Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Bear's Den Pizza - 24 Hours to Hell and Back Update

On tonight's 2-hour season finale of 24 Hours to Hell and Back, Gordon Ramsay is in Conway, Arkansas to try to save Bear's Den Pizza.  Bear's Den Pizza is a pizza restaurant and bar whose owner has a hard time keeping quiet.  While Gordon is there he finds that the restaurant is in disarray due to the owner's drinking and violent outbursts.  He will need to calm the owner and help him find his direction if he wants to save the restaurant.

Let's take a look at some information, reviews, and updates for Bear's Den Pizza since 24 Hours to Hell and Back and Gordon Ramsay made all of the changes to the restaurant (note - all reviews are post-makeover).

Positive Reviews:

  • "Food is surprisingly good for a college bar. Doorman was humorless, and there is a cover charge now."
  • "Fantastic pizza ever since the renovation."
  • "Great atmosphere, 2 dollar well drinks, same great pizza and affordable prices!"
  • "If you're looking for drink specials, a low budget night, or a place that's great for people watching, look no further. Bear's Den is the local watering hole with that great dive bar feel. Not to mention it's been visited by Gordon Ramsey and featured on one of his shows. Historic and grungy!"
  • "We stopped by yesterday to check out the new food and renovation, and oh my. You're in for a shock! We got the Pizza Blanco and spinach artichoke dip, and both were absolutely phenomenal! No, they do not have $5 pizza anymore but the improvements they made are worth paying the additional for fresh food. The pizza dough is now made homemade, and you can most definitely tell. You get what you pay for, and I'll definitely be stopping in again, and bringing all my friends! I'm also not sure why everyone seems to think drink prices have changed, as they're still the same. Also, our waitress was beyond helpful, and so sweet! Good luck, Bears Den! You got this! :)"

Negative Reviews:

  • "After Gordon Ramsey came and did the makeover and I saw a post that they were hoping to get more families coming in I was eager to give it a shot. I can't comment on the food as we didn't get an opportunity to eat. We walked in and met a not so pleasant bouncer checking ID's at 8pm and he insisted that because we had minors they had to be out by 10pm. I said that was fine as we just wanted to try their food. We found a table and sat down. After waiting for 10min or so and multiple waitresses walking by with glances but no comments we left. Had very high hopes as we live in Conway and love Gordon. For the college crowd it looks like they were enjoying themselves but for families or older crowd I wouldn't recommend."
  • "The new pizza was great, but our waitress treated us as if we were hideous alien people. It was fairly awkward. To clarify we are average humans."
  • "Loved it prior to renovation. Loved the $5 pizza, but that is gone now. Going elsewhere in the future"
*Reviews from Yelp, Google

Other News and Links:
  • The 24 Hours to Hell and Back makeover happened in November 2019.
  • Here is the Bear's Den Pizza website and Facebook page.
  • Here is a link to their menu and the Gordon Ramsay items have a picture of his face next to them. (Link)
  • The hours for Bear's Den Pizza are 3pm to 2am every day.  As you see from the reviews, it is perceived as more of a bar than a restaurant.
  • Bear's Den Pizza is very close to the campus of University of Central Arkansas and their mascot is a bear.
  • After the makeover, Bear's Den said they would be expanding the menu weekly. (Link)
  • A local article right after the makeover owner Brad McCray said the menu was "two salads, three pizzas, one pasta dish and an ice cream sundae for dessert" and that it would be expanded over time.  He also said pizzas are now made from scratch in a new, state-of-the art stone oven.  Brad also said that while they are trying to bring in more customers during the day and early evening, they are still an entertainment-driven location that focuses on the night crowd.
  • Here is a 2-minute news story about the Bear's Den makeover right after it was filmed. (Link)
  • One of the big changes made for the restaurant was increasing their pizza price from $5 to $15.  Prices on the late night items such as the alcohol remain the same.
  • Brad McCray also owns another bar/restaurant called Brewski’s Pub & Grub in Little Rock.
  • Here are the reviews for Bear's Den Pizza from Yelp, Tripadvisor and Google.


The reviews for Bear's Den Pizza since Gordon Ramsay and 24 Hours to Hell and Back did the makeover have been mostly positive.  The changes of going from $5 pizza to $15 pizza didn't seem to drive any customers away as they are willing to pay a bit more for better pizza.  Bear's Den Pizza is known as more of a bar than a restaurant and owner Brad McCray even said that they are more focused on the night crowd.  Having better food is hoping to draw more people to the restaurant/bar during earlier hours.  Brad also owns another bar in Little Rock called Brewski's Pub & Grub.

*To see how the restaurants from 24 Hours to Hell and Back are doing, visit the 24 Hours To Hell and Back Updates Page. Also, if you are interested in the restaurants from Kitchen Nightmares, visit the Kitchen Nightmares Updates Page.

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