(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 7 | View All Season 7 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: September 13, 2020
The Bar's Original Name Was: Armadillo Grill
Brenda's Inferno Address: 1904 E Camelback Rd Phoenix, AZ 85016
Armadillo Grill, later renamed Brenda’s Inferno, was a Phoenix, Arizona bar featured on Season 7 of Bar Rescue.
Though the Brenda’s Inferno Bar Rescue episode aired in September 2020, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place before that.
It was Season 7 Episode 16 and the episode name was “The Mother of All Failures”.
Located in Pheonix, AZ, Armadillo Grill is owned by Brenda Lambrecht.
The bar opened in 1997, which means it’s been around for well over two decades before the Armadillo Grill Jon Taffer visit.
Brenda loved working in the restaurant business so much she opened her own.
The manager, Padrick, and server Virginia say that Brenda lacks management skills.
Brenda’s family doesn’t believe in her as a manager or bar owner.
There have been two dangerous grease fires in there in the past two months.
Jon Taffer meets with Brenda’s family.
Her ex-husband said the bar did not make any money for the first ten years.
The bar played a huge part in their divorce.
He thinks Brenda’s father has put around $500k into the bar.
Chef Ryan Scott and mixologist Mia Mastroianni come in for the recon.
They both say the bar smells of grease.
Virginia, the server, recommends drinks that have a rubber duck in them for novelty.
The cocktail is too sweet.
Beyond that, Jon says the glasses that the bar uses are too big.
There is even a leak in the restaurant over the table.
Brenda has no control of the situation.
The kitchen is caked in grease and bacteria.
Victor the cook, handles raw chicken with gloves, then touches the fryer.
Jon Taffer comes in and shuts the kitchen down.
He shows Brenda what happened.
The owner and the staff stay to clean the bar and kitchen.
The next day the kitchen is clean, and the smell is gone.
The staff then reveals that Brenda doesn’t manage the bar properly.
Jon thinks Padrick from the bar staff is to blame.
The drinks he made were terrible.
Jon is also shocked to find out that there was a grease fire one week before he arrived.
Mia works with Padrick and says he can make a good drink; he just has bad habits.
Victor and Jorge are doing great in the kitchen.
They are very calm, which is rare to see in a kitchen that appears on Bar Rescue.
Chef Ryan says they are fantastic chefs, but they have been held back due to poor management.
Jon calls Brenda’s family together to tell them to stop enabling her.
Mia introduces a new cocktail named the Spicy Mango.
It is spicy to go with the new spicy theme of the bar.
Padrick really impresses Mia with his new skills.
Jon shows Brenda and the staff the brand-new renovated kitchen.
He also has changed the name from the Armadillo Grill to Brenda’s Inferno.
The name obviously comes from the owner, Brenda.
The customers are now able to pick the spice level they want their food to be.
There are also new tables, a pool table, and POS machines.
Everyone loves the new renovations.
It is time for the relaunch, and everything was a success.
The service went well.
So was the Armadillo Bar Rescue episode a success?
Keep reading our update to learn what happened next and how the bar is doing in 2024 and beyond.
Brenda's Inferno Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the Brenda’s Inferno Bar Rescue episode, let’s talk about what happened to the bar after Jon Taffer and his crew left Phoenix, Arizona.
Six weeks after the Bar Rescue visit, the customers love the new food and drinks and things seem to be looking up.
Brenda also kept Jon Taffer’s name and concept and the bar was operating as Brenda’s Inferno.
Unfortunately, Brenda’s Inferno was temporarily forced to close due to the state Covid restrictions in 2020, however they were able to reopen later on.
Unfortunately, the reopening would not last…
Is Brenda’s Inferno still open after Bar Rescue?
Brenda’s Inferno closed for good in December 2021 after 24 years in business, which means it only lasted for a little over a year after the visit from Jon Taffer.
The bar closed because it was unable to financially recover after the on-and-off closures and other effects from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Beyond having to close itself, the bar also struggled with losing business from office workers who were now working from home.
In an interview with a local publication (archived here), Brenda had this to say:
We lost half of our lunch and happy hour business when the Biltmore offices closed and people worked from home.
Sundays have always been good for us, but you can’t survive on one good day a week.
Overall, Brenda said that the bar’s 2020 revenue had dropped by more than 40% when compared to 2019 (before Covid).
While the revenue had slightly recovered in 2021, it still wasn’t enough to keep the bar open.
To make matters worse, Brenda’s Inferno also had issues with its lease on the building.
While the bar’s lease had originally been scheduled to go through 2024, the property owner let it expire early because he was trying to sell the building.
