In a two-hour episode, Chef Gordon Ramsay and the crew of Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back rescued both Bear’s Den Pizza in Conway, Arkansas and South Boulevard in Little Rock.
In the episode synopsis, Bear’s Den is described as a pizza restaurant and college bar that is in trouble because of one owner’s drinking and violent outbursts and the other owner’s inability to be at the restaurant to help the staff.
Bear’s Den Restaurant is located near the University of Central Arkansas. The general manager, Jonathan Phelps, told ABC 7 that he hoped the renovations and new menu would bring in a new demographic to the bar mostly during the day.
“Overall, our nightlife scene is going to remain the same,” he said. “It’s more about bringing people in earlier in the day. We want to be able to bring in a decent dinner crowd and serve them high-quality food and keep our nightlife basically the same.”
Ramsay Redid the Menu and Renovated the Dining Room
While the goal is still to bring in a college crowd for late-night entertainment and drinks, owner Brad McCray told Arkansas Online that Bear’s Den hopes to bring in more business for dinner and hopefully for lunch as well once they expand their hours.
Some changes that were made included replacing beer cans and vinyl booths with more modern furniture and rustic elements like a wooden bar. The bathrooms, which were “the worst,” according to McCray, were also redone on the women’s side during the show with hopes to later update the men’s room.
The menu was completely redone, and everything about the pizzas being served changed thanks to Ramsay. Instead of anything store-bought or frozen, Bear’s Den updated their menu to serve only from-scratch pizzas including the dough and sauces. They also got a state-of-the-art stone oven for cooking their pizzas.
Something that remains the same even with the renovations and updates is the nighttime entertainment. On Mondays, Bear’s Den features a “Pub Poll,” on Tuesdays there is live music, Wednesday is open mic night, Thursday and Saturdays are for trivia, and Fridays and Saturdays both feature Karaoke. On Sundays, they offer free poker events.
The menu has been expanded since Ramsay’s visit, but still features classics like Pizza Dip as an appetizer, Chicken Caesar Salads, an array of pasta dishes, and all types of pizzas from cheese and pepperoni to chicken fajita and buffalo chicken. The menu is available to view online.
Reviews For Bear’s Den Are Positive
Reviews on all the major review sites, like Trip Advisor, Google Reviews and Facebook, are mostly positive for Bear’s Den. On Facebook, the restaurant has a rating of 4.4 out of 5 based on 231 reviews. Four of those reviews have been placed since the renovation.
On Google, there are 283 total reviews for a rating of 4.2 stars out of five. One reviewer mentions Ramsay in their comments.
“If you’re looking for drink specials, a low budget night, or a place that’s great for people watching, look no further,” they wrote. “Bear’s Den is the local watering hole with that great dive bar feel. Not to mention it’s been visited by Gordon Ramsay and featured on one of his shows. Historic and grungy!”
There is only one review on Yelp since the renovation, and it is a two-star review that mentions Ramsay’s makeover and the restaurant’s efforts to get more families to come in. The reviewer wrote they went in with their family and sat at a table, then waited for ten minutes and were not approached by a server. “Had very high hopes as we live in Conway and love Gordon,” they wrote.