(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 6 | View All Season 6 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: July 14, 2019
The Bar's Original Name Was: Thunderbolt Bar & Grill
Thunderbird KSC Tavern Address: 8122 NE 69 Hwy Pleasant Valley, MO 64068
Thunderbolt Bar & Grill, later renamed to Thunderbird KSC Tavern, was a Pleasant Valley, Missouri bar that was featured on Season 6 of Bar Rescue.
Though the Thunderbird Bar Rescue episode aired in July 2019, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place a few months earlier.
It was Season 6 Episode 38 and the episode name was “All Blaze, No Glory”.
Thunderbolt Bar and Grill is in Pleasant Valley, MO.
Pleasant Valley is a small city of around 3,000 people that’s part of the Kansas City metropolitan area.
It’s northeast of the city and just about a 15 minute drive from downtown Kansas City, so there are plenty of people around.
Thunderbolt owner Don Gibson has owned the bar since 2018, which means he’s only been in charge for about a year at the time of the Thunderbolt Bar Rescue visit.
The bar has never seen success even though a Ford factory is nearby with 7,000 workers.
You’d think these employees would provide a ready-made customer base (after work of course), but Don isn’t a very hands-on owner and hasn’t been able to make it work.
Don doesn’t even know the names of his employees. Ray, Don’s niece, works at the bar but is overwhelmed and wants to quit.
Jenny McCarthy, the famous actress and former wife of Jim Carrey, helps Jon Taffer recon the bar.
You can see a clip of Jenny and Jon doing the recon in this YouTube video:
Hidden camera footage shows Ray in the kitchen with Salvador, the cook, Amber and Christina, the bartenders, and Gary, the barback.
Don is giving out free drinks to the customers while also drinking behind the bar. He is disrespecting women.
Chef Anthony Lamas and mixologist Lisamarie Joyce put on disguises and enter the bar.
The beer they order is warm. They are then offered a free shot of a beer cocktail.
The spies put in a food order while Gary is disrespectful, and Don gives out free drinks.
The footage shows the food cooking in dirty, black oil and on a workstation covered in germs.
It’s super gross – one of the grossest Bar Rescue kitchens that you’ll see on the show.
Jon Taffer enters the bar and stops the customers and the spies from eating the food.
Don is shown the kitchen, and he says that it is not his problem as he is not in charge of what occurs in the kitchen.
Umm – you’re the owner, dude! You’re responsible for everything that happens in the bar.
He is forced to clean the bar, and Jon tells him to stop drinking while working.
Jon Taffer returns the following day.
Catherine, Don’s daughter, comes to the meeting to remind Don why he bought the bar in the first place – to leave a legacy for his children.
Don is shown camera footage of him taking a body shot, being inappropriate, and arguing with the bartenders.
He changes from a tank top to a shirt with sleeves after Catherine voices her disappointment.
Being Don, there are other issues with the bar, including the staff, that the experts need to fix.
Lisamarie tells the staff they need to work faster and make their drinks tasty.
Chef Anthony tells the kitchen staff that they are violating many health codes.
There is no time for a stress test, so they will do on-the-job training during a lunch rush.
The bar has to throw away drinks.
The kitchen has 25 tickets waiting, but they have not completed one meal yet.
The servers are getting confused, and the phone won’t stop ringing.
Jon Taffer is disappointed in how the stress test went and is considering not saving the bar.
However, he eventually comes around, in part because of a discussion with Ray.
Ray tells Jon Taffer that one day she wants to help run the bar.
Don and Ray have a heart to heart and come to an understanding.
While Jon Taffer and his crew work on renovating the bar, the experts continuing training the Thunderbolt staff.
Chef Anthony Lamas shows the kitchen how to make easy, to-go sandwiches.
Lisamarie shows the bar staff how to make drinks easy with mixes.
As part of the renovations, the bar is renamed to Thunderbird KSC Tavern.
Why KSC? Because KSC are the initials of Don’s grandchildren.
In addition to the new name, the interior has been updated with new equipment and decor.
The customers come in, and the bar keeps up.
Don is working hard and things seem to be looking up after the Thunderbolt Bar Rescue visit.
So were Jon Taffer’s changes a long-term success? Keep reading to learn what happened next and if this Pleasant Valley MO bar is still open in 2023.
Thunderbird KSC Tavern Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the Thunderbird Bar Rescue visit, let’s talk about what happened to the bar after Jon Taffer and his crew left Pleasant Valley, MO.
Things seemed to start off well for the new Thunderbird KSC Tavern.
At the normal six-week check-in with the Bar Rescue producers, we learn that sales at the bar were up by more than 50% after the visit from Jon Taffer, which is a huge increase.
There has been a slight ownership change, though, as Ray (Don’s niece who appeared on the show) has acquired the bar from Don.
Ray kept the name, but added a small tweak to make it her own.
The bar is now Ray’s Thunderbird K.S.C. Tavern.
Is Thunderbird KSC Tavern from Bar Rescue still open?
As of 2023, Thunderbird KSC Tavern is still open and serving customers in Pleasant Valley, MO.
It’s doing business under the full name Ray’s Thunderbird K.S.C. Tavern.
Here’s what the outside of the bar looks like in the most recent Google Maps street view update, which was from October 2022:
In the October 2022 Google Maps street view shot, you can see a sign that says the following:
Now under new ownership!
Come see the new and improved Thunderbird.
Now hiring bar and kitchen staff.
And looking for live music.
I’m not sure if this indicates another ownership change after Ray acquired the bar from Don.
Even if the ownership has changed again, it’s still using the Thunderbird name and concept, so I will leave it open.
Reviews for the bar seem solid as it has a 4.3 star rating on Google Reviews.
However, there aren’t really any Yelp reviews, so I can’t see how it’s doing on Yelp.
I guess the folks in Pleasant Valley MO aren’t big Yelp users?
Anyway, here are a sampling of Google Reviews that were written after the Thunderbird Bar Rescue visit.
5 star review from January 2022:
Absolutely LOVE this bar. Amber is by far the best bartender.
She takes great care of the guest.
And keeps the facility clean.
Love the atmosphere.
4 star review from August 2021:
This is good food for the price and they have pool tables to play pool.
They have daily specials as well as regular menu items.
I don’t quite understand their lunch till midnight sign on the building though i called to order before 11pm (which is when my lunch break is) two times this week once was about 10 mins till 11 and the second was about 30 mins till 11 and both times was told the kitchen was closed.
I work across the street at ford and assumed that 12 was when the kitchen closed since that’s what it says on the building .
Not sure why you wouldn’t try and cater to the life blood that supports you and why your building says lunch till midnight but cant get food at 1030 misleading and should be changed.
2 star review from August 2022:
Stopped in to check it out, very clean and professional!
Met the new owner she had told us they had been doing a huge overhaul on the place.
It looked really good!
Can’t wait to visit again!
4 star review from August 2021:
Great little bar with pool tables but they could use more pool cues
2 star review from February 2021:
Stopped here for lunch, the food was greasy but palatable.
This is a little hole in the wall place good for drinking and smoking.
A real regulars place.
If you’re in the Pleasant Valley, you can learn more at the official Ray’s Thunderbird K.S.C. website.
The website is nothing fancy but it does provide some information about the bar.
If you want to see some other Missouri Bar Rescue episodes, check out these posts:
- BARcode / R.G.’s Lounge update
- Crafted / Van Goghz update
- Badlands Country Nightclub / Longshots update
- City Bistro / The Beechwood update
Thanks for reading!
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Last updated: 2023-01-27 06:11