“Belly Up!” Premieres On Cooking Channel Tonight!

Belly Up

Belly UpChef Eddie Russell believes that every neighborhood needs a great bar, but in the competitive restaurant industry, local watering holes need to get folks to belly up, or they’ll go belly up. In his new series, appropriately titled, Belly Up!, Russell helps distressed bars realize their full potential and fill their dining rooms. I spoke with showrunner Jill M. Williams and she revealed, “Tonight the premiere episode is in Charleston, SC and it is a bar that is rapidly going under. It desperately needs Chef Eddie’s help. And it really is kind of a mish-mash, the food and the décor and it’s just kind of a big old mish-mash.”

Russell is more than a chef. He’s a trained butcher, a former pastry chef and has owned several restaurants in Atlanta and Athens, Georgia. He also believes in cooking from scratch using fresh, locally sourced ingredients, and works as a restaurant consultant specializing in revamping restaurant menus. “This is really what he does, this is his area of expertise,” says Williams. “Belly Up! is about trying to help these bars, because every bar we went to was in a bad way, and Chef Eddie really is trying to help them out and turn things around for them.”

Russell’s 24 hour fix for floundering bars focuses on chopping and changing their greasy, uninspired menus and elevating humble bars into more elevated and more chic versions of their former selves. And naturally, since the show is on the Cooking Channel, the focus of the change is on the food, because “the problem’s in the kitchen,” says Williams. In each episode, Russell focuses on three mouth-watering signature dishes as the core of his renovation. And since Russell’s menu revamps have me absolutely starving, thankfully Cooking Channel’s website features the tasty recipes from the show in case you can’t make it to the bars featured on Belly Up!

Several other shows already reside in the bar-changing sphere, but Russell and Belly Up! focus on the hopeful and positive aspect of the renovation. Don’t look for Russell to mirror Kitchen Nightmares’ belittling host Gordon Ramsay or expect Bar Rescue’s screaming drama. There might be some wariness and resistance at first, but the tone of the show is bright and hopeful.

Belly Up! > Cooking Channel > Mondays at 9pmET, beginning June 16