(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 8 | View All Season 8 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: May 8, 2022
The Bar's Original Name Was: JF Kicks
Jimmy's Address: 3345 Lithia Pinecrest Rd, Valrico, FL 33596
JF Kicks, briefly renamed to Jimmy’s in the episode, was a Tampa / Valrico, Florida bar that was featured on Season 8 of Bar Rescue.
Though the JF Kicks Bar Rescue episode aired in May 2022, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place before that in February 2022.
It was Season 8 Episode 19 and the episode name was “Working to Death”.
In this episode, Jon Taffer and his crew visit JF Kicks in Valrico, Florida.
Valrico is located just to the east of Tampa, which is the city that hosted a number of Bar Rescue visits in early 2022 during Season 8.
The official population of Valrico is 35,000, but it obviously can draw a lot more people from Tampa.
Note – the actual JF Kicks Bar Rescue visit took place from Feb 6 to Feb 11 in 2022. You can see the JF Kicks owners confirm this in a Facebook post here:
we are shooting an episode of “Bar Rescue” from Feb 6th until the 11th…We’re not sure what that means yet for our customers and normal service hours but we’ll post that info soon on our page.
The bar is owned by Johnny Spieldenner, who bought the bar in 2019.
That means he’s owned it for about three years at the time of the JF Kicks Bar Rescue visit.
The original JF Kicks owners called Johnny asking if he knew anyone who would want to buy it; and that turned into Johnny buying the bar himself.
You can see a post on the JF Kicks Facebook page about the purchase here. It seems like Johnny was originally planning to change the name of the bar to Lord Bradley’s Tavern, before deciding to keep the original JF Kicks name.
Johnny worked as a contractor before purchasing the bar, so he doesn’t have any direct experience with the bar industry. He wanted to get out of the construction space, which is one reason he decided to go ahead and purchase JF Kicks.
To help make the bar a success, Johnny had the help of his brother Jimmy Spieldenner. Jimmy helped with the original money to purchase the bar and also played a role in running it when it came to day-to-day operations.
At first, the new JF Kicks was a smashing success, as Johnny and Jimmy had almost doubled the sales that the previous JF Kicks owners were able to achieve.
Sadly and tragically, Jimmy passed away soon after due to cancer in ~2020/2021.
The loss of Jimmy was not just an emotional blow, but also a blow to the bar as Johnny was now responsible for running everything by himself.
To help with short staffing, Johnny brought in his 18-year-old son Tanner. Tanner basically had to learn on the job as there was no one there to train him.
Even with Tanner’s help, Johnny is still overworked, which is why the episode name is “Working to Death“.
There’s just not enough of Johnny to go around. Often, he’s working in the kitchen, which means that the bar gets neglected.
Johnny is basically everything from the line cook to the dish washer to the general manager and more.
Tanner and the rest of the staff think Johnny works too much.
Johnny even had stroke at the bar as a result of all the stress, which led to a three-day hospital stay.
Tanner is also working every day with his dad, so both father and son are investing everything in the bar.
If all those issues aren’t enough, Johnny is in over $300,000 of debt, which is another reason he needs the JF Kicks Bar Rescue visit to be a success.
To save the bar and create a more sustainable business, Johnny reached out to Jon Taffer and the team.
To help with the recon for JF Kicks, Jon Taffer had some help from professional wrestlers Britt Baker and Adam Cole. The two are a “power couple” in AEW (All Elite Wrestling).
As part of the renovations, Jon Taffer changed the name of the bar from JF Kicks to Jimmy’s.
The new name is obviously in tribute to the owner’s brother, who sadly passed away around a year before the Bar Rescue visit as I mentioned above.
So were the changes from the JF Kicks Bar Rescue episode a success? Keep reading to learn how the bar is doing in 2022.
Jimmy's Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the Jimmy’s Bar Rescue episode, let’s talk about what happened to the bar after Jon Taffer and his crew left Valrico, FL.
First, let’s talk about the name, because the bar had already switched back to the original JF Kicks name at the time that the JF Kicks Bar Rescue episode aired on TV.
