Two 'Next Great Restaurant' eateries shut down
June 15th, 2011
08:00 PM ET

Two 'Next Great Restaurant' eateries shut down

No one ever said that operating a restaurant was easy. Tell that to Jamawn Woods. reports that two of the three "Soul Daddy" restaurants Woods won after finishing first on NBC's short-lived competition series "America's Next Great Restaurant" closed for good this week, just a month after opening.

The Soul Daddy restaurants in New York and Los Angeles are affected by the closure. The third eatery, located inside the Mall of America in Minnesota, remains open.

In a statement, the company that runs Soul Daddy wrote:

"The realities of running a restaurant are very difficult, more so with multiple locations in multiple cities. After a careful review of the business model and the performance of the restaurants, we have decided that our best opportunity for Soul Daddy's success is to focus our efforts on establishing a solid footing in one location, building the brand, and developing the operations from there.

"While it has certainly been a difficult decision, we believe this is the best approach as we work toward ongoing success for Soul Daddy."

On its website, Soul Daddy says it prides itself on serving a "healthier, lighter take on traditional soul food."

For winning "America's Next Great Restaurant," which ended its only season last month, Woods won a three-restaurant chain financially backed by the show's four judges - Chipotle founder Steve Ells and celebrity chefs Bobby Flay, Lorena Garcia and Curtis Stone.  Neither Woods nor the investors have commented on the closures.

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soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. toya

    so sad i feel so bad for his family and him i hope things work out for him he really wanted this.

    June 20, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  2. TheWordMaster

    How sad... the restaurants he won were nothinglike the idea he had in mind. They were too sleek and modern...AND THEY LOOKED EXACTLY LIKE CHIPOTLE!

    June 17, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  3. Bryan

    This show was not much more than a 7-week long Chipotle commercial. They went through this long process of forcing the contestants into a certain position, then they changed almost everything about the place between the shows finale and the opening of the 3 places.

    June 17, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  4. Gregg

    This was bound to happen, they took a non-expereinced guy and said here have three restaurants, this business is more than 50% failure rate. Bobby and Steve have to much experience for this, I think it may have been a producer decision. Either way, they took the guys concept made it what they wanted and put him in as the mouthpiece. Wrong concept won IMO. Curtis came across as a jerk but you could tell he was thinking "HOW DID I GET MYSELF INTO THIS" SOUL DADDY is now in a Mall with huge rent and mediocre food. The investors are chefs how can the food be bad, and the woman investor "CHARRA" needed a writer because she just came across as dumb as dirt. My call he's done in a year. Not trying to rain on his parade but this busness is tough, and I doubt the investors will dump more money in it. LIFE LESSON LEARNED" call it a day then call me I got a great idea. And I have experience.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. fernace

    The smart thing would have been to sell off 2 resturants as franchises, right off the bat. That way he would have $ to invest in the remaining resturant, & or to expand & sell more franchises. He was given this opportunity & is almost back to square 0. No business sense, bad advice?? Hope he rallies before it's too late!

    June 16, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. joel

    I make an incredible peanut butter sandwich.

    June 16, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Weezie

    Some of you laughing and making jokes about someone losing their life's dream, is a shame and a mystery to me. I hope none of you ever have to go through that because it is not a god feeling.

    June 16, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ms. Lena

      The people who do that are the ones who still stay with there parents, living in the basement and never will do or be nobody in their entire life cu they don't get up and try. Lazy bums, this guy and his family is awsome for trying to live out there dreams!!!

      June 18, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  8. Evel Knievel

    What exactly is soul food? Kool-aid and Newports?

    June 16, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. nitrous


    June 16, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  10. John

    I ate at the one in NY. It was good. The baked chicken was delcious – but it seemed like the entire staff was new to the restaurant industry too and just didn't get it. When we were finishing eating, they created a smoke condition that set off the fire alarms and the FDNY showed up.

    June 16, 2011 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  11. Its a drive by

    Was there ever a doubt these restaurants would fail? SoulDaddy. What a stupid idea.

    June 16, 2011 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  12. DJ Jayito

    It isn't Jamawn Woods' fault the restaurant failed in NY and LA. It will probably eventually fail in the Mall of America, as well – at least without drastic changes. The "chefs" (term used loosely for all except Bobby Flay) bickered constantly about the contestants having to be a HEALTHY restaurant. Look – You can have HEALTHY OPTIONS on the menu, but you can't OMIT the TASTY OPTIONS from the menu strictly because you want to be a healthy place. You WILL fail! (For 1) – Healthy Soul Food is an oxymoron – and should remain an oxymoron. How in the world can you have a SOUL FOOD joint without Fried Chicken (Bobby Flay knew you couldn't) and Mac n Cheese. (For 2) – You cannot force people to eat healthy, because trust me... we either will eat healthy or we won't... It will have NOTHING to do with your restaurant and its menu choices. If we don’t have a CHOICE between healthy and tasty, we won’t go to your place, when we want the one you don’t offer. (For 3) I know I’m not alone in this, but when I want soul food... I'm gonna get fried chicken (or ribs) and mac n cheese. PERIOD! AND… I normally eat healty.

    June 16, 2011 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
  13. Neil

    No Pain! No Gain. Most Entrepreneurs fail in their first couple of attempts! Some of you sound hateful!

    June 16, 2011 at 7:27 am | Report abuse |
  14. charlie crack

    Shut em' all and make the "next great" one.

    June 16, 2011 at 6:43 am | Report abuse |
  15. the dook

    HANNAH, are you one of those whiny doodoo eaters?

    June 16, 2011 at 6:11 am | Report abuse |
  16. hannahlcrawford

    people have no compassion for those who try to open a restaurant & fail. as a person who has tried I know the HEARTBREAK & I wouldnj't wish that on ANYONE. All your hopes & dreams gone.... plus a whole lot of money. SO SAD.

    June 16, 2011 at 2:36 am | Report abuse |
  17. Sunshine Girl *

    Sound like he got into something he couldnt handle. He was in too far over his head. Im sure the backers/investors are not happy at all. Cant wait to see what they have to say.

    June 16, 2011 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
  18. ?

    Should have called Gordon Ramsey for help.

    June 15, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  19. rah

    Well, I am glad that at least ONE of his restaurant stayed open. Soul Daddy will do good there.

    June 15, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  20. naancy

    and they shouldna put doodoo on all their menu items as a garnishment

    June 15, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  21. tim

    it woulda stayed open if he made regular food. cheeseburgers and hotdogs and frenchfries. all that fancy stuff os just garbola.

    June 15, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laura

      Yep. I don't want light soul food. I want the GOOD stuff like burgers and steak and fried chicken and roast beef.

      June 16, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  22. dweebotl

    this guy won a show with this lame idea. no wonder his stores failed. loser!!!

    June 15, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paco

      Woods was too busy Stylin and Profilin. He is a loser.

      June 16, 2011 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
    • 16 and pregnant mom to be

      Did he raid his daddys 1970s suit closet? He must think he is some kinda pimp. No wonder he is a FAILURE!!

      June 16, 2011 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |

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