It's easy to assume that a restaurant with nearly 100 years in business has it all figured out. However, that wasn't exactly the case with Max's Bar And Grill (previously Max's Famous Hot Dogs) in Long Branch, New Jersey, which was featured on "Kitchen Nightmares" in an episode that aired in December 2023. Serving up its famous hot dogs to the Jersey Shore community since 1928, the family-owned eatery was just five years shy of hitting its triple-digit anniversary when owner Jennifer Maybaum found herself over one million dollars in debt and worried that Max's wouldn't make it to its centennial milestone.
"Unfortunately, we don't make what we used to, and... the money isn't there," Maybaum explains at the beginning of the season 8 episode. However, that was just the start of her problems. The third-generation restaurateur was also at the center of some serious drama, as she works alongside her ex-husband and kitchen manager, Jake, and his new girlfriend, M.K., whom Maybaum says "walks around like she owns the place."
"It's a power struggle in my own restaurant," she added.
Needless to say, Gordon Ramsay had his work cut out for him when he showed up with the "Kitchen Nightmares" crew to film in June 2023, but if previous seasons have taught us anything, it's that few problems are too big for the chef to handle. But were his efforts enough to get Max's Bar And Grill on the right track to hitting the big 1-0-0?
Read more: The Untold Truth Of Kitchen Nightmares
What Happened To Max's Bar And Grill On Kitchen Nightmares?
Dated decor was Gordon Ramsay's dismal first impression of Max's Bar And Grill, which he labeled a " disaster" after learning about the drama behind the scenes. As for the food? Let's just say he couldn't even get a bite of the eatery's signature hot dog down without spitting it out.
Following a disorganized lunch service filled with long ticket times and inadequate food prepared by an apathetic Jake, Ramsay calls a staff meeting that ends in a screaming match between Maybaum and M.K. The chef points to their behavior as the reason why Max's is failing, but both Maybaum and Jake agree to work together to change for the sake of both the restaurant and their three children. Meanwhile, Ramsay and the "Kitchen Nightmares" team make changes to the restaurant, giving it a complete makeover that also includes a menu revamp featuring a brand new hot dog.
The grand re-opening of Max's sees visits from locals and a few familiar faces, including "Jersey Shore's" Jenni "Jwoww" Farley. Though Jake struggles at first to keep up, he eventually finds his voice and gets food out to customers, all of whom leave impressed and satisfied. The service also sees Maybaum have a tearful heart-to-heart with M.K. that leaves hope for their relationship to continue improving and ends with Ramsay promising to return for Max's 100th anniversary.
Max's Bar And Grill After Kitchen Nightmares
It's been nearly six months since Gordon Ramsay showed up to film Max's Bar And Grill's episode of "Kitchen Nightmares," and even less time since the episode aired. And while some restaurants featured on the series in the past were, unfortunately, unable to survive that period, Max's made it out alive.
The eatery is fairly active on social media, where it advertises holiday events, Karaoke nights, live music, and specials. It even hosted a viewing party when its episode of "Kitchen Nightmares" aired in December, during which they held a taste test between the OG Max's hot dogs and the ones implemented by Ramsay on the show. (Spoiler alert: the original won!)
However, Yelp reviews have been all over the map since filming wrapped in June 2023. On the plus side, there have been a considerable number of 4 and 5-star reviews praising Max's new smash burger, onion rings, margaritas, and, of course, its hot dogs, which one person called "the best hot dogs ever." While feedback has been largely positive, not everybody has had the same experience.
"Super expensive, and the food just isn't good. [The] staff acts like they don't even want you there. Hot dogs were just straight-up nasty," reads one scathing 1-star review. On a positive note, owner Jennifer Maybaum has issued responses to the feedback and, in one case, convinced one negative reviewer to give Max's another try.
Is Max's Bar And Grill From Kitchen Nightmares Still Open?
All that said, we are happy to report that, as of this writing, Max's Bar And Grill is still open. If you happen to peruse their social media pages during the winter months, you may notice a post advertising a "closing party," but don't let this fool you. As with several beach town businesses, Max's Bar And Grill is only temporarily closed for the offseason and will re-open its doors to customers both new and old later in the year.
"We want to thank everyone who came out last night for our last day of the season. We wish everyone a happy holiday and a healthy New Year! We look forward to seeing everyone in Spring of 2024!" reads Max's most recent Instagram post from December 11, 2023. The upload also features a photo of owner Jennifer Maybaum, Jake, and M.K. posing side-by-side with Maybaum and Jake's three kids. Hopefully, their smiles are an indication that the relationship between the three has improved since Gordon Ramsay's visit. As for whether they're able to continue on the up and up to hit Max's milestone 100th anniversary, which the chef promised to attend, only time will tell.
Read the original article on Mashed.