Briefs: Jon Taffer at Taffer’s Tavern in Alpharetta; TBS’s HBCU ‘Cash Out’ winners; save ‘MacGyver’ petition

Jon Taffer with Taffer's Tavern franchise partner Gaurav Dhami (right) and his wife Manjari after a ribbon cutting April 13, 2021. RODNEY HO
Jon Taffer with Taffer's Tavern franchise partner Gaurav Dhami (right) and his wife Manjari after a ribbon cutting April 13, 2021. RODNEY HO

Credit: RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com

Credit: RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com

When Jon Taffer opened his first Taffer’s Tavern in downtown Alpharetta six months ago, he wasn’t able to come by for any official opening because he was shooting Paramount Network’s “Bar Rescue” in Las Vegas. The pandemic also didn’t make ceremonial gatherings all that enticing last fall.

But now, with spring upon us, he was able to carve out time to swing by earlier this week, grab over-sized prop scissors and host a ribbon-cutting with staff, local first responders and Alpharetta city officials including mayor Jim Gilvin.

Taffer was in great spirits. He was fully vaccinated and greeted staff and customers with joy. He said business has been strong, even ahead of budget, despite the fact they opened two months late in the middle of a pandemic.

The entire business model was created before the pandemic when there was a restaurant employee shortage and he invested in high-tech equipment in the kitchen that eliminated traditional grilling techniques. He said many of the pandemic-related cleanliness protocols will remain even after it’s over.

The restaurant’s most popular dishes so far, he said, are the 72-hour short rib, a roast beef au jus and much to his surprise, the grilled chicken avocado sandwich. And he said “Bar Rescue” fans are enjoying cocktails created on the show and thanks to an open-container law, some customers will buy them on the patio and sit elsewhere in the vicinity.

>>RELATED: Bob Townsend reviews the food at Taffer’s Tavern

Taffer is looking to open a second Taffer’s in metro Atlanta but hasn’t finalized the location. He is also planning one in Boston.

His next season of “Bar Rescue” starts May 2 and instead of traveling, he stayed in his current home of Las Vegas and tries to resurrect bars that suffered immensely during the pandemic. He said it was a very emotional season.

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Emani Nichols, a 2020 Morehouse graduate in Africana studies, and an Atlanta based video director and multimedia journalist, won $25,000 to pay off tuition debt courtesy of TBS's "Cash Out" contest. He was one of four winners. TBS
Emani Nichols, a 2020 Morehouse graduate in Africana studies, and an Atlanta based video director and multimedia journalist, won $25,000 to pay off tuition debt courtesy of TBS's "Cash Out" contest. He was one of four winners. TBS

Credit: TBS

Credit: TBS

TBS has given out $100,000 to four graduates of historically Black colleges in a “Cash Out” contest promoted by two HBCU grads and actors Keshia Knight Pulliam and Lance Gross.

With so many Black graduates saddled with college loan debt, TBS wanted to highlight those struggles and relieve four of them from some, if not all, of their debt.

One of the four is from Atlanta: Emani Nichols, a 2020 Morehouse graduate in Africana studies, and a video director and multimedia journalist.

“This is a great initiative that I hope sparks a trend in the corporate world to help eliminate student loan debt,” Nichols told The Atlanta Voice. “No one should be burdened for wanting to advance their education!”

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Lucas Till, from Marietta, stars as MacGyver on the CBS drama of the same name, shot in Atlanta and guaranteed a fourth season in 2019-20.
Lucas Till, from Marietta, stars as MacGyver on the CBS drama of the same name, shot in Atlanta and guaranteed a fourth season in 2019-20.

A fan of CBS’s “MacGyver” started a petition to save the show after last week’s announcement that it was going to be canceled.

The rebooted show was shot in Atlanta the past five seasons and stars Marietta’s Lucas Till as the ever resourceful Angus “Mac” MacGyver. The series finale airs April 30. It’s unclear if the producers were given time to craft an actual series finale.

The current target for the petition is 15,000 names. As of Wednesday afternoon, it was at just over 13,500 names.

The petition cited the show’s support of diversity, solid story lines and decent ratings. It also noted that the show has survived despite perceived “lack of promotion, a Frankenstein season and showrunner changes.”

It noted: “We won’t go down without a fight!”

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