Slow Start for Soul Daddy Ends in Closed Restaurants

June 16, 2011  |  

by Charlotte Young

Jamawn Woods may have won “America’s Next Great Restaurant” on NBC, but so far he’s having a hard time winning the title in the real world.

Eater reports that after one month, Wood’s healthy soul food restaurant Soul Daddy has closed its locations in New York and Los Angeles. Mixed reviews on Yelp called the newbie chain “gross” and too much like Chipotle. Now only Soul Daddy in Bloomington, Minnesota’s Mall of America remains.

Three restaurants in three cities was the grand prize boasted on the competition show, which captivated an average of 4.52 million viewers. Show judges even had great faith in the project; Bobby Flay, Curtis Stone, Lorena Garcia and Chipotle founder Steve Ells were all reported investors in the grand venture.

Soul Daddy is Woods’ first attempt at running a restaurant. Before appearing on the seven-week long show he was the chef and owner of the small catering company W3’s in Detroit.

The PR team for the healthy soul food chain states that “the realities of running a restaurant are very difficult,” especially with several locations.

Soul Daddy’s new strategy is to focus on the remaining location in the Mall of America and develop brand and business operations from there.

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  • I caught that last episode and hate to hear that the business hasn't panned out. Did they mention why LA and NY were chosen for a soul food restaurant? It may be a healthy derivative but after talking to a few people in LA about it over the years, I think that they often gravitate toward more organic foods when possible. Might've been a good spot here in Texas or Louisiana. Tieuel Legacy! Motion

  • Billy Boy

    I have eaten once with my wife and two friends at the M of A location and plan to again when I return home from Egypt.

    We found the food to be excellent, full-flavored, and healthier than the typical restaurant.

    I seriously hope they keep this place open, as the only eatery worth anything to me at Mall of America is Rainforest Cafe which is far too spendy for me.

    • Honeydew

      Sorry, what does "far too spendy" mean? Too expensive?