HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >


America's Next Top Restaurant, 4/24/11 (spoilers)

I think only 10 people are watching this show but I'll do a quick write up anyway. This is the last task before the finals and they have to hire two personnel to sell their product for them at, wow I'm spacing. What function were they at? Soul Daddy has made his food more healthy but it's still everyone's favorite. Sudhir (sp?) finds two people who describe his food pretty well, Joey Meatballs has some personable guys but his meatballs supposedly aren't so good that day (altho I don't remember specific criticisms), and Healthy lady has decent food but two workers who know nothing about the preparations. I don't think she spent enough time with them. The judges asked Sudhir what he needs to improve on and he says he really can't think of anything which they all proceed to rag on but did I hear ONE of them tell us what was wrong with his food or concept? Other than he maybe played it a bit safe with the taco dish? It was between Joey and Healthy for the last spot and saucy balls won out. He definitely seems to take in everything they say and she just always seemed a little spooked by the whole ordeal. One more week.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. It was only a matter of time before healthy girl was booted. I preferred her former concept.

    Looks like editing is pointing towards Soul Daddy winning. Would have preferred Spice Coast, but I'd be OK with either of them.

    16 Replies
    1. re: Miss Needle

      And what/who were they cooking for? I can't think of it for the life of me.

      1. re: Miss Needle

        I preferred "healthy girl's" earlier concept as well, and she does seem spooked by the whole ordeal. I agree that things are pointing to Soul Daddy as the winner, altough I, too, would have preferred Spice Coast.

        Here is my real question though, one that has been bothering me for weeks -
        Why is everyone's face so red in this show? At first I thought it was sunburn from being outside during one of the earlier challenges, but it's not going away. Even the investors have a red look to them. Really red lips, red ears, is it bad lighting? Is anyone else noticing this?

        1. re: Whinerdiner

          i thought it was just me! the mouth issue has been creeping me out all season - Steve Ells, Curtis & Joey Meatballs in particular all look like they're wearing lips from a clown costume...and Joey always looks like he spent too much time in a tanning bed. either the lighting is AWFUL, or their makeup people suck.

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            I thought I was tghe only one who noticed this. The Chipotle guy's mouth always looks liker he just ate a basket of chicken wings.

            1. re: AmblerGirl

              As I was watching it I was thinking that he must have been in an accident and had had bad plastic surgery.

              1. re: junescook

                Or maybe he's just an unattractive man. Rich.. but unattractive.

                Don't get me wrong.. It's a deal I would take in a heartbeat.

          2. re: Miss Needle

            I think the real reason she was booted came before the food was served -- when she bemoaned that she couldn't get humanely raised lamb, but paid no attention to where her beef came from. That she has no idea about the controversies surrounding cattle raising and feedlots, which are major news items these days, while her whole concept centers around "natural and chemical free," it was hugely apparent that she knows nada about how to play out her ambitions.

            1. re: pitterpatter

              Not knowing the difference between lamb and veal was also a problem. She seemed a little scatterbrained. The Ibdian guy might have a little of the same problem as the guy that didb't want to sell grilled cheese sandwiches at grilled cheese sandwich restaurant: he thinks he already knows it all. When they asked him what his weakness was he should have said his inexperience in the restaurant business because that's something all the remaining contestants have in common. I don't find the mearball guy as likable as the soulfood guy but even though he stumbled on this episode, they might like his concept enough to rate him high at the end.

              I have a question for people from other parts of the country: when referencing the Twin Cities, do you immediately know that it is a reference to Minneapolis-St. Paul? All season long they have been saying one of the restraurants is going to be in Minneapolis. I knew it was not going to be in Minneapolis, but in the Mall of Americal which is in a suburb just as close to downtown Minneapolis as it is to downtown St. Paul. I have worked in both downtowns but it still bugs me when people refer to the Twin Cities as Minneapolis.

              1. re: John E.

