Taffer won’t be making these changes to the downtown Silver Spring bar by himself. His expert team includes Chef Josh Capon, Mixologist Elayne Duke, and high-end service specialist Jessie Barnes. Collectively, they will retrain the wait staff on the fundamentals of serving, mixing signature drinks and preparing basic menu ideas that are still tasty.
Renovating the restaurant will cost about $250,000, Taffer said. That includes the design work, furniture, painting, remodeling, kitchen equipment, cleaning, signage and the experts' time.
A soft opening Thursday evening gave the staff an opportunity to practice for their real opening night. That is when Taffer purposely turns up the heat on the staff.
“I gotta see who holds up and who doesn’t. Some employees bubble up to the top and become heroes," he said. "I might lose one or two. If I do, so be it, better now than later."
When Silver Spring residents attend the official opening Saturday night, they will experience a completely new restaurant. Taffer said there will be a complete overhaul from “the entire concept, menu changes [and] uniform changes.”
The renovation process began when Taffer asked the owner, Tracey Rebelo, and her wait-staff to remove all of the pirate-themed elements from the walls leaving only paint and drywall.
Getting to this point wasn’t easy for Rebelo and her wait staff.
In February, she learned of her fate, that her five-year-old pirate-themed restaurant on Georgia Avenue, could be a finalist on the Spike TV makeover show Bar Rescue.
“Obviously, we wouldn’t have accepted the offer if we weren’t in trouble,” Rebelo said.
At this point, she doesn’t have any idea of what the new restaurant will be like until it’s unveiled this weekend, but she remains open to the new concept.
“I don’t want to alienate the client base," Rebelo said. "Our regulars come here because they are eclectic like us."
She said the change has to be something phenomenal to make a difference, but knows she doesn’t want a sports bar.
“I’m intrigued and very interested to see what happens,” she said.
The show is set to air later this summer on Spike TV.
Sonia Dasgupta contributed to this article.
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