And then for the final nail in the coffin, the cost of ingredients had gone up and Brenda wasn’t able to raise prices enough to compensate for that:
My overhead was just so much higher than before.
I can’t charge $30 for an entree.
That’s just not what we are.
As part of the process of closing Brenda’s Inferno, they had a liquidation sale in December as well as a number of “end of an era” type events.
In announcing the liquidation sale, Brenda posted the following message on Facebook:
After 24 years in business, Brenda’s Inferno/Armadillo Grill is closing it’s doors for good.
Our last day is Sunday December 5th, 2021.
Thank you for your business and your friendship.
The people that worked here and that came in to the ‘Dillferno’ have made the last 24 years the fun place it is.
There are SOOO many great memories that I will cherish.
Wishing you all the best.
Thanks for an amazing 24 years!!
For a while, the old Brenda’s Inferno Phoenix location sat empty.
It was empty through most of 2022 – up until at least October 2022.
I was planning to update this post when a new tenant moved in…
However, there won’t be any new tenant moving in because the old Armadillo Grill Phoenix location has been demolished!
In the most recent Google Maps street view update, you can see that the plot has been completely demolished and all the rubble removed.
It’s now fenced in and empty.
If you live in Phoenix and know anything about what’s happening to the old Brenda’s Inferno property, please let me know in the comments section below.
I imagine the developer has plans to build something new there – I’m just not sure what.
Brenda’s Inferno reviews after Bar Rescue
At the time that Brenda’s Inferno closed, it had a 4 star rating on over 390 Yelp reviews, which is pretty dang good for a bar that was featured on Bar Rescue.
Here’s a sampling of some reviews that were written after the visit from Jon Taffer…
5 star Yelp review from June 2021:
I saw this on Bar Rescue.
They DID NOT DISAPPOINT!!
We were greeted by Brenda the owner.
Such a sweet woman!!
We ordered the spinach artichoke dip, the steak sandwich, the spicy chicken sandwich and the prickly pear margarita.
Every bite was delicious!!
The flavor was on point 100%!!
I highly recommend this place.
We will be back!!
5 star Yelp review from November 2020:
Brenda’s Inferno formerly the Armadillo Grill has had its grand reopening with same ownership and staff after the Bar Rescue name change and additional spicy menu options from the show.
It was great to see the beautiful new interior and taste some of the old favorites (fried pickles) and the bar rescue additions (spicy slider challenge)!!
Brenda, the owner, came out and talked to us and was amazing as usual!
One check it out now that they are open again after having to close for a few months due to Covid.
I happily give it a 5 star!!
5 star Yelp review from October 2020:
We made a trip from Catalina Az just to come eat here.
We saw it on Bar Rescue and wanted to check it out.
We were not disappointed.
The service was awesome our waiter a young blonde man was excellent.
The food was amazing!
We ordered the wings and the steak sandwich.
We also had draft beer and they were exceptional.
The armadillo draft was excellent.
Would recommend it and will be back again!
Worth the 2 hour drive!
1 star Yelp review from November 2020:
Awful. Interior is like some cheap hotel that put lipstick on a pig and added “extended stay” after the name.
Cafeteria food would be a compliment.
Fairly certain prisons have better food quality.
Our server seemed completely bored and uninterested in being there.
Given the times and lack of work available it’s really annoying to see someone blatantly so disinterested in doing the one they are so lucky to have.
The atmosphere is beyond depressing.
It was so drab and adding to an already heavy and sad environment I left wanting to go cry in a dark room.
Our bartender moved at the rate of molasses and like it was her first day.
If I hadn’t seen the bar rescue with her in it I would of believed she never bartending in her life.
The name alone should of told me to stay away.
Armadillo grill used to be so good and a local gem.
Now I wouldn’t send my worst enemy there.
Bar Rescue dug their grave and destroyed an already failing business.
Overall, we didn’t really get a chance to see if Brenda’s Inferno would be successful because it fell victim to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Beyond having to close itself, the bar also lost a lot of its weekday business when local workers worked from home instead of their offices.
What a shame!
As of 2023, the old Brenda’s Inferno Phoenix location has been demolished, so there won’t be any new bar moving in.
If you want to see some other Phoenix, Arizona Bar Rescue episodes, you can check out these posts:
Or, you can also read my full list of all 11+ Arizona Bar Rescue episodes, including the status of each bar from the state.
And if you want to share your thoughts on the Brenda’s Inferno / Armadillo Grill episode, you can do so using the comments section below.
Thanks for reading!
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Last updated: 2023-06-19 05:22