                I have a question for people from other parts of the country: when referencing the Twin Cities, do you immediately know that it is a reference to Minneapolis-St. Paul?
                yup. even though there are other major metro twin/paired cities in the US (e.g. Dallas-Fort Worth, Tampa-St Pete, Raleigh-Durham), MSP is the only pair in the US i've ever heard referred to officially as "The Twin Cities."

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  Yup, there's a reason the baseball team is known as the Twins.

                2. re: John E.

                  Scatterbrained is an understatement. Not having a clue on the sheep/veal thing, he staff (and likely she) had no clue as to what the Mediterranean concept was "fused" with. It made me think she knew a bunch of popular words, maybe read an article or two, and figured buzz words were the same as knowledge. Irrtiataing and sad.

                3. re: pitterpatter

                  The only one of the 'investors' that I have not found annoying is Bobby Flay. The Chipotle guy is the worst of the bunch. Apparently none of the ideas will work without making a taco out of it.

                4. re: Miss Needle

                  I too thought "compleat" was the best concept on the show, and by a large margin. She couldnt execute it, but I wont be suprised when someone takes her idea and makes a bazillion dollars with it.

                  1. re: twyst

                    I thought the Compleat concept was the best as well. The problem is that the investors completely made her change it into something she was unfamiliar with. She was just thrown the whole "sustainable/organic" concept so probably had little time to prepare for it or understand it.

                5. They're already doing the same thing they did with Big Daddy a couple of years ago. They made it a point then to have BD's family out in the studio for the finals. Now they're talking up how soul Daddy has three children with his fiancee to take care of, and while Sudhir "is a starter", Soul Daddy is "a finisher."

                  I'm agreeing that I see Indian cuisine as underrepresented in today's marketplace, and that it presents a good opportunity in the convenience food sector.

                  1. as much as i would have liked to see a healthful concept make it to the finale, i'm really glad Stephanie is gone - i couldn't tolerate her cluelessness anymore. and those employees she hired were RIDICULOUS. what makes it Mediterranean? "Well there's lots of yummy Mediterranean stuff in it." i couldn't *believe* she said that!

                    i agree that they're setting it up editorially for Jamawn to win, playing up the "Dad with a heart of gold makes good" angle. as i've said all along i'm pulling for Soul Daddy or Spice Coast, so that would be fine with me...but *so help me* if Joey Meatballs pulls off an upset!

                    1. haven't watched last nights yet.
                      it isn't my favorite show so don't much care who ends up winning.
                      liked the grillin two [guy and gir]l but they got booted.
                      dipwad chef kicked their food tray after dropping it.
                      what a great attitude he had, NOT..................

                      1. So please remind me, who were they cooking for?

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: Joanie

                          They were in Las Vegas to get a "real" cross section of the American public to try their food.

                          1. re: Budser1228

                            <<They were in Las Vegas to get a "real" cross section of the American public to try their food.>>

                            As in , "huh?"

                            1. re: chicgail

                              Really not such as bad idea, there are tourists in LV from all over the country, much more so than in LA.

                              1. re: saeyedoc

                                I under stand that point, but neither one is particularly representative of the country. Why not Minneapolios if that's where one of the restaurants is scheduled to open? Or Des Moines? Or Denver? Or Tallahassee? Or Portland, ME? The bottom line is that Las Vegas is a glamorous, media-friendly city that works for the producers.

                                1. re: chicgail

                                  i think that las vegas is representative of the american middle class

                        2. When they were asking for Spice Coast guy's weaknesses, my thought was, does Chipotle guy know that his personality is his major weakness? And is he doing anything about it? Also toward him, how dare someone whose dishes are zillion calorie/fat grams lecture anyone about healthy food? He is just so unpleasant and irritating!

                          Not every restaurant has to have all healthy, yet simultaneously child-friendly food. Most offer a couple of marginally healthy options that you can put together if you want. At Chipotle I order a bowl, no rice, half black beans, no sour cream, no guac, sprinkle of cheese, lots of lettuce. Otherwise I end up with about 2 days worth of calories, and a week's worth of fat grams.

