(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 8 | View All Season 8 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: April 30, 2023
The Bar's Original Name Was: Papa Joe's Sports Bar
Layla's Pizza Pub Address: 12220 Pigeon Pass Rd Suite #VXY, Moreno Valley, CA 92553
Papa Joe’s Sports Bar, later renamed to Layla’s Pizza Pub, was a Moreno Valley, California bar that was featured on the third set of Season 8 of Bar Rescue.
Though the Layla’s Pizza Pub Bar Rescue episode aired in April 2023, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place in September 2022.
It was Season 8 Episode 32 and the episode name was “Long Live a Legacy”.
In this episode, Jon Taffer heads to Papa Joe’s Sports Bar in Moreno Valley, CA.
If you’re not familiar with this area, Moreno Valley is a city in Riverside, California, located due East from Los Angeles.
This episode marks Jon Taffer’s 49th visit to a bar in California – it’s by far the most popular state for him to visit.
Papa Joe’s Sports Bar was opened back in 2012 by business partners Joe Naim and Raja Bachon.
This means it’s been around for over a decade at the time of the Papa Joe’s Bar Rescue visit.
This wasn’t their first business together, either – the duo had also had success with other businesses (as well as some failures, of course).
For example, Joe also had another business named Naim’s Lounge & Hookah Bar, though that closed in 2016.
In addition to Joe and Raja running Papa Joe’s Sports Bar, Raja’s children also work at Papa Joe’s.
Their names are Victoria and Nick.
When Joe and Raja first opened the Papa Joe’s Moreno Valley location, things went very well for the bar.
So well, in fact, that Joe stepped back from the business and retired to Oregon.
Sadly, though, Raja passed away shortly thereafter.
Now, Joe came back to the bar to help Raja’s children, Victoria and Nick, run the business.
In fact, Joe views Nick and Victoria like his own children, so he has a lot of motivation to make the bar succeed.
However, Joe is struggling with helping the business by himself, which has led to conflict at the bar.
Things are starting to break down and business just isn’t as good as it once was.
Joe is also a bit hesitant to spend money on the bar now because he’s the one paying for everything.
Now, despite starting off so well in 2012, the bar is struggling.
At the time of Jon Taffer’s visit, Papa Joe’s is supposedly losing around $5,000 per month.
To make matters worse, Joe is also sitting on over $200,000 in debt, which is nothing to sneeze at.
But beyond losing money, Joe also doesn’t want the bar to close because he wants to pass it on to Raja’s children.
That’s why the episode’s name is Long Live a Legacy – Joe wants to create a legacy for Raja that will survive and thrive.
However, at the time that Jon Taffer visits the bar, it’s supposedly only months away from closing, so there’s a high chance that the legacy won’t be preserved.
To help rescue the Papa Joe’s Moreno Valley location, Jon Taffer brought in Frank Pinello as the pizza expert and Alex Goode for drinks/mixology.
Jon also had help from Mamrie Hart and Grace Helbig, two celebrities/social media influencers.
During the stress test, Jon Taffer leans into the pizza theme and throws away a pizza box every time the bar makes a mistake.
Obviously, that means he’s chucking away lots of boxes haha.
As part of the renovation, Jon Taffer changed the bar’s name from Papa Joe’s Sports Bar to Layla’s Pizza Pub.
The name change keeps the pizza focus, but gives it a fresh new brand and identity to drive the bar forward.
So was the Papa Joe’s Bar Rescue episode a long-term success?
Keep reading to learn what happened next and if this Moreno Valley bar is still open in 2023.
Layla's Pizza Pub Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the Layla’s Pizza Pub Bar Rescue episode, let’s talk about what happened to the bar after Jon Taffer and his crew left Moreno Valley, CA.
First off, the bar did not stay named Layla’s Pizza Pub for very long.
Shortly after Jon Taffer’s visit, the bar changed the name.
I’m not sure exactly when this happened.
I checked Google Maps street view and the bar still had the Layla’s Pizza Pub signs at least as of November 2022 (two months after Taffer’s visit).
However, sometime after that, they’ve switched the name back.
They don’t seem to have gone back to the original name, but it is closely connected.
