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Princess Pamela's Southern Touch Restaurant

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Anyone remember Princess Pamela Southern Touch Restaurant? It was located on East 1st Street, but she used to have a restaurant on East 10th or 11th Street from as early as the 1960's called Princess Pamela's Little Kitchen. She published a cookbook called "Princess Pamela's Soul Food Cook Book. And she supposedly made some television appearances in NYC. Anyone know what happened to her?

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  1. what a great blast from the past... I don't know what happened to her - but boy do I remember her! going to eat there was like scoring drugs... she'd only let you in if she liked you, and once you were inside, they'd lock the door after you. The Princess would often sit in a big thrown that took up 1/4 of the space. any decoration that went up, xmas, birthdays, was never taken down. the food was usually amazing. menu & ordering often went like this - waitress with a bad wig on, who was on the nod, would come over and say... "we have chicken, fish or ribs, you want the ribs, right?" !:-) (there's a Thai restaurant there now called Kai Kai)

    5 Replies
    1. re: elvislives

      When you dine at a place like Princess Pamela, you almost feel like it is your own little secret. I am therefore surprised to see how well known her place was. I became a regular at Princess Pamela's while I was in law school, and can remember my nights there as some of my fondest in the city. I remember her interview process before she let you make your first reservation, to having to ask to use the bathroom, her endless nights of singing, and the way she treated the one waitress there (does anyone remember her name?). She was some character. I dined there numerous times with celebrities (I did not come with them, but in that room you dined with everyone in it), and drank lots of beer with the Princess. I cannot remember much about the food, but seem to recall always ordering the smothered pork chops.

      Is there any place in NYC that rivals Princess Pamela's today? I would love to know.

      1. re: Jkos

        wow - another flood of nostalgia reading these great posts. I'm sitting here with a big 'ol smile... remembering her wonderful singing and "the bathroom deal". I recall one poor guy getting up on his own and walking into the bathroom without asking first - she just walked in on the dude and dragged his ass out. his party walked out a minute later. I'd seen quite a few people get up and leave in shock over the things that went on here. every time that happened all the regulars would give each other a sly smile as if it were our secret club and we were happy we knew the rules. a few posters (including myself) remember having special favor with The Princess - that was part of the mystique of her place, once you were in with her you were IN. she'd share gossip about her staff, make sure you got the "good" ribs, and even if you went to the bathroomm without asking - she forgave you ;-). thanks everyone for sharing the memories.

        1. re: elvislives

          Wow. Absolutely remember the "interview" process and then, when the waitress would come to the door, she would just crack it open a wee bit until she confirmed your name. I recall the first time I called and even the "who's this?" was "suspicious"...they only answered the phone, "Hello". Remember the scooter pies for dessert? And if she didn't like you, absolutely.....FORGET ABOUT IT!

          Wish she'd come back! Too bad that these days it seems like a place like that wouldn't be a secret for very long.

        2. re: Jkos

          i think the waitress' name was Ada ...

        3. I have to agree with elvislives - going there was an experience i will never forget - especially when she sang. for some reason she took a liking to me and would smuggle me cornbread from the kitchen. But once she refused to serve us unless we gave her some of our champagne, and a friend's request for white meat chicken was met with a chilly "there's nothin' but dark meat here." I would love to know any news at all.

          1. I remember going to her first place several times like 30++ years ago. Once I forgot reserve, but brought her flowers which saved the day. I lost track and saw the place on 1st but never went before it closed. Somewhere in my arcives I have a copy of her book. Thanks for the memory.

            1. Oh yes! So many great stories from that place. It was quite unique and quite great. I'd heard that she decided to move out of the city sometime shortly after I was at the e 1st location about 6 or 7 years ago. Not much to go on I'll admit....I'd love to know as well.

              1. I've only just found this site, so I'm replying to a fairly old post!
                I visited new York for the first time in 1979 and was taken (twice) to Princess Pamela's.
                All the previous comments brought a smile to my face, it was such a singular place. I've eaten in restaurants in practically every country in Europe and have never been in an establishment like Princess Pamela's!
                Thanks for the memories...

                1 Reply
                1. re: lannoy

                  Thanks for dredging up this old post and reminding me of the awesome birthday party I went to at Princess Pamela's back in the late '80s (I think). Our party of 20 or so took over the whole room (not difficult, since it was small). We stayed for hours; she just kept bringing out more food. And then one of our group started playing the piano, and Pamela sang songs with us. Loved that place. Here's another post about it (I'm running my mouth off on that one, too):

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/307833

                2. Did anyone reach for a glass on the shelf without asking LOL. You see, I was there, Used to play the trumpet with the band. My son and I both played together with her singing and the band playing. If I remember correctly her husband was the bass player. Great fried chicken.