                          Maybe they're just throwing these ridiculous things at them to see how they cope with criticism and change. But it's a somewhat ridiculous show.

                          1. Investors aren't looking at the best food, thier looking at the concept with the potential for the best return. If they could sell ish on a stick and make millions then there would be one on every corner.

                            Also the vast majority of people aren't looking for healthy. Only the most outspoken. While McDonalds has healthy choices they still sell Big Macs and Sausage Biscuts 3-4 to 1 to healthy choices.

                            At the end of the day it comes down to money. And more people know fried chicken then Chicken Marsala (sic)

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Just Plain Craig

                              the indian guy is kind of a moron

                              his concept isn't new. there are modern indian restaurants in malls. In fact, I usually go for modern indian at malls since these restaurants have the shortest lines!!! Maybe the Chipotle guy is right about needing a taco or something more familiar. There is one particular mall indian place in Montreal that makes its own naan bread and has a sandwich around that. It is very popular.

                              1. re: celfie

                                you're talking about Canada. Indian fast food isn't AT ALL common in malls here in the States - in fact, i don't recall ever seeing it - and as the show's title indicates, they're looking for *America's* Next Great Restaurant.

                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  its not 'common' here but it exists and i'm sure it exists in the us too. and even if the indian guy wins, it wont be anymore common in the US

                                  1. re: celfie

                                    meatball restaurants exist as well, yet i don't see you calling Joey an idiot.

                                    and if Sudhir wins and they open 3 locations of his restaurant, then yes, technically it *will* be more common here ;)

                            2. The Chipotle guy is an insufferable fop. I cannot stand him.

                              Only marginally more tolerable are Charo and The Blonde Tool.

                              I'm rooting for soul food guy.

                              But none of them seem remotely capable of managing one mall food court outlet, much less 3 geographically distant from each other.

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: C. Hamster

                                But none of them seem remotely capable of managing one mall food court outlet, much less 3 geographically distant from each other.
                                the only thing the show needed from any of these contestants was a concept - the investors aren't stupid - i'm sure they'll bring in their own people to manage the business side of things. hand over your money and just hope that some random guy with no experience won't run the whole thing into the ground? i think not.

                                1. re: C. Hamster

                                  The Chipotle guy said something in passing that was a kittle annoying. He sqid something about meatballs not being sustainable. I don't know for sure what that means except that to most people I know taste is what they care about in restaurant food, not whether or not it is 'sustainable'.

                                  1. re: John E.

                                    i'm pretty sure he used the word sustainable to mean lasting - as in a concept that would keep people coming back...as opposed to something that's a novelty the first time you have it, but doesn't *sustain* your interest beyond that.

                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      Maybe it was my mistake. I suppose I find him annoying enough that I assumed he was referring to the 'sustainable foods' issue.

                                      1. re: John E.

                                        i can certainly understand that - at this point, every time Ells opens his mouth i get irritated. but when he made that "sustainable" comment i knew he was talking about staying power because they've discussed it before regarding the meatball concept.

                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                          I remember them mentioning that but then it seemed Joey was making food other than meatballs making his concept more of a fast-casual Italian that would serve foods other than meatballs. (Which sounds a lot like Fazoli's who seems to have closed a bunch of locations).

                                          1. re: John E.

                                            and Sbarro's which has filed for bankruptcy.

                                            ITA with Ells = douche.

                                            1. re: coney with everything

                                              I was never a fan of Sbarro's. I only had their pizza which was mediocre at best. The few times we stopped at Fazoli's I always thought the food was good but it was food that we made better at home.

                                        2. re: John E.

                                          Let's face it, the Chipote guy said a LOT of things that were a little annoying.

                                  2. they just ran the rerun of last weeks finale tonight, Friday May 6.
                                    surprised who did win but guess it was a good choice.

