(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 5 | View All Season 5 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: August 14, 2016
The Bar's Original Name Was: The Wheel House Bar
Derby's Bar and Grill Address: 2860 W Florida Ave Hemet, CA 92545
The Wheel House Bar, later renamed to Derby’s Bar and Grill, was a Hemet, California bar that was featured on Season 5 of Bar Rescue.
Though the Derbys Bar Rescue episode aired in August 2016, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place a few months before that in Spring 2016.
It was Season 5 Episode 2 and the episode name was “Wheels of Misfortune” .
The Wheel House, owned by Jesse Vivanco, is in Hemet, CA. Interestingly, it’s located on Florida Ave, even though the bar is in California.
If you’re not familiar with California geography, Hemet is a city in the San Jacinto Valley. It’s to the east of Los Angeles, near Riverside and San Bernardino (home of Celebrities Sports Grill, another Bar Rescue bar).
Jesse purchased the bar in 2008, which means he’s owned it for around eight years at the time of the Wheel House Bar Rescue episode.
He was an employee of The Wheel House before he bought it, so he knew it pretty well.
The bar also doubles as a skating rink.
The staff members are all former customers who look at Jesse as a father.
Because the employees are all so close, they get disruptive while working.
When Jesse tells the staff to do something, they usually don’t do it.
Jesse is in debt, and the future of The Wheel House is in danger.
Expert mixologist Sean Ford and Chef Michael Ferraro recon The Wheel House with Jon Taffer.
The three men talk about the major chain restaurants in the area and decide The Wheel House needs a way to stand out.
Although the rink is set back, the men agree the signage is good.
The bar signage is poor, and there is no way to tell there is a separate entrance.
The bartenders are being rude to the customers and taking shots.
Jesse witnesses this but allows it. Kevin Undergaro, a celebrity, spies on the bar for Jon.
Jon Taffer has asked Kevin to look for their marketing methods specifically.
When he enters the rink, Kevin orders a pizza.
The bartender has to walk a distance to the kitchen. Food will be cold by the time it reaches the customers.
While waiting for his pizza Kevin converses with the bartender.
She informs him that the bar is empty because it is worn and outdated and has no structure.
A customer orders a cocktail called The Trashcan, and the bartender dumps everything in it.
The face the customer makes after sipping their drink is one of disgust.
Kevin never receives his pizza. The bartender informs him the kitchen is closed when he asks for another one.
Customers are skating on the rink while drinking liquor.
Jesse talks with Kevin and tells him he is only months away from shutting down the bar.
After a woman skating with a drink crashes, Jon Taffer has seen enough and enters the bar.
Jon tells Jesse the bar needs to operate as a separate business.
He also informs Jesse that Ashley, a bartender, and cook, talked bad about him.
After Jon leaves, Jesse calls a meeting and terminates Ashley.
The next day Jon introduces his experts.
Since Ashley was fired, Michael asks Jesse to find a new cook.
To prep for the stress test, Sean shows the bartenders different glass sizes and trains them on what alcohol goes in them.
He then shows them a new drink to take the place of The Trashcan that is strong and tasty.
Jesse calls back an old chef who is trained in making handheld foods.
Jon Taffer shuts down the rink for the stress test as he wants the focus to be solely on the bar.
Ken Undergaro returns and notices the customers and staff really like Jesse.
There is no POS system, and Jesse takes all orders on paper.
The security staff helped Jesse take the food to the tables.
After the test, Jesse calls for a meeting. He apologizes to his team and says he promises to try better.
The next day Jon tells the staff they dumped at least fifty drinks.
Jon wants the skating rink and the bar to work as two different businesses so both can succeed.
While all of that has been going on, Jon Taffer’s crew has been hard at work renovating the bar.
As part of the changes, Jon has changed the name from The Wheel House to Derby’s Bar and Grill.
The name is a play on “roller derby”, which fits with the roller skating rink.
The bar has been gifted POS systems and a printer.
Jon has given Jesse and the staff a lifetime subscription to TVT.
No drinks are dumped during the relaunch.
The printer helps alleviate the long walk to the kitchen.
The customers are happy and things seem to be looking up after the Derbys Bar Rescue renovations.
Derby's Bar and Grill Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the Derby’s Bar Rescue episode, let’s talk about what happened to the bar after Jon Taffer and his crew left Hemet, CA.
Things seemed to start off very well.
At the normal six-week check-in with the Bar Rescue producers, we learn that sales have hugely increased.
Food sales were up by 75% and drink sales up by 60%.
The bar seems to have kept that momentum going.
Is Derby’s from Bar Rescue still open?
As of 2022, Derby’s Bar and Grill is still open and serving customers in Hemet, CA.
The bar also has an official website and seems to be pretty active on its social media profiles.
Here are some of the regular events that they have:
- Live music, including some surprisingly big acts such as Matt Costa
- A cornhole league
- Comedy and open mics
They even have whacky events like an 80’s themed roller skating day, and the roller skating rink still seems to get good use.
Overall, it seems like a pretty fun bar with lots going on, so I’m not really surprised that it’s still open.
Reviews for Derby’s seem pretty good. It has a 4 star rating on Yelp and a 4.3 star rating on Google Reviews, which is better than a lot of bars you’ll find on Bar Rescue.
Derby’s Reviews after Bar Rescue
Here’s a sampling of reviews that were written after the Derby’s Bar Rescue episode.
5 star review from September 2021:
I went to Derby’s for the first time. People we’re friendly the DJ was awesome. The drinks we’re reasonably priced. I really had a good time!
4 star review from 2020:
This was my first time coming here. But the place was cool. The DJ played good music, I liked that you could text your music request and the staff was very friendly. Even the bathroom was big and were kept clean. We went to the comedy show and the comedians were funny but the reason I only gave 4stars was because of the audience. They were disruptive to the comedy show. The comedians were sweet enough to interact but some people made it so that they couldn’t even do the show. Very rude! And I could assume (by what they were hollering out) that they were locals which makes me think if these are the type of people that go to these shows every time I might not want to come back. Too bad too, because the area where they held the show was big and spacious. Almost a 5 star place. I might try it again and hopefully next time the locals don’t ruin it.
5 star review from 2019:
We traveled approximately 65 miles to check out this bar. Owners are super nice and took the time to sit and tell us about there Bar Rescue experience. They still have the food and drinks from the show and they have continued to make additional improvements. The food was good. We would definitely go back there.
3 star review from June 2021:
Good food but staff was distracted by his phone. Drinks were okay but not as good as they could be seeing that this was on a Bar rescue episode!
The only recent negative reviews I can find seem to mention feeling like outsiders, though I’m not sure how widespread that is.
1 star review from June 2021:
My wife and I went in to Derby’s looking for cocktails and bar food. Seemed like a nice place… Pool tables and live music setup. Everybody in the place turned and stared at us with a look that said “Who the hell are you, and what the F are you doing in here?” We turned around and left.
If you’re in the Hemet, CA area and you want to check it out, you can learn more at the official Derby’s Bar and Grill website.
If you want to see some other Bar Rescue episodes from the Los Angeles / Valley area, you can check out these posts:
- Rack’s Billiards / Angel’s Sports Bar update
- The Victory Bar / Celebrities update
- Par Bar / Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant update
- The Palace / Menara update
- Stein Haus / Friar Tucks update
What did you think about the Derby's Bar and Grill Bar Rescue episode? I'd love it if you shared your thoughts on the episode in the comments below!
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And don't forget to check out all of the other Bar Rescue updates.
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Last updated: 2022-05-19 02:16