(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 8 | View All Season 8 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: December 4, 2023
Max's Bar and Grill Address: 25 Matilda Terrace, Long Branch, NJ 07740
Max’s Bar and Grill was a Long Branch, New Jersey restaurant featured on Season 8 of Kitchen Nightmares.
Though the Kitchen Nightmares Max’s Bar and Grill episode aired on TV in December 2023, the actual visit from Gordon Ramsay happened in June 2023.
It was Kitchen Nightmares Season 8 Episode 9, though it originally aired as part of a two-episode season finale along with the Diwan Indian restaurant.
In this episode, Gordon Ramsay heads to Max’s Bar and Grill in Long Branch, New Jersey.
Long Branch is a beachside community, located right on the Atlantic Ocean.
It’s kind of in between New York City and Philadelphia, though slightly closer to New York City.
It’s also right to the North of Asbury Park, which is where Bruce Springsteen got his start (if you’re a fan of the Bruce).
Max’s Bar and Grill is located very near to the beach, though it doesn’t quite have an ocean view.
Because it’s in a beach town, it’s obviously going to rely on tourism a lot and have to deal with a lot of seasonality.
During the summer, times can be good.
But during the winter, things can be a bit leaner.
The restaurant has a very storied history in Long Branch.
It was originally opened all the way back in 1928.
At that time, it was known as Max’s Famous Hot Dogs.
However, the original “Max” (Max Altman) was bought out by his business partner (Milford Maybaum) in 1950.
Since then, the restaurant has stayed in the Maybaum family for multiple generations.
Jennifer Maybaum, the current owner at the time of the Kitchen Nightmares episode (pictured above), rebranded it from Max’s Famous Hotdogs to Max’s Bar and Grill in 2018.
Again, it’s a bit of an institution in the area.
For example, in 1995, the Governor of New Jersey said the following:
Democrats and Republicans are in agreement on very few issues, but we can all concur that Max’s in Long Branch serves the most outstanding hot dogs in New Jersey.
The actual Max’s Gordon Ramsay visit happened from June 20 to June 24, as evidenced by this post on the Max’s Facebook page.
That makes June 25th the first day that the restaurant was operating under Gordon Ramsay’s principles.
The restaurant posted about re-opening after its renovation on its Facebook page.
They highlighted the “fresh makeover” and “some new menu items”.
Because I’m writing this a day before the episode airs on TV, I can’t add a more detailed episode recap yet.
Once I watch the episode, I will update this part with more information about what happened on the show.
I’m sure that Gordon Ramsay went in there and fixed a bunch of issues, while also giving Max’s Bar and Grill some renovations and a new menu (that’s probably smaller than the previous menu).
I did find this great shot of Gordon Ramsay examining a hotdog in the promo video:
This was followed by Gordon spitting out the hotdog.
Based on that, it seems like Max’s Bar and Grill might have some issues with its food, which is pretty par for the course for the show.
Still, given that it used to be known as Max’s Famous Hotdogs, you’d think that they would make a mean hotdog.
So – was the Kitchen Nightmares Max’s Bar and Grill episode a long-term success?
Keep reading to learn what happened next and if this Long Branch restaurant is still open in 2024.
Max's Bar and Grill Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the Max’s Kitchen Nightmares visit, let’s talk about what happened to the restaurant after Gordon Ramsay and his crew left Long Branch, New Jersey.
I’ll start with the most important question on your mind and then get into some more in-depth details, such as a look at the restaurant’s reviews from after Gordon’s visit.
But first, I always like to see if the restaurant hosts a watch party for its Kitchen Nightmares episode, as that gives a good indicator of how they felt about the experience.
Max’s Bar and Grill did indeed host a watch party for its episode, which is a good sign.
Now, let’s get into the update in more detail…
Is Max’s still open after Kitchen Nightmares?
As of 2023, Max’s Bar and Grill is still open and serving customers in Long Branch, NJ.
What’s more, reviews from after Gordon’s visit are generally more positive than from before.
I’ll share some real examples of reviews below.
During winter months, the restaurant has limited openings because that’s the low season.
For now, Max’s Bar and Grill seems to only be open from Thursday to Sunday.
However, once summer rolls around again and people are going to the beach, I imagine they’ll be open every day of the week again.
The restaurant is very active on its Facebook page, regularly posting about events and specials.
They seem to have live music fairly regularly, as well as being involved in local events.
Here’s an example of a live music poster from November:
And here’s an example of them hosting a Toy Drive for the community, which is a really nice thing to do.
They also seem to have regular “bar” events that you’d see at other places.
For example, they have karaoke nights sometimes, though I’m not sure if that’s a regular thing or not.
Here’s a flyer for the Max’s Bar and Grill Halloween karaoke party.
There’s also an official Max’s Bar and Grill website that shares more information about the restaurant, including the menu.
