also decided to tie the knot right in front of their newly-opened establishment. Marley’s was situated in a spot that offered an excellent view of the sunset and across a branch of famed restaurant Iggy’s and Kevin thought that his bar could replicate his neighbor’s success. Unfortunately Kevin’s inexperience in managing a bar business, plus its notorious reputation for bad food and service, ultimately repelled patrons from the haunt and instead drew in negative reviews.

Seeing that her investment was on rocky ground Michelle stepped in and took the managerial mantle despite her lack of experience, and Kevin saw this as an opportunity to let his wife handle the mess. Desperate for help Michelle hired friend Elese as an assistant manager and the new employee had trouble connecting with the staff of Marley’s.

To save the place where their marriage began Kevin and Michelle called for Jon Taffer and Bar Rescue before it becomes the place where their relationship ends as well.

Marley’s on Bar Rescue

Taffer consulted with Iggy’s owner Dave Gravino and the restaurateur revealed that he leased the building to the Letorneaus. Contrary to the usual Bar Rescue recon Taffer instead sent in 200 customers to give the bar an introductory stress test to see how they handle such a huge volume of patrons. The bar area was swamped as only one bartender worked behind the counter and the poorly-made food took too long to be served. While Michelle was on the front lines Kevin kept himself busy by standing on the sides and talking to friends. Taffer entered Marley’s and, after pushing Kevin to work with his wife, watched the kitchen area with expert chef Brendon Collins.

The old facade

Collins found out that all food items were off the proper temperature which proved to be a health risk. Taffer confronted the cook Diana who was being disrespectful and, instead of correcting her ways, she resorted to walking out and leaving behind her son Joey who also worked at the kitchen. Taffer tried to talk her back into the bar while Diana was now in her car but she chose to drive away. The next day a repentant Diana stood along with her colleagues during the staff meeting and she was given another chance by Michelle despite Elese’s protests. Michelle then wanted Kevin as a silent partner since he wasn’t that dedicated to the business anymore and the latter had no other choice but to accept his fate for the sake of their business and marriage.

Now that things have been straightened out Collins tested the mettle of the mother and son duo in the kitchen and Joey did his best to stay and not give up. Mixologist Russell Davis taught the bartenders how to create a perfect mojito in preparation of another stress test that night. As the customers came in droves the orders quickly piled up and those who enjoyed the sunset on the patio outside were not served and had to walk out after waiting for too long. Same goes inside Marley’s as the energy levels of patrons were diminished due to the lack of music. Diana and Joey prepared food at an impressive pace and she finally proved herself while Elese was a detriment to the bar’s operations, and the latter was fired by Michelle after the stress test.

Two days before the relaunch Taffer welcomed the staff outside the bar while the signage was being taken down so Michelle could leave Marley’s bad reputation in the past. Taffer also introduced two new bartenders and a manager to the roster and the concept of two themes namely happy hour for patrons over 40 and the nightclub for the younger crowd. Davis rolled out a colorful cocktail with a tropical flavor for the happy hour and an after sundown tequila mix. For the two food menus the first one was comprised of substantial meals and was for happy hour while the next one had light snacks for the night.

The new facade

After the renovation Marley’s was renamed to St. Michelle Beach Club with the blue signage replaced with a pink counterpart. The theme revolved around a fictitious island with two ‘environments’ that cater to two different age groups. The interior was decked with nautical décor, pastel colors, and new furniture. At night some of the tables were repositioned to make room for a dance floor and the energy was amped up with a new set of lights and music through a DJ booth. The patio was given a new set of wooden tables and chairs, and the island bar repaired and connected to the inside with a POS system. A food cooking station ensured quick delivery of food to patrons enjoying the fresh air and a fire pit kept everyone warm when the sun dipped.

With a bar rescued and a marriage saved, Taffer sailed away from the ‘island’ packed with smiling patrons.

Marley’s Now in 2018 – The After Bar Rescue Update

A month after the episode St. Michelle’s reported a steady increase in sales while Kevin was still a silent partner, only showing up for work when Michelle asked for his help. This dynamic helped improve their marriage.

The St. Michelle’s name was scrapped and the bar merged the two names to become Marley’s Beach Club. One of the bartenders stated that neither they nor the regulars liked Taffer’s given name hence their decision to combine.  Those who visited the bar reported the removal of most of Taffer’s menu items coupled by a deteriorated customer service. Other complaints stemmed from the loud music and the roof of the island bar on the patio blowing off.

A video named “Marleys on the beach redemption” was posted on YouTube on September 2013 where employees talked about the Bar Rescue episode and the changes, and though they loved some of the implementations they weren’t very happy about most of the things that happened. Click here to watch it.

Iggy’s took over

Around November 2013 Marley’s announced its permanent closure through its Facebook page. There wasn’t much information regarding the reason why they closed but, according to someone who claimed to have asked the bar owners themselves, it was due to ‘personal life reasons’.  Iggy’s then took over Marley’s and built an extension of the restaurant there.

Anthony Coyle
I write about anything and everything that catches my fancy, but mostly I try to provide the answers to the questions our readers ask every day. I'm also the guy who's always glued to an LCD screen of some sort.


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