"America's Next Great Restaurant" Recap: A Soulful Finale
The final episode of America's Next Great Restaurant opens with Bobby Flay telling the three remaining contestants that they are on the brink of a dream. Joey (Brooklyn Meatball Co.), Jamawn (Soul Daddy), and Sudhir (Spice Coast) know this only too well. Joey tears up at the thought. They are each given a restaurant space and are tasked with bringing their vision to reality. They meet with designers and architects to discuss atmosphere, and then they plan their menu. What's neat is you see them getting real help from the judges.
Lorena Garcia is right there showing Joey how he can incorporate ricotta into his meatballs, and Curtis Stone shows Sudhir how to make a shrimp curry. However, the big debate comes over Soul Daddy's fried chicken.
Bobby Flay thinks it's a must-have while Curtis Stone thinks a lighter chicken would be a better choice. Steve Ells emphasizes again that there's a real opportunity here to transform the way people eat for the better. Jamawn takes all their comments to heart and goes back and forth for a while before ultimately deciding on serving the baked chicken.
The contestants get surprise visits from their families and friends, which lightens the mood, but soon enough it's game day.
Both Soul Daddy and Spice Coast's services go well, but at Brooklyn Meatball Co., some customers are waiting 40 minutes for their food. Joey decided on a different type of service -- one where people order, then sit down, then have their food brought to them. This combined with hard-to-read orders coming from the gal at the cash register slow and confuse service. Poor guy! But the judges are sympathetic (they've probably all been there) and praise the positive changes in his food.
Bobby Flay jokes that judge and Chipotle founder Steve Ells has been too inspirational because Sudhir ends up incorporating parts of Chipotle's menu into his own at Spice Coast. He is not only serving chicken curry tacos but also "quesadillas" and "carnitas." The look leaves some judges wondering if he has strayed too far from his original Indian food concept.
Ultimately, the big win goes to Jamawn. The judges comment on how relaxed he was during service and about the visible leadership and teamwork present at Soul Daddy. While Sudhir also inspired his team and though Joey drastically improved his menu, the three restaurants slated to be open today are Jamawn's creation.
The show ended with a ten-month flash forward as we see Bobby Flay and Jamawn enter one of his new restaurants. Soul Daddy is open for business at Hollywood and Highland in Los Angeles, South Street Seaport in Manhattan, and the Mall of America in the Twin Cities.
What do you think? Was this the right choice?
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