(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 5 | View All Season 5 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: October 9, 2016
The Bar's Original Name Was: Schafer's Bar and Grill
R. Lee's Address: 16202 64th St E Sumner, WA 98390
Schafer’s Bar and Grill, later renamed to R. Lee’s, was a Sumner, Washington bar that was featured on Season 5 of Bar Rescue.
Though the R Lees Bar Rescue episode aired in October 2016, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place a few months before that in May 2016.
It was Season 5 Episode 7 and the episode name was “Listen Y’all It’s Sabotage”.
Schafer’s Bar and Grill is located in Sumner, WA.
If you’re not familiar with Washington geography, Sumner is a city of around 10,000 people that’s located just south of Seattle (and near Tacoma).
The bar was originally owned by Jeff Schafer, which is where the Schafer’s Bar and Grill name came from.
In 2010, when the bar first opened, they were very successful. The bar was doing between $1.2 and $1.8 million in sales per year, which is nothing to sneeze at.
After working at the bar for five years, Jeff sold it to Nita Wyatt and Ryan Burke.
However, even though he sold the bar, Jeff stayed on at Schafer’s Bar and Grill as the manager.
The new Schafer’s owners and Jeff often clash as they have different ideas on how to run the bar.
Nita and Ryan now question Jeff and blame him for the bar’s failure (or at least that’s how the Schafer’s Bar Rescue episode made it seem).
To make matters worse, Nita and Ryan are in more than half a million dollars of debt, which is another big reason that the Schafer’s Bar Rescue episode exists.
Expert chef Aaron McCargo and mixologist David Vaughn recon the bar with Jon Taffer.
The camera footage shows the owners, and Jon gives the experts the rundown on the owners and Jeff’s situation.
Nita joins Jon in the command center SUV. She confides to Jon that Jeff was supposed to stay on for a short time during the handover process, but he hasn’t left.
Bartenders at the bar have to search for recipes on the internet, and a steak is sold for seven dollars.
David and Aaron spy on the bar and order clams and cocktails.
The drink tastes terrible while the clams Aaron ordered aren’t available.
Finally, Aaron and David order a steak, burger, and pork chop.
Nita and Jon Taffer see the kitchen in the camera footage from the SUV. Jon points out to Nita how dirty the kitchen is.
He reminded her of when Jeff owned the bar; the kitchen was not messy like it is now.
David keeps ordering drinks at the bar, but the bartenders do not know how to make them.
The spies wait over thirty minutes for a burger.
Lindsey, a bartender, is sick of David asking for drinks she doesn’t know to make, so she walks out.
Nita meets with Lindsey and tries to get her to stay, but it doesn’t work.
Now Nita is angry and takes it out on Ryan. She makes all of the patrons pay and leave.
The experts go into the kitchen to provide feedback.
Jon Taffer and Nita meet them in the kitchen, where Jon shows Nita all the disrepair and mess.
Jeff has to stay to clean the kitchen with the rest of the staff.
The following day Jon comes back and is impressed with the clean kitchen.
Jeff admits to every he regrets selling the bar to Nita and Ryan, but he denies trying to sabotage it so he can repurchase it.
He complains that as a manager, he has no control.
Jon thinks Nita should place all of the employees on probation, and although she is hesitant, she agrees.
The staff has one day to prove they want to work at the bar or they will be let go.
To prep for the stress test, Aaron shows the kitchen staff how to make a tasty steak sandwich.
The new steak sandwich will be added to the menu for the stress test, along with the bar’s old recipe steak sandwich.
Meanwhile, Ryan works the jigger properly at the bar.
During the stress test, orders are coming in, but the food is sitting in the kitchen window.
One customer has to wait for her meal, and when she tells her server, the customer is notified the item is sold out. She is never offered a replacement.
The test is shut down and it’s time to continue training up the staff.
Ryan and Nita decide to let Jeff go as they still do not trust him.
Jeff accepts the news and hugs the owners as he leaves.
Meanwhile, the experts continue training the staff.
Aaron shows the cook how to make a sloppy joe sandwich in the kitchen, and at the bar, David trains the bartenders on new signature cocktails.
While all of that’s happening, Jon Taffer and the crew have been hard at work on renovating the bar.
As part of the changes, the bar is renamed R. Lee’s after Nita and Ryan’s son.
The bar now looks more high-end and modern, but Nita is unhappy.
She informs her staff that she will rearrange things when the show is done filming because she wants the bar to be a sports bar.
The owners wish for Jeff to come back, but he refuses unless the former name is put back and the sign changed.
Jon Taffer tells them Jeff is not serious about committing to the bar, and he is confident the new theme will work for them.
The customers love the unique atmosphere. Nita seems more happy during the relaunch, though I don’t think that’s really accurate.
So was the Schafer’s Bar Rescue episode a success? Keep reading our update to learn what happened and how the bar is doing in 2023.
R. Lee's Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the R Lees Bar Rescue episode, let’s talk about what happened to the bar after Jon Taffer and his crew left Sumner, WA.
First off, it wasn’t known as R. Lee’s for very long.
Shortly after Jon Taffer left the building, the owners changed the name back to Schafer’s Bar and Grill.
What’s more, we can’t learn how the bar is doing because the owners refused to answer the calls from the Bar Rescue team. So we don’t have any idea of how the sales numbers are doing.
As you can probably expect, Ryan and Nita were not a fan of their Bar Rescue experience.
They claimed that a lot of the dialog/events were staged and that Jeff wasn’t actually as bad as he appeared in the show.
For example, they saw that the Bar Rescue producers removed bottles from the bar, which was why Lindsey was unable to make drinks during the initial recon (and why she got so frustrated).
Given that they showed no desire to implement the changes from Jon Taffer, it’s probably no surprise what happened next.
Is Schafer’s from Bar Rescue still open?
Schafer’s closed some time in early 2020, though I’m not sure of the exact date.
At that time, the bar was doing business as Scorpion Lounge and Steakhouse. This remodel happened at least before July 2019, though I’m not sure exactly when.
Despite the new name, I believe the bar was still owned by Ryan and Nita because some reviews mention that it was a “new look” rather than a new bar.
Whether it’s called Schafer’s, Scorpion Lounge, or R. Lee’s, the bar is now officially closed.
At the time of the closure, Schafer’s had a 3.4 star rating on Google Reviews and Scorpion Lounge had just a 3.8 star rating, so both bars were pretty mediocre.
If you know what replaced the bar at the old Schafer’s Sumner, WA location, please let me know in the comments.
I will update this post when I know more about any new tenants.
If you want to see some another Washington Bar Rescue episode, you can check out our Forbidden Pub / YNot Sports Pub update.
What did you think about the R. Lee's Bar Rescue episode? I'd love it if you shared your thoughts on the episode in the comments below!
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Last updated: 2022-05-24 07:00
3 thoughts on “R. Lee’s Bar Rescue Update (Schafer’s Bar) – Still Open in 2023?”
All comments are the sole opinion of the commenter and are not endorsed by RealityTVUpdates.
Wow, as of 6/22 this episode isn’t even being shown on Peacock streaming. They have S5E6, then just jump to S5E8. I wonder what happened there?
Weird. I’m not aware of any lawsuits or anything with this one.
The owners did claim that the Schafer’s Bar Rescue episode was fake/staged (you can read more in the update above), so maybe that has something to do with Bar Rescue removing it? That’s the only thing that I can think of.
It is now Purdys public house & the food is excellent!