I was scrolling through the Facebook page and it seems they used the Jimmy’s Kicks name until around the end of March 2022.
Since then, they’ve stuck exclusively with the original JF Kicks name.
You can see the owners confirm that they will be using the original JF Kicks name in this Facebook post. Someone asked why they aren’t using the Jimmy’s name and they responded with this:
decided against it…sticking with JF Kicks.
In that same Facebook comment thread, they also confirmed that they’ve made some changes to the Bar Rescue menu:
We have made a lot of changes to the menu over the last year including some of the [Bar Rescue] menu items.
Bar Rescue changed our name but we changed it back.
In the end, it seems like JF Kicks didn’t really love their Bar Rescue experience. Here’s another post from that thread, where they responded about why they went on Bar Rescue if they weren’t going to keep the changes:
The juice just wasn’t worth the squeeze. We thought things were going to go much differently.
In a response to a customer review, they also had this to say:
Bar Rescue was a setback…don’t always believe what you see on TV. Thanks for the great feedback.
They provided even more context in a Facebook comment right after the JF Kicks Bar Rescue episode aired on TV:
our experience with BR just wasn’t a good one. Having them rip out so much of the work I put in over the last 3 years and put in such a bland theme wasn’t what we expected. We are a music and sports venue that serves great food. I loved the tribute to my brother but it just wasn’t a fit for Kicks…
And, yes, I didn’t want my business to make me feel sad every day. I’m sure that wasn’t their intention but I need more positivity going forward.
That whole post includes a bunch of comments about the bar’s experience. For example, Johnny said that he lost $20,000 in missed revenue during the six days that the bar had to close to film the episode. This lost revenue actually offset the benefit of any renovations from the Bar Rescue crew, even though those renovations don’t cost anything.
Overall, the JF Kicks owners don’t seem to feel like they got value from Jon Taffer’s visit.
Despite that, JF Kicks seems to still be doing pretty well.
They seem to have a pretty loyal group of regular customers who are fans of the bar.
For example, the Facebook post where JF Kicks announced the new Jimmy’s name and menu generated a lot of questions from people asking if JF Kicks would still serve their favorite menu items.
Here’s an example:
Not loving the new name or menu. Not sure why changing a wonderful place was necessary. Bourbon salmon was amazing.
And another one:
Yikes! Love you but Y’all are going to chase your loyal customers away with those high prices l!!
However, it seems like JF Kicks did keep a lot of the menu items even when going by Jimmy’s:
yes we still carry our old items. These are in addition to what we have been serving.
Despite all that, the bar did host a Bar Rescue watch party.
If you want to connect with Johnny, you can find his Facebook page here.
Is Jimmy’s from Bar Rescue still open?
As of 2022, Jimmy’s is still open and serving customers in Valrico, FL, though it’s doing business under the original JF Kicks name instead of the new name that Jon Taffer gave it.
The bar is very active on its Facebook page, regularly posting events and specials.
JF Kicks seems to have free live music on Wednesday nights and a trivia night every Monday night.
When the weather is good, they also have live music on the patio on Sunday afternoons. Here you can see an example of the schedule:
Reviews After the JF Kicks Bar Rescue Episode
Despite going back to the original name, reviews for the bar generally seem good as there are more positive reviews than negative ones.
However, they do seem to be having some issues with being short staffed in April/May 2022, which I guess is pretty common for bars and restaurants right now.
Some reviews do mention the Jimmy’s name from Bar Rescue, which shows that JF Kicks did try it out before moving back to the old name.
Here’s a sampling of some of the reviews that were written after the JF Kicks Bar Rescue episode:
5 star review from March 2022:
First visit post Bar Rescue. Subtle changes in decor and menu – all improvements, though nothing drastic. You still get what you see – local sports bar with decent food and drinks. Great service, good live entertainment. Food order took a while, and was less than hot when it arrived, so not sure if was a case of having an over-worked waitress, or she was slow on delivering – suspect the former. Prices, especially Happy Hour, are some of the best anywhere, and you can frequently find a discount coupon online. Will be back, hopefully for hot food.