As of 2023, the bar seems to go by PJ’s Sports Bar on social media, which is short for Papa Joe’s Sports Bar, I assume.
Overall, I’m 100% sure the bar no longer uses the Layla’s Pizza Pub name from Jon Taffer, but I’m not sure if it’s going by Papa Joe’s Sports Bar or PJ’s Sports Bar (or maybe both).
At the time of the rescue, there was lots of comments in a local Moreno Valley Facebook group.
Before I talk about whether Papa Joe’s is still open, I want to share some of the discussion from the Facebook group to give you some behind-the-scenes insights.
Here’s a link to a Facebook post from someone who attended the filming, which includes some behind-the-scenes shots of the episode.
The comments also have lots of insights from locals in Moreno Valley.
Based on that post, the pre-Bar Rescue Papa Joe’s didn’t seem to have a great reputation with locals.
However, while there are lots of Facebook posts about Papa Joe’s in the Moreno Valley group, Papa Joe’s did not post about the rescue on its own Facebook page.
That’s usually not a good sign in terms of the owners feeling like they had a good experience on the show.
Combined with the fact that they ditched the Layla’s Pizza Pub Jon Taffer concept, you can probably guess they aren’t sticking with the Taff-man’s solutions.
Now, let’s get to the most important question on your mind about Papa Joe’s…
Is Layla’s Pizza Pub still open after Bar Rescue?
As of 2023, Papa Joe’s is still open and serving customers in Moreno Valley. However, it’s doing so as PJ’s Sports Bar, rather than Layla’s Pizza Pub (or the original Papa Joe’s name).
The bar is active on both Facebook and Instagram, regularly posting about events and specials.
For example, here’s an April 2023 posting where the bar is promoting a standup comedy show using the PJ’s Sports Bar name.
The bar also seems to offer free pool on Mondays, along with $4 margaritas.
Again, you can see that the bar refers to itself as PJ’s Sports Bar on the promo images for the free pool and margarita deal.
There’s also an official Papa Joe’s Pizza Sports Bar website where people can view the menu and order online.
Here’s the Papa Joe’s pizza menu to give you an idea of the prices and offerings:
Here’s what the Papa Joe’s Moreno location looks like in the most recent picture from Google Maps street view – the picture is from November 2022 so you can see the Layla’s Pizza Pub name on the sign:
However, if I move Google Maps street view inside the parking lot, the picture hasn’t been updated since January 2022.
This lets you see the old Papa Joe’s Sports Bar signage and explore the area:
Papa Joe’s Sports Bar reviews after Bar Rescue
At the time that I’m writing this, Papa Joe’s has two different Yelp pages:
- The original Yelp page, which they’ve renamed to be “1960” for some reason – there was one person who still left a review for PJ’s on this page though.
- A new Yelp page for Papa Joe’s Sports Bar – this one only has reviews for after the Papa Joe’s / Layla’s Pizza Pub Jon Taffer visit.
On the old Yelp page, the bar has an overall 3.5 star rating.
On the new Yelp page, it has a 3 star rating.
And on Google Reviews (where the business goes by “PJ’s”, it has a 4.2 star rating, which includes reviews from both before and after.
Here’s a sampling of a few positive and negative Papa Joe’s / Layla’s Pizza Pub reviews from after the visit from Jon Taffer…
5 star Yelp review from October 2022:
All the pizzas were good and our waitress was very patient and accommodating for a large party.
Hot Wings were top notch as well.
Recently redesigned and it looks sharp.
5 star Google review from December 2022:
I always have a good time watching the Dodgers and Rams play.
Good bar food.
To me, they serve one of the best pizza I’ve tasted.
Great mature bar atmosphere.
Nice bars to hang out after a long week.
Nice mature crowd.
5 star Yelp review from February 2023:
One of the best pizza spots in Moreno Valley!
As long as Joe owns it he knows what he is doing with pizza.
4 star Yelp review from January 2023:
This establishment was packed because of the 49ers versus Cowboys playoff game.
It’s really great feeling the excitement in the air.
Server Maddie was hella quick delivering our beer and whiskey shot.
