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'Bar Rescue' crew preps Edenton restaurant to soar

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Vic Vegas (right), a consultant with the Spike network's "Bar Rescue" reality TV show, talks with Rose Tummarello (middle), owner of the restaurant at Wharf Landing, and her chef, Heather Mitchell, about the bar's menu in Edenton, Friday, July 15, 2016. Vegas was in Edenton Friday and today helping Tummarello ensure her restaurant, which opens later this month, gets off to a good start.

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Reggie Ponder
Chowan Herald

Friday, July 15, 2016

EDENTON — Rose Tummarello is getting some top-notch help ensuring that her new restaurant venture at Wharf Landing starts off strong.

Tummarello, whose experience in the food and hospitality industry includes a stint at Scotch Hall in Bertie County, has called on the “Bar Rescue” crew from TV’s Spike network to help her and her staff do things right from the very beginning.

The restaurant, located near the Chowan River Bridge on the Chowan side at Wharf Landing, is slated for a “very soft opening” on Saturday, July 23, Tummarello said. She envisions a grand opening sometime in August.

Helping Tummarello get off on the right foot are the consultants featured in “Bar Rescue,” the reality TV series that premiered in 2011. But unlike the scenarios that play out on the show, in which the crew comes in to salvage a bar that has run into trouble, this part of the company's business focuses on getting things squared away on the front end. Actually, it’s more like “Bar Disaster Prevention” than “Bar Rescue.”

Vic Vegas, known as Chef Vic, said he enjoys working with startup bars and restaurants.

“The great part of it is it gives us a chance to be with them from the beginning,” Vegas said.

With this kind of advance planning, he said, a restaurant can “start out great and just keep getting better.”

Vegas said the work that the consultants do with startups, which is focused on getting off to a great start, is the basis for the “repair, re-brand and revive” work that they do on “Bar Rescue.”

“What we do is build on this,” he said of the startup consulting. “We know how to get you started and we know how to get you back on track.”

When a “Bar Rescue” crew goes into a restaurant or bar it’s typically to take apart what already is in place in order to rebuild it, Vegas said. But in the case of a new restaurant, he said, “nothing wrong has happened – this is the start of something new.”

Tummarello said she had wondered why some previous restaurants in the same location as Wharf Landing had not been more successful. She said she wanted to be sure she was doing everything she could to ensure her own venture was a success.

And when she caught an episode of “Bar Rescue” on TV she knew she had found just what she was looking for.

“I watched the show once and said, 'this is what I need – the experts,’” Tummarello said.

Although a number of consultants work with “Bar Rescue” clients, Vegas said the entire process comes back to the overall vision of Jon Taffer, the show’s featured star.

Vegas said he himself has experience in restaurants, catering, food distribution and in what he called “the science of the whole industry.”

In working with Tummarello and her staff, he is going over all aspects of operating a restaurant, he said. He was only in town Friday and Saturday, so as much as possible was packed into each day.

“We're going to have all the tools in the shed,” Vegas said.

He said the goal is not only to attract customers to the restaurant but to keep them coming back.

“Rule number one is to get them in,” Vegas said. “Rule number two is to keep them.”

Tummarello’s restaurant will feature a “well-rounded menu” of American cuisine, he said.

Vegas, a native of New York, said his visit to Tummarello’s restaurant on Friday and Saturday was his first visit to northeastern North Carolina.

He has met a lot of very nice people, he said, “and it turns out that this southern hospitality I've been hearing about is all true.”

Tummarello said she’s loved having Vegas’ team in Edenton. She said she's glad she made the decision to get expert advice right from the start.

“Bar Rescue” provides its consulting work for startups on a fee basis, and Tummarello considers it very much worth it. She said she would recommend the firm to anyone planning to open a restaurant.

Even after the “Bar Rescue” crew packs up and leaves, Vegas said he stays in touch.

“After I leave I'm still always here for these people,” he said.

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