(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 7 | View All Season 7 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: May 3, 2020
The Bar's Original Name Was: Kalaveraz Cocina-Cantina
Sierra Madre Cantina Address: 329 W Felicita Ave Escondido, CA 92025
Kalaveraz Cocina-Cantina, later renamed to Sierra Madre Cantina, was an Escondido, California bar that was featured on Season 7 of Bar Rescue.
Though the Sierra Madre Cantina Bar Rescue episode aired in May 2020, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place a few months earlier at the beginning of 2020.
It was Season 7 Episode 10 and the episode name was “Raging Turkey”.
In this episode, Jon Taffer visits Kalaveraz Cocina-Cantina, a Mexican restaurant and bar.
Kalaveraz Cocina-Cantina is located in Escondido, CA.
If you’re not familiar with California geography, Escondido is in southern California, right to the north of San Diego.
The bar is owned by Juan Magana, who bought the bar in 2018.
That means he’s owned it for about two years at the time of the Kalaveraz Bar Rescue episode.
When he bought the bar, it was originally named Anejo’s Bar and Grill.
However, issues with cleanliness led to the bar getting shut down shortly after he purchased it.
To get rid of the bad reputation, Juan invested over $250,000 in the bar, including $70,000 that he got from his parents.
However, the bar is not doing well and is losing $10,000 per month at the time of the Kalaveraz Bar Rescue visit.
Bar expert Tommy and Chef Anthony join Jon Taffer for the recon.
The camera footage shows the man Juan being dismissive and rude to his staff.
There is only one cook, Jose, even though fifty people are in the restaurant.
Carlos enters the kitchen, the manager, and they see he is supportive.
Jon is trying to figure out what is wrong with the bar.
The experts enter the bar to spy on the service.
At the same time that the experts sit at the bar, Jon Taffer sneaks in and chats with a customer.
The drinks the spies serve taste wrong and do not look right.
Juan and Jon meet, and Jon points out the dirty bar to him.
Jon asks Juan why he thinks the business is failing, and Juan blames his employees, referring to them as turkeys.
That’s not a very nice thing to say…
Jessica tells Jon that the staff has not been paid in over a month, and Juan denies this, telling Jon it has only been one week.
Either way, it’s still unacceptable.
The next day Jon returns to the bar and gives the staff and the owner feedback.
He points out Juan’s rude behavior, cleanliness, and slow service as the negatives.
Juan speaks up and says he is too busy and has to jump in and help out because he lacks staff.
Alyson, an employee, tells Jon that Juan fired all of the former cooks.
Eventually, Juan says he is sorry for the way he has acted.
Tommy Palmer, a bar expert, trains the staff on making a Cadillac Margarita, working one on one with Jessica.
Chef Anthony shows the cooks and Juan how to make a pork dish in the kitchen.
The stress test will focus on serving times.
However, the bartenders, Jessica included, cannot keep up.
Jon shuts down the stress test because he believes the employees need more training.
The next day, training continues with Tommy and Chef Anthony.
The menu is updated with new drinks and dishes.
The bar’s theme will stay Mexican, but instead of being casual, the bar will not be more private.
As part of saving and renovating the bar, Jon Taffer decided to rebrand it to a new name – Sierra Madre Cantina.
A pyramid has been installed behind the bar, and Juan is impressed.
There are new POS systems, a new icebox, and a beautiful vinyl mural.
The customers come in for the relaunch, and Juan is comfortable making drinks.
So was the Sierra Madre Cantina Bar Rescue episode a success, and is this bar still going strong in 2023? Let’s find out…
Sierra Madre Cantina Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the Sierra Madre Cantina Bar Rescue episode, let’s talk about what happened to the bar after Jon Taffer and his crew left Escondido, CA.
Things seemed to start off well, as sales were growing at the standard six-week check-in with the Bar Rescue producers.
Juan also kept the new Sierra Madre Cantina name that Jon Taffer gave the bar, instead of reverting to the old name like a lot of Bar Rescue owners.
Is Sierra Madre Cantina from Bar Rescue still open?
As of 2023, Sierra Madre Cantina is still open and serving customers in Escondido, CA.
They did briefly close for a few months in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, they reopened shortly thereafter in May 2020, so it didn’t slow them down too much.
Here’s a Facebook post announcing the temporary closure in March 2020:
And then here’s the May 22 Facebook post announcing that the restaurant is open again:
It seems like Sierra Madre Cantina closed briefly in December 2020, as well.
Here’s a Facebook post announcing that closure:
But again, now that the Covid-19 restrictions are gone, Sierra Madre Cantina is fully open and seems to be doing well.
Here’s what the Sierra Madre Cantina Escondido CA location looks like in the most recent picture from Google Maps street view:
Food at Sierra Madre Cantina seems to be decently priced, though its pricier than some of the other bars that you see on Bar Rescue.
Here are some of the appetizers on the Sierra Madre Cantina menu, to give you an idea of what the bar is like after Jon Taffer’s visit.
Reviews for the bar seem quite good as it has a 4 star rating on Yelp, a 4.8 star rating on Facebook, and a 4.1 star rating on Google reviews.
The bar also seems to have regular events and activities, including live music and dancing, karaoke, and other standard bar events.
You can see some footage of one of the live music/dancing events on Juan’s Facebook page.
Here’s a sampling of reviews that were written after the Sierra Madre Cantina Bar Rescue visit happened.
Three star Yelp review from March 2022:
The atmosphere is good if your only going to drink at the bar, the lady at the bar is great.
The gentleman that brought the food was awesome.
But the cooks are not the greatest the food has no taste at ALL the ceviche had more tomato than flavor.
sorry need to do better.
Five star Yelp review from March 2022:
So glad I found this place.
Please make a stop if in town and looking for some great margaritas and Mexican food.
TVs available if you need a quick sports fix.
No complaints at all.
Great job Sierra Madre !!!
Three star Yelp review from March 2022:
Not the worst place to go, but service was very slow and there was only one or two other tables.
Food was very bland.
Maybe I’ll give it another try in the future.
One star Yelp review from May 2021:
Continues to be one of the nicest looking disappointments in all of Escondido.
Big TVs and bar rescue didn’t rescue me from the amount of time I had to wait to get an order in not to mention my food looked like it had been sitting under a heat lamp for a while.
Soggy nachos and flat beer that took 20 minutes to order and 15 minutes to come out .
Overall, it seems to be above average, but not blowing people away.
Honestly, that’s fine – you can totally build a success business on just that alone.
If you’re in the Escondido area and you want to check it out, you can learn more and see the menu at the official Sierra Madre Cantina website.
If you want to see some other San Diego area Bar Rescue episodes, check out these posts:
- La Luz / Caribe Nightclub update
- Off Base Bar / Filling Station update
- The Study / Myerz PourHouse update
- Power Plant / Rocks update
Thanks for reading!
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Last updated: 2023-02-12 06:23