4 star review from April 2022:
First time at this location. A group that I belong to held their monthly meeting there. Seated quickly, friendly staff, service and food very good. Tables in the main room and bar area , bar seating is available. There’s a patio area as well. They have a stage for live music 🎶 but none played this night. Probably on weekends. Big screen TV s on the walls.
5 star review from April 2022:
New name, Jimmy’s, Bar Rescue went through it, changed name amongst other things, good food, good time
5 star review from March 2022:
Great. I went to the taping of Bar Rescue and enjoyed the beverages and sandwiches. The mahi had nice flavors although it was a little dry; I mentioned to the bartender, so hopefully he relayed that to the cooks.
Our group tried most items on the new limited menu (see picture). All were good. Congratulations to Jimmy’s on the makeover and new name!! Best of luck!
5 star review from April 2022:
I haven’t been there in a while but I can see the changes, used to go there years ago to play poker, I loved the atmosphere, the food was hot and very tasty, we had steak and cheese subs and chicken subs. We ate all of it meaning it was portioned right where there’s no waste or doggy bag, We’re be coming back again, but maybe to join in on some events next time. Hang in there Jimmy, can’t please everyone. Though the bathrooms didn’t change. Haha
With that being said, there were also several mediocre or negative reviews.
3 star review from March 2022:
Not that impressed considering it just went through renovations. Service was slow, tables were dirty (with staff constantly walking past it) and I never saw a host at the host stand. Nice outdoor patio, but it was a little too chaotic.
1 star review from April 2022:
Water down drinks, bad and slow service. Grease cold food. I returned a drink because it had no flavor was watered down and they still charged me for it. The second drink was worse. We just ordered a pretzel and onon rings took almost 40 mins onion rings were super grease and not even crunchy. Pretzel was cold and hard. First and last time going there. Bar rescue can help cosmetically but you gotta have a chef and team to do the hard work.
2 star review from March 2022:
Great little place to grab a drink on s weekend ride. Awesome outdoor seating in the back
***UPDATE: If this is the new and improved “Jimmy’s” I’m not impressed. It took forever to get food and drinks. The food was just terrible. I understand it was just the 3 for $5 Taco Tuesday special 3 of us shared for an appetizer but it was so bad that we didn’t order dinner and left to eat somewhere else. We were so excited to see the new place. All that I saw that was new was a couple of tv’s and some bar stools. Everything on the tables the walls inside and even the menu still says JF Kicks. So disappointed!
1 star review from February 2022 (just a week after the Bar Rescue visit):
We went to Jimmy’s formally JF Kicks on the 18th of February 2022 walked in very nice looking place inside the restaurant. Sign said seat yourself we sat down not the first person acknowledged we where there. 12/15 minutes passed still no one said anything at all. We got up and left made eye contact with 2 of the wait staff neither one said a word. Good luck Jimmy’s John Taffer gives you the tools to be successful it’s up to owners to follow threw. Very disappointing for Valrico.
If you’re in the Tampa area and you want to check it out, you can head to the official JF Kicks website to learn more and see the bar’s menu.
Prices seem fair, as a sandwich will run you between $11-$14. You can also get a quarter-pounder burger for $6 or a half-pounder for $11.
All the entrees are under $20, as well.
JF Kicks also does delivery via GrubHub, Uber Eats, and DoorDash.
Overall, it will be interesting to see if JF Kicks can keep the forward momentum even without Jon Taffer’s changes.
So far, they seem to be doing well. If any thing changes, I will update this post.
If you visit the bar in person, please leave a comment and let me know how it went.
Jon Taffer visited a few other Tampa area bars in the second half of Season 8. If you want to see those other episodes, check out these posts:
- The Loft / Cerealholic Cafe update
- Jerry’s Dockside Bar / AJ’s on the River update
- Crowne Irish Pub / The Forge update
What did you think about the Jimmy's 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: 2022-05-28 08:32