Reality show rescues Big Mike’s

Several months after the devastating flood of 2016, many Livingston Parish homes and businesses continue to rebuild. Many local businesses here are still struggling to make a comeback. The popular Spike Television “Bar Rescue” reality series which makesover struggling bars has come to the aid of one of the area’s most popular eateries, Big Mike’s Bar and Grill in Denham Springs.

Mike O’Neal, center, cuts the ribbon while, l-r, Parish President Layton Ricks, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungessor, Bar Rescue host Jon Taffer, Denham Springs Mayor Gerard Landry and U.S. Congressman Garret Graves look on.

Mike O’Neal, center, cuts the ribbon while, l-r, Parish President Layton Ricks, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungessor, Bar Rescue host Jon Taffer, Denham Springs Mayor Gerard Landry and U.S. Congressman Garret Graves look on.

One of our employees knew I enjoyed watching the show and contacted the producers, and we were fortunate that they came out to help get us back on our feet,” said Mike O’Neal, owner of Big Mike’s whose home also flooded.

The producers and show host Jon Taffer, a restaurant and bar consultant, put aside other planned tapings to come to the rescue and help rebuild, restructure and reorganize the bar and restaurant – not just restoring it to its original condition but making it even better.

At the start of filming the episode, the Bar Rescue crew came out to a packed parking lot of Big Mike’s loyal customers and fans of the show. Taffer addressed the cheering crowd as the filming got underway.

After a tragedy like the one you have all been through, the one thing is you have is each other. Together we can get this bar open and make it successful once again,” Taffer said to the fans, alongside O’Neal and his wife Jocelyn.

Everything I have learned about Mike and Jocelyn and this place is that the community isn’t the same without this bar. We are ready to go to work! Let’s go to work and rebuild Big Mike’s!” Taffer shouted as the crowd applauded.

O’Neal said, “We knew we had to relinquish control to them and trust their judgment. But from watching their show and knowing that most every attempt they make at restoring and revamping bars and restaurants across the nation is such a huge success, it was a no brainer for us.”

Local contractors came in to help meet the show’s deadlines and get Big Mike’s back up and operating. They accomplished a miraculous turnaround for the business (which had already been gutted) in five days by working large crews around the clock.

O’Neal was ready and eager to finally reopen and put their employees back to work. Almost his entire 35-person staff is coming back to work.

A fan wears a Big Mike t-shirt and takes note of the highwater mark which shows how deep the flood waters were inside the restaurant..

A fan wears a Big Mike t-shirt and takes note of the highwater mark which shows how deep the flood waters were inside the restaurant..

They are rejuvenated, and they are all so excited to come back to everything being so fresh and so new and to seeing so many regular customers return, too,” O’Neal said.

Known for their tasty burgers, signature sandwiches, fish and shrimp and lengthy list of bar drinks, Taffer made only slight changes to the menu, including a few Bar Rescue food items and drinks now available on the bar side of the establishment.

Details:

Big Mike’s Bar and Grill, 123 Aspen Square Dr., Denham Springs. 225.243.5258. Hours: Mon. thru Saturday 11 to 11, and Sunday 11 to 9. Facebook: Big Mikes Sports Bar and Grill.
The “reveal” episode was taped October 16. From new paint, an overall facelift, new tables and furniture and the building was completely revamped. As expected, the sports bar and restaurant have a total of 25 TVs and a 119-inch HD projection screen, all tuned to sports events.

There is one constant reminder of the great flood of 2016; just outside the restrooms along the wall they recreated a dramatic water line marking just how high the ravaging flood waters reached.

After the final filming of the Bar Rescue episode concluded, the new version of the popular Livingston Parish eatery made its much-anticipated official comeback with a “Grand Re-Opening” celebration October 25, and O’Neal welcomed back hundreds of regulars who had counted the days to the event.

bigmikesWe are so blessed and so thankful to be back in business and to be back as a thriving part of the Denham Springs community. We love what we do. We love our employees and we are so thankful for the community’s support and for Bar Rescue,” O’Neal exclaimed.

Big Mike’s rescue episode will air on Spike TV after the first of the year. Watch the Journal for an announcement of the date when it becomes available.

Mike O’Neal, center, cuts the ribbon while, l-r, Parish President Layton Ricks, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungessor, Bar Rescue host Jon Taffer, Denham Springs Mayor Gerard Landry and U.S. Congressman Garret Graves look on.

A fan wears a Big Mike t-shirt and takes note of the highwater mark which shows how deep the flood waters were inside the restaurant..

Details: Big Mike’s Bar and Grill, 123 Aspen Square Dr., Denham Springs. 225.243.5258. Hours: Mon. thru Saturday 11 to 11, and Sunday 11 to 9. Facebook: Big Mikes Sports Bar and Grill.