Pepe’s in Canyon Lake is Rescued on ‘Bar Rescue’

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This week on Paramount’s Bar Rescue, host Jon Taffer visits Pepe’s Mexican Food and Cantina in Canyon Lake, California to show the owners and staff how to make the bar more successful.

According to the episode synopsis for tonight’s episode titled “In the Rough,” “These owners leave their staff to fend off the unhappy customers. Can Jon Taffer show them how to run this bar in Canyon Lake, California?”

The makeover of the bar happened in February 2020, and during the renovation, the bar was renamed to Par Bar. The owners, Victor and Laura Demoreno, purchased the bar, building and land for $2.5 million and were reportedly losing $6,000 a month at the time of the rescue.

Taffer Said Pepe’s Was Uninviting and Bland Before the Rescue

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In the preview clip for the episode, Taffer noted that the bar was “uninviting” and “bland,” saying he knew then why employees referred to the bar as a dungeon.

He noted that the bar did have a large kitchen, though they cooked much of their food ahead rather than cooking it to order. During the surveillance, the owners were watched sitting in an office working and watching security cameras rather than being in the bar where Taffer likes owners to be.

“So the two of them buy this bar, so they own the land, they own the building, two and a half million dollar investment, and they’re losing $6,000 a month,” he said. “So they buy this place, they never come here. And when they are here, Victor watches his own bar from a monitor in his upstairs office.”

He said either they were so wealthy they didn’t care about the bar or something else was going on. There was also food delivered to the wrong guests, and they noted that they were serving non-quality food.

Pepe’s is located in a community that is popular with golfers, and Taffer thought they should be tapping into that market more than they were.

The Updates Include New Decor

Updates to Pepe’s, now Par Bar, include exterior and interior updates including the changed name.

The owners are not allowed to discuss the episode before it aired, but the updates included new decor, updated seating, pool tables and lighting. The new theme has to do with golfing and trying to get more golfers to stop in.

The restaurant is currently open for take-out orders amid the global coronavirus pandemic. Some of their offerings include tacos, quesadillas and tortas. All of the options cal be served with grilled chicken, Asada, al pastor, or shredded beef or chicken. Some of the menu is available to view online, though the official website was down at the time of writing.

The Restaurant Has Mostly Positive Reviews

Since the rescue, the restaurant has plenty of positive reviews, though the majority of them are still placed under the name Pepe’s.

On Facebook reviews, users say that there is great service and tasty food. They have an average 4.1 out of 5 rating based on 392 reviews.

The Par Bar Yelp page only has a few reviews, but they have an average of only 2.5 stars. All three reviews mention Bar Rescue; the one five-star review was left on opening night, and the other two were left later.

One user writes, “Went in thinking it would have been a bar rescued but there was no rescue. Same draft beers, same bar… some wallpaper and new chairs. It wasn’t much of a rescue.”

Another writes, “Not much has changed sadly other than the decor.”

On Google Reviews, Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina has a 4 out of 5-star rating. Reviews since the rescue mention that prices are a little high, and the reviews on the food vary.

One user wrote, “The three stars is for the girls that work the bar … but the food was terrible the Diablo shrimp looked like sweet and sour, the rice and the beans were dry.”

Another wrote, “Steak fajitas were on the oily side. Had a marinade I didn’t care fo. Chicken taco was bland as were the chips. Fries were the only thing I enjoyed.”

Tune into Bar Rescue on Sunday, May 17 at 10 p.m./9 p.m. central on the Paramount network to see how the rescue turns out.

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