America’s Next Great Restaurant ep09: Opening Night

It’s finale night on ANGR and it’s down to the final three- Joey Meatballs, Sudhir Indian and Jamawn Soul Daddy. Contestants have to set up a mock restaurant inside the studio. They meet with architects to design the restaurant’s look and with graphic designers to create a logo and identity. Joey’s logo looks great- the others are kinda unmemorable to me.

The investors are really getting involved in the food preparation and menu for this week. I wonder how much they are really investing in this, if anything. Half of them want Jamawn to take fried chicken off his menu- that’s blasphemy- it’s soul food- you gotta have fried chicken! Sudhir is doing a sort of Indian Chipotle thing- shamelessly pandering to Steve Ells. Contestants hire some staff.

As the contestants look over their constructed restaurants, their family comes in to visit- and everyone’s happy. Contestants are prepping their staff and they’re ready to open.

They send a full crowd into the restaurants all at once to see how they can handle a rush. Investors are concerned that Sudhir’s Spice Coast looks too much like a Mexican restaurant and there’s no curry on the menu. He has put labels next to some of the food items with their Mexican equivalent- quesadilla, etc. It just seems odd to me. However the atmosphere is clean and soothing and calming.

Joey’s Brookyn Meatball is having trouble keeping up with the line. The tickets are backing up at the chef station. His register girl doesn’t know how to write the orders. They’re making all the sandwiches to order which is taking a while. He’s totally in the weeds. It’s not fast casual, it’s slow casual. Joey can’t get it worked out. The investors finally get their food and the taste is good despite the wait.

At Soul Daddy they chose not to go with the fried chicken. The food is going over well with the investors, really well (except Bobby Flay who wants fried chicken). They don’t really like the purple interior though. They love the chicken even though it’s not fried. Despite the good flavor, it might be too heavy to eat often.

The investors really have a tough decision on their hands. Is it the person behind the concept, the food, what the people vote on, or just a gut feeling? The judges convene and the winner of America’s Next Great Restaurant is…. Soul Daddy! Congrat Jamawn.

I think it’s a pretty good choice. His restaurant seems like the food would be great and nationally there’s not too much competition. In the South there’s places like Waffle House with similar food but elsewhere, not so much. Plus he just seems like a nice guy who could use a break.

Onscreen it’s revealed that this was shot 10 months ago because now it’s 10 months later and the real restaurants are ready to open. We get a peek into the Hollywood Soul Daddy and they’ve ditched the purple and gone with a warm wood look. So supposedly the three restaurants open today! We’re going to try to get out to the NYC one soon and report back.

I think the coming months will tell if this show is back on next year. IF Soul Daddy takes off and does well and opens up more restaurants around the country, then we will 100% see this back and probably all sorts of spinoffs and copycats. If the restaurant tanks, this is it. The only issue is that with the amount of time it takes from filming to restaurant opening- 10 months in this case- is there enough time to judge the performance? And I’m curious how involved NBC is with the restaurant- I know they like to get their hands in all sorts of off-air projects these days to build up revenues. Overall the show was entertaining and if there is a season 2, the contestants would be stronger now that the word is out.

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