She also informed us that the chef had lots of pizza orders but to please be patient.
Armed with our pints and a shot, we were happy campers.
Before polishing off the pint our delicious pizza arrived.
It sound crazy but the Island Blue was phenomenal.
Keep up the good work making this a go-to local place.
1 star Yelp review from March 2023:
If I could give 0 stars I would!!!
DO NOT COME TO THIS PLACE!
I asked for a classic margarita on the rocks and received STRAIGHT PATRON, the drink was so clear you can tell they did not even try to make a margarita.
It was DISGUSTING !!! 🙁
After I asked if they can fix my drink the bartender realized the clear drink was no margarita and attempted to “FIX” it by watering it down.
Jon Taffer needs to come back to this place and teach them how to make a margarita.
These people are raunchy and only care about their friends visiting and do not care about their customers.
IF YOURE GONNA COME HERE FOR DRINKS TURN AROUND AND DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME AND MONEY 🙂
1 star Yelp review from November 2022:
Bar Rescue fail.
Went back to their old ways.
Sucks to see a place fail after help.
Staff only cares about their family/friends coming in.
Final thoughts on Layla’s Sports Pub / Papa Joe’s
Overall, Papa Joe’s Sports Bar is still open after Bar Rescue, but it is not using the Layla’s Pizza Pub name that Jon Taffer gave it.
The bar seems to have switched back to the old name almost immediately, as there’s really no trace of Layla’s Pizza Pub online.
Will that turn out to be a good decision? Well, time will tell.
But hey – at least they got a free renovation out of the Layla’s Pizza Pub Bar Rescue visit!
So far, things seem to be going ok under the new PJ’s Sports Bar name.
I wish them the best and I hope that Joe is able to build a lasting legacy for Raja’s children.
That wraps up my Papa Joe’s Bar Rescue update.
If you want to see another pizza-based bar from the show, you might be interested in my update for Gil & Rick’s / Sauced in Largo FL.
If you want to see some other nearby California Bar Rescue episodes, you can check out my updates for Rack’s Billiards / Angel’s Sports Bar in Corona, The Victory Bar / Celebrities in Yucaipa, JJ’s Sports Bar / JJ’s Sports Cafe in Highland, and Derby’s Bar / The Wheel House in Hemet.
Or, you can view my full list of all 49+ Bar Rescue California episodes.
And if you want to share your thoughts on the Papa Joe’s / Layla’s Pizza Pub episode, you can do so using the comments section below.
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Last updated: 2023-05-01 07:47
3 thoughts on “Papa Joe’s Bar Rescue Update (Layla’s Pizza Pub) – Still Open in 2023?”
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I will be in the LA area and will check this place out tomorrow in case they have a viewing party, but it doesn’t look like they are advertising a party and may actually be closed during the airing per their posted operating hours. It’s tough to tell if this is a pizza place with a liquor license or a bar that incidentally serves pizza. If it’s the latter, I’m not sure why they would close at 9 pm.
Since they are not capitalizing on the publicity and changed the name back quickly after the episode, I’m guessing that they didn’t have a positive experience.
The only episode left to air this season in which the identity of the bar is not published online, episode 37, is called “How the Cookie Crumbles.” I’m guessing it features someone named “Cookie.” With 4 bars in greater Boise and 5 bars in greater Denver airing this year, I’m guessing episode 37 is in either North Carolina or California. If you know where episode 37 was shot, I’d like to check it out while I am in the LA area this weekend if it is there. Happy to answer any questions about said venues in exchange.
Unfortunately I don’t have any information about the Cookie episode yet. I would still love to hear about your experience at Papa Joe’s / Layla’s Pizza Pub, though, if you don’t mind sharing. Thanks!
Watch party was called by the staff rather than the owner, at sort of the last minute. I wasn’t there, but the bartender said that they were understaffed as a result of the last minute decision.
This is a regulars bar for sure. Looks like people come to drink and maybe play a little pool. Decent pizza (made fresh) and good bartenders. Regular wouldn’t leave me alone, so I didn’t stay long.
Building is marked “PJ’s.” Only indication of Layla’s is on the sign in the strip mall parking lot.