Soul Daddy, America's Next Great Restaurant winner, shutters final location

Categories: The Dish

soul-daddy-americas-next-great-restaurant-jamawn-woods.jpg
NBC via Eater
Even the blessing of Steve Ells, CEO of homegrown, fast-casual mega-chain Chipotle Mexican Grill, wasn't enough to make America's Next Great Restaurant into, well, America's next great restaurant: Soul Daddy, the healthy barbecue concept that nabbed the reality show's grand prize of three locations, shuttered its final spot in the Mall of America after closing the Los Angeles and New York addresses a couple of weeks back.

According to Eater, Soul Daddy issued a statement that said the restaurant was closing because it just wasn't performing as hoped. And that's unfortunate, since a team of fast-casual gurus -- Ells made his decision to invest in Soul Daddy with Bobby Flay, Curtis Stone and Lorena Garcia -- were theoretically at owner Jamawn Woods's disposal for figuring out how to keep the place open.

When we talked to Woods back when the show was on the air, he told us he'd secured another job... so maybe he's returning to that?

While this venture comes to a close, Ells is getting ready to open his own new chain, ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen, in Washington, DC. So maybe THAT'S America's next great restaurant.

Or maybe it'll be contestant Eric Powell's grilled cheese shop, which he tells us he'll start working on here in Denver once his contract with NBC allows him to.

America's Next Great Restaurant, by the way, won't have a next season.

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8 comments
Phil
Phil

I really wonder what plight Jamawn Woods has taken because of some sleazy lines in the contract for his three Soul Daddy's restaurants or if he was just along for the ride. I feel that the closure of Soul Daddy's at the Mall of America was premature. When I was there on a Saturday afternoon, a month after its opening, the place was packed and out the door. Now, as a result of its closure, I have totally lost my desire for any Mexican food from Chipotle's and, definitely, any future episodes of ANGR.

rat618
rat618

Ells and the others hosed this guy big time. It showed him showing up for the first time the day before the restaurant opened...so much for being involved. Ells and the others talked him out of his original concept and into the bland offerings that were delivered. And if they are such geniuses how can you explain keeping the remaining one open in Minneapolis to work on the concept. The only thing whiter in Minneapolis than the snow is the shoppers at MOA.

GFTW
GFTW

Damn shame they didn't turn it into an episode on another reality show -- Kitchen Nightmares!

Jessehall
Jessehall

I thought the Indian place should have won too

Dan
Dan

They screwed him over royally.  They watered down his concept then didn't support the restaurants at all.  The outcome of this show left a real bad taste in my mouth, and made the judges -- not the contestants -- look bad.

Aceranchero
Aceranchero

I watched the series finale, when they announced the winner I turned to my wife and said "DOA." 

Lynn
Lynn

I feel bad for the winner.  Why would they finance a restaurant they couldn't support for at least a year.  There wasn't even that much promotion here in Minneapolis. 

5280MAN
5280MAN

Shows you how much that douchebag team of fast casual gurus know about what real people want.  They denied one of the contestants because they just didn't think Americans were ready for fast casual Indian food.  I googled 'Fast Casual Indian Food' and came up with no less than 10 operating restaurants.  That show was a joke.  A guy hawking his 'spicy balls' almost won...

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