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NY Post
New York Post
24 Feb 2024


NextImg:‘Bar Rescue’ host Jon Taffer dishes on the dirtiest discovery he’s ever made

He’s seen some wild things.

“Bar Rescue” host Jon Taffer dished on the dirtiest discovery he’s made in a bar’s kitchen — a dead raccoon. 

“We’ve opened a refrigerator drawer on a cooking line and had a dead raccoon inside,” Taffer, 69, told The Post ahead of the Season 9 premiere of “Bar Rescue,” which airs Sunday on Paramount Network.

“He climbed into the kitchen one night, and he obviously fell asleep or died there.”

A dead raccoon was found during Season 3 of “Bar Rescue” at KC’s Bar and Grill in Kansas, which had such an infestation that Taffer had to have a pest control company come in first. Bar Rescue/YouTube

Taffer just finished filming his 250th episode of the reality series, where he rescues failing bars around the nation with his signature no-nonsense attitude.

He’s been in so many foul-smelling bar kitchens that he’s devised a method to withstand the stench often brought on by uncleaned grease traps.

“There are some kitchens that I go into that smell so bad, I have to pour garlic on the tip of my tongue and breathe through my nose. And I can still only stay in there for a minute or so,” he revealed.

A common problem he sees is “black mold in ice machines,” he said.

“Because many bars don’t clean the ice machine. So black mold [grows] in it and then that goes into your drink,” he said.

“When they lose money, I get stern. When they get people sick, that’s when I really lose it.”

Taffer, a Great Neck, Long Island native, just finished filming his 250th episode of the reality series. Bar Rescue/YouTube

Lack of oversight from local health departments is part of the reason bars are getting away with such unsafe conditions, said Taffer, a Long Island native who now lives in Las Vegas.

“Where the hell is the health department in these operations? And why do I see this so often in so many different states?” he asked.

“And it’s extremely frustrating. We were in a bar a few weeks ago … every hood system in a kitchen has to have a seal on it to make sure that it’s been cleaned, because it’s a terrible fire hazard. It loads up with grease, so it has to be cleaned every year. The sticker on the hood was three years old. Why the hell didn’t somebody come in here and see this?”

The reality show host said bar owners are grateful for his help. WireImage

“Bar Rescue,” which debuted in 2011, tells many “heartbreaking and heartwarming” stories of family-owned establishments, like one where the owner put in $800,000, most of it his parents’ retirement money, to keep it afloat, Taffer said.

“So he’s burning IRA account after IRA account. They’re out of money. He’s living in the basement of their house, which they’re going to lose in a couple of months,” he explained.

“I come in and rescue a bar like this … and I say to myself, ‘I could never do this to my parents.’ And I lose respect for him. It makes me not want to fight for him. But I’ll fight for his parents’ money.”

Taffer makes it a point to hug each bar owner at the end of every episode, and said that although he is hard on them, the proprietors truly appreciate his help.

“When we hug each other, you can’t hear what we say because our microphones are covered up,” he said.

“The things they whisper to me are unbelievable. ‘Jon, you changed my life. Thank you.’ One of them said to me, ‘Jon, you’re the father I never had.'”