I was all excited yesterday when planning for our trip to Soul Daddy, the winning Restaurant of America's Next Great Restaurant. For those who did not watch the show, four investors (Chez Bobby Flay, chef Lorena Garcia, Chef Curtis Stone and Steve Ells founder of Chipotle) want to invest in a fast casual restaurant and open three locations: New York City, Los Angeles and Minneapolis. They therefore organize a competition where contestants must bring not only good food but also a brand new concept. They will battle during several weeks during elimination challenges until a winner is proclaimed. The winner was Jamawn Woods with Soul Daddy, a healthy soul food restaurant. The restaurant opened on May 2nd. At that time, I wanted to go, but the reviews were so so: the food was not that great and too pricey for a fast food. I was then thinking that it was probably because the restaurant was new and they needed to adjust. Well, apparently they did not! The restaurant opened on May 2nd and closed in NYC and Los Angeles on June 15th!!! They released the following statement:
"This was a difficult decision for us, as we wanted to see Soul Daddy succeed, but the restaurant simply was not performing as we had hoped."
So, they will focus on Minneapolis and who knows, they may come back. What is sure is that it proves that knowing how to cook or have investors like he did does not make it a success for sure! Good luck, Jamawn, I hope you will do well and come back! I want my ribs!!!