(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 6 | View All Season 6 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: July 29, 2018
The Bar's Original Name Was: Fatballs Sports Bar
The Bayou Address: 7475 103rd St Jacksonville, FL 32210
Fatballs Sports Bar, later renamed to The Bayou, was a Jacksonville, Florida bar that was featured on Season 6 of Bar Rescue.
Though the Fatballs Bar Rescue episode aired in July 2018, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place long before that in the beginning of 2018.
It was Season 6 Episode 20 and the episode name was “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fatballs”.
Fatballs Sports Bar and Grill is in Jacksonville, FL. The bar is also spelled Fat Balls Sports Bar sometimes.
I have to say, this is one of the worst names of any bar that I’ve seen on Bar Rescue.
If you agree or disagree, let me know in the comments.
The Fatballs owners are Tony and Nagwa Azer.
After the couple met and married in Egypt, they moved to America and opened the restaurant in 2015.
That means they’ve had the bar for around three years at the time of the Fatballs Bar Rescue visit.
Rumors of poor service and a disgusting name have led to no customers. Miss.
Bonnie, a former manager, tells Bar Rescue she doesn’t understand what the name has to do with being a sports bar.
Tony doesn’t take accountability for his actions, and the staff is immature and inexperienced.
He also believes how he runs the restaurant will make him successful even though all he does is yell.
One of the bartenders, Krista, doesn’t understand why the bar isn’t functioning after being open for two and a half years.
The owner’s marriage is failing due to the stress of Fatballs.
The owners are in severe mounting debt.
Chef Jason Santos and bar expert Emily DiLisse join Jon Taffer to help with the rescue.
Emily tells Jon that the bar’s name is a turn-off and would stop her from going into the bar for a drink.
The bar has a nice sized cooking space and bar which impresses Jon.
The bar, though, is empty.
The bartenders at Fatballs are Kristen and Asia.
The servers are Precious and Lexi, with cooks Eric and John in the kitchen.
Jon notices one of the cooks is wearing headphones.
Inside the bar, the staff is playing a game of pool while others apply their makeup since the bar is empty.
Since there are no customers, Jon Taffer enters the bar and orders food and beverages for ten people.
He threatens everyone with their jobs.
Kristen is hopeful when Jon enters the bar.
Jon asks Tony if he thinks his bartenders will be able to perform well, but Tony says no.
Jon asks Tony if that is his fault, and he says he is too busy to train his staff.
Jon orders one of the dishes is called The Blue Balls Burger (lol!), and Jon doesn’t think a woman would ever order that burger.
Personally, I try to always avoid blue balls, so I’m not sure if I would order it either.
Jon and Nagwa taste the ten drinks served and deem eight out the bad.
The cooks are struggling with the kitchen.
Finally, Tony admits what he is doing isn’t working well, and Jon tells him to start managing Fat Balls.
The staff brings Jon his food orders out one at a time, and when Jon tells them he would rather have them all at once, the cook says he will not rush with a big order.
When Jon Taffer asks where his food is, John the cook tells him to be patient.
Since Jon Taffer thinks he was disrespected, he wants John the cook fired.
At first, Tony hesitates, but eventually he does fire John the cook.
In the kitchen, Jon Taffer sees overcooked food and unsafe practices.
Jon calls Tony lazy and makes him clean the kitchen.
The next day, Jon gathers the owners and staff to find out why the bar is failing.
Jon reads online reviews of the bar, and they are all bad.
They mention things like service and organization as issues.
Bonnie, a former manager, comes in, and although the staff says she was hard to work with, she was a great manager.
Tony says he had lost his passion when he opened the bar.
Jon tells Tony to channel that anger and make it motivated.
Now, it’s time to start improving the bar and getting it back on track.
Emily trains the bartenders on how to make a cocktail the right way.
She also teaches them how to make their drinks with less syrup.
Jason trains the kitchen staff on seafood dishes.
The stress test begins.
Within 15 minutes, orders had piled in.
The food and drinks are being sent back by customers.
You know how it usually goes when it comes to stress tests on Bar Rescue.
Let’s move to the renovations…
As part of the changes, Jon decides to change the theme of the bar to New Orleans.
