Spike gives Downey's CPR

on Spike TV's "Bar Rescue."
on Spike TV's "Bar Rescue." (Domenico Centofanti)
Posted: July 25, 2011

IT WASN'T EASY for Spike TV's "Bar Rescue" to whip tax deadbeat Downey's Irish Pub and Restaurant, at Front and South streets, back into shape.

In the series' premiere, which aired last night, consultant Jon Taffer grills owner Domenico Centofanti about unsanitary conditions that include rat carcasses that decomposed for weeks above a pizza oven, and food that was left just a few feet away from an overflowing trash room.

Three things we learned from the show:

1 Centofanti admitted he became depressed after his brother Marco Centofanti shot their mother and killed himself in a third-floor apartment above the bar on Mother's Day 2005.

"Since my brother died, everything went downhill," Centofanti said. "I got depressed. I thought everything was going to crumble. I didn't even feel like cooking anymore. I didn't have the ability to do anything anymore."

2 Centofanti makes a lot of excuses, and his employees complained to him on the show that they lacked "direction" and a "leader."

"You're a professional chef. Shame on you," Taffer said after touring the pub. "This is the worst thing I have ever seen in my life. You're either lazy or you've given up."

3 After the makeover, Downey's revenue increased by 15 percent, according to Spike TV. But Downey's owes the city $125,881 in taxes. The pub is up for sheriff sale Aug. 2 to satisfy millions owed to Wells Fargo. That will be followed by a sale of the bar's assets on Aug. 12 for money owed to the city.

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