                                    1. Interesting comment from http://nrnfoodwriter.blogspot.com/201...

                                      It turns out that America’s Next Great Restaurant was filmed last year, and the winner, Jamawn Woods, didn’t know he won until it was announced on Sunday. But in the meantime, Steve Ells and the other investors in this next great restaurant got to work hiring staff and securing real estate and generally making the restaurant happen in three places at once — Los Angeles, New York and Minneapolis.


                                      The manager told us that the menu items were developed based merely on their names, which the investment partners gave to their development team in Denver.

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: Spelunk

                                        well, the filing timeline was no secret - the casting application stated that you needed to be available for all of May & June last year...but it said nothing about having to wait nearly a *year* to find out who won! the wait must have been excruciating for the finalists. and yeah, pretty impressive that there were no leaks before the big reveal.

                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                          I didn't watch this show, but Soul Daddy opened up right across from my works building at the South St, Seaport in NYC.

                                          There was a whole lot of buzz and rumour that the winner's place was going to be housed here.

                                          Well, it opened last week, and I got to try it ....
                                          VERY DISAPPOINTING

                                          I tried ribs, which looked amazing, collard greens and wild rice salad.

                                          The ribs has a good texture and were fall off the bone, but absolutely NO TASTE.
                                          Really, I have never had such a tasteless rib iin my life.
                                          The collard greens were too al dente and tasted of raw garlic (yuck), the only thing I liked was the wild rice salad, which contained walnuts, dried cranberries, scallions and parsley. It was very fresh tasting..
                                          My friend had a pulled pork sandwich, which was also rather bland and tasteless.

                                          The worst part was - the price - ribs and 2 sides were $11.
                                          You get 3 - yes, THREE ribs. Small ribs, I might add, and a tiny amount of the sides.
                                          WAY over-priced.

                                          After the buzz dies down, I simply can not see this place being a success.

                                        2. re: Spelunk

                                          And all of this just confirms, this was a bullshit multi-episode informercial masquerading as a reality show. It seems apparent that Ells and partners exploited the ideas and good will of Mr Woods so they could hack together a half-baked quick-serve concept, producing product that is neither satisfying, nor particularly appealing in its current form.

                                          I imagine that Sunday of last week went something like this for Mr. Woods: "Congratulations, Jamawn, you won, we used your concept to create some factory food that we plan to sell to the masses and you are now our indentured public face, our "Colonel Sanders" for the next N year(s) making appearances any time we command, and aside from cooling your heels for the last year, have absolutely no management power and you will have to abide by all of the clauses in your contract with us, be they non-compete, or draconian morals clauses or anything else you signed up for, and for all of this, we will cut you in for .005 percent of the corporation's net profits."

                                          America's next GREAT restaurant is NOT a quick-serve concept factory operation that relies upon a central commissary and manufactured soul.

                                            1. re: ChinoWayne

                                              +1 to your entire post, ChinoWayne.

                                              It pisses me off. I wanted to see Jamawn do well, and the food HE made sounded very good. What we have instead is that restaurant on Kitchen Nightmares where the "chef" reheated Sysco food and wondered why his business was failing.

                                              1. re: ChinoWayne

                                                Now you've got me wondering if it wasn't really and truly an infomercial and that the "competitors" were actually just actors. You can see Flay and Ells spinning this to Brooke Johnson -- Works for you, works for us, kind of a deal.

                                                1. re: junescook

                                                  This was not the first reality show for the first person eliminated, Fran of "Sports Wrap" infamy, she was previously a host and supposed Life Style Guru/Family Counselor on a home remodeling show on one of the cable channels. It is had not to question the motivations of all involved in this show.

                                            2. I have a question for restaurant people posting here. Is it possible that Soul Daddy does not serve fried chicken and other fried southern food such as fried okra, hush puppies, fried shrimp, etc. because of the costs involved? It is my understanding that the ventilation and fire suppression systems