It goes without saying that Jon Taffer wants to ditch the weird Fat Balls name.
Tony and Nagwa meet with Jon at their home, and he tells Tony he needs to start being a leader.
The bar is renamed to The Bayou to go with the New Orleans them.
The bar looks more modern, and they are gifted a new POS system.
Tony is not yelling at the staff. The night is a success.
So was the Fat Balls Bar Rescue episode a success? Keep reading our update to learn what happened next and if this Jacksonville, FL bar is still open in 2023 and beyond.
The Bayou Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the Bayou Bar Rescue visit, let’s talk about what happened after Jon Taffer and his crew left Jacksonville, FL.
To start things off, Tony had hired a new GM and beefed up the kitchen crew.
However, he didn’t keep all of the changes from Jon Taffer.
Shortly after the visit, Tony changed the bar’s name back to Fatballs Sports Bar.
He said that he was missing out on sales because people thought Fatballs was closed (instead of just rebranded).
There were also some other issues because some paperwork and licenses were still under the Fatballs name.
The bar also had some other issues…
For example, in March 2018, the bar was cited for “more than 100 hard and dry rodent droppings, raw food stored over cooked food, accumulation of mold, and no proof of required state employee training”.
Additional inspections a few days later found more rodent droppings on multiple times.
The bar was closed from March 10 until March 12, when it was able to reopen.
You can find an article about these issues in the Jacksonville Business Journal.
Because these issues happened in March 2018, they were before the Bayou Bar Rescue episode aired on TV, but a few months after the actual visit from Jon Taffer.
So was The Bayou able to get its act together and keep going?
Unfortunately, the answer is no…
Is The Bayou from Bar Rescue still open?
The Bayou closed in May 2019, which was a little less than a year after the Bayou Bar Rescue episode aired on TV and around 17 months after the actual visit from Jon Taffer.
At that time, The Bayou was doing business under the original Fatballs name, as they had ditched the new name from Jon Taffer (as I mentioned above).
The recent Yelp reviews for the bar actually seemed pretty positive, so it’s a shame that it closed.
While there weren’t a lot of reviews, all of the post-Bar Rescue Yelp reviews were either 4 or 5 stars.
Here’s a sampling of Fatballs Sports Bar reviews that were written after the visit from Jon Taffer…
4 star Yelp review from May 2018:
So far so good. I read that this place was closed at one point in time but Bar Rescue came in and updated the once “Dive Bar” status.
I will say the steamed oysters, shrimp, and garlic butter wings were decent.
The customer service is good and the owner/bartender aims to please.
Because I’m new to Jacksonville I have no idea what this place was like before but I can say, from what I experienced tonight, Fatballs is going in the right direction.
There’s a live DJ who is jammin’ and there are pool tables here as well.
It’s a cool spot to eat, chill, shoot pool, and dance.
5 star Yelp review from February 2018:
Ok the TVshow “Restaurant Rescue” came in and revamped the place it is AWESOME!!!!!
Food has changed and is Excellent!!!
Oysters are .60 cents a piece!!!!
Make sure to get the ones with garlic butter sauce!!!!!!
However, there were some negative reviews as well, such as this lengthy 1 star review from November 2018:
As of 2023, the old The Bayou Jacksonville, FL location is occupied by a karaoke bar named Jam’s Karaoke Bar & Restaurant.
Reviews for the new bar seem pretty good as it has a 4.9-star rating on Google Reviews.
So while there are no more fat balls there, the old The Bayou Jacksonville location will at least be serving up some sweet tunes in the form of karaoke.
Here’s a Google Maps street view shot that shows the new bar at the Fatballs Jacksonville location:
If you want to see some other Jacksonville, Florida Bar Rescue episodes, you can check out these posts:
- Sydney / Bluewater Oyster Bar update (Jacksonville Beach, FL)
- Cap N Odies update (Atlantic Beach, FL)
- Phish Tales / Phish Heads update (Lake City, FL)
Or, check out my page that lists all of the bars in Florida that Jon Taffer visited, if you want to see even more Florida episodes.
Thanks for reading!
What did you think about the The Bayou 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: 2023-02-13 06:32