In 2013, Jon Taffer of Bar Rescue traveled to Long Beach, California to meet Lona Lee, owner of Lona’s Wardlow Station. Lona bought the bar in 1999 with no experience managing her own bar. To draw customers into Wardlow Station, she promoted an arcade claw machine that dipped into a fish tank of live lobsters. When Taffer came along, he got rid of the lobster tank, fired Lona’s manager Bill (in front of everyone at the bar), rebranded the Wardlow Station as Lona’s City Limits Cantina and added a Mexican menu. Also, four of Lona’s bartenders and a waitress were sent to a school where they learned a point-of-sale system and how to mix drinks.
Four years later, in 2017, Taffer reunites with Lona for a “Back to the Bar” TV special. Taffer is most upset when he learns that Lona went back to using canned beef instead of the real stuff for her Mexican dishes. Lona says she doesn’t think the reversion is hurting her business — she proudly tells Taffer her business is now debt-free. Taffer congratulates her and then proceeds to give everyone in the audience a taste test — one plate of Mexican food is filled with canned beef, the other with the real stuff. Think Taffer will prove his point? Bar Rescue air Sundays at 10pm on Paramount Network.