Here’s a direct link to the Max’s Bar and Grill menu and I’ve also added a screenshot of the hot dog menu below to give you an idea of prices and what’s on offer:
Here’s what the Max’s Bar and Grill Long Branch NJ location looks like in the most recent picture from Google Maps street view…
The picture hasn’t been updated since November 2021, so it doesn’t show any Kitchen Nightmares changes.
However, I’m including the street view embed so that you can explore the area around the restaurant and see how close it is to the beach.
Max’s Bar and Grill reviews after Kitchen Nightmares
Next, let’s take a look at some Max’s Bar and Grill reviews to give you an idea of how customers feel about the restaurant.
Overall, Max’s Bar and Grill’s reviews are not as good as some of the other restaurants from this season.
The restaurant has just a 3.3 star rating on 174+ Yelp reviews.
On Google, it’s a little bit better, with a 4.0 star rating on 580+ reviews.
Both of those numbers include reviews from both before and after the Gordon Ramsay Max’s Bar and Grill visit.
Given that, you’re probably more interested in whether reviews have improved after Gordon made his changes.
Well, since we know that Gordon finished filming on June 24th, I was able to zero-in on reviews that were written after the Kitchen Nightmares changes.
On Yelp, there have been six reviews written after the visit at the time that the Max’s Kitchen Nightmares episode aired on TV.
And – great news! They’re generally more positive than the reviews from before Gordon Ramsay.
Five of them are positive and one is an average three stars.
Overall, the average rating on those six post-Kitchen Nightmares Yelp reviews is 4.2 stars, which is much better than before.
I didn’t do the math on Google reviews, but the recent reviews there also seem to generally be positive.
Here’s a sampling of a few reviews that were written after the Max’s Gordon Ramsay visit, to give you an idea of what people are saying…
5 star Yelp review from June 2023:
Hotdogs are awesome, service was amazing.
Love this place!!
Small changes from the recent renovation – looks great.
5 star Google review from August 2023:
Food is delicious, hot wings were amazing and of course the hot dogs.
Love bringing my family here when we go down the shore.
Kid-friendliness: The staff was so sweet to my 2 year old son, the kids hot dog was perfect for him
5 star Yelp review from July 2023:
I had their new smash burger & onion rings and both her fantastic.
I also ordered a margarita on the rocks and it was honestly the best I ever had.
My sister got nachos ( vegan-ized) and they were very accommodating.
The owner Jennifer is an absolute doll and lovely to chat with.
So glad to have such a great spot in town with so much history and yummy food.
I also really like how they are evolving with the times and offering new items every day and also have a fun outdoor seating option.
Go check them out!!
4 star Yelp review from July 2023:
I’ve spent a long time in Long Branch, but I had never actually been to Max’s.
We decided to pop in for a quick lunch and we were not disappointed.
The drink choices were plenty and the bartender/waitress was wonderful.
The hot dog was definitely better than another local hot dog establishment.
My chicken burger was as good, even though I don’t really liked grilled chicken.
The elote corn was were it went wrong.
The combo of flavors tasted like canned spaghetti-io’s.
That’s the only thing I would not recommend.
My dining partner didn’t like the fries, but I though they were ok.
Overall if someone said let’s go to Max’s, I’d definitely join.
Of course, it’s not all positive.
On Google, there were also some negative reviews from after Gordon’s visit.
Here are a few examples…
1 star Google review from August 2023:
This place was a family favorite for over three decades.
They changed the decor the quality of the food and staff.
The famous max hot dog looks like it is on keto and is now $9 and the fresh south jersey corn not here!
Frozen water logged ears!
Sorry to see it like this
1 star Google review from July 2023:
The staff were kind, but the food was outrageously bad.
I got the nachos and cheese fries and neither were worth the money for how bland they were.
The person I was with got a burger and it was almost burnt.
Never coming back
Final thoughts on Max’s restaurant
Unlike some of the other restaurants from the show, Max’s Bar and Grill has a very long history.
Since its start as Max’s Famous Hotdogs, it’s been around for almost a century at this point.
That definitely gives it an advantage when it comes to staying open.
Unfortunately, the reviews for the restaurant weren’t great, which gives me pause about its prospects going forward.
However, the reviews seem to have improved after Gordon’s visit.
If Jennifer and co. can keep up those quality reviews while building on the restaurant’s history, I think that this one can definitely stay open and be a Kitchen Nightmares success story.
That wraps up my Max’s Kitchen Nightmares update.
If you want to see some other nearby New Jersey Kitchen Nightmares episodes, you also might be interested in my updates for Mike and Nellie’s in Oakhurst, Hannah and Mason’s in Cranbury, and Blackberry’s in Plainfield.
Or, if you want to see another beach town episode, you also might be interested in my update for Barefoot Bob’s in Hull MA.
You also might be interested in my Diwan Indian restaurant update, which also aired as part of the two-hour Season 8 finale.
And if you want to share your thoughts on the Max’s Bar and Grill episode, you can do so using the comments section below.
As always – thanks for reading!
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Last updated: 2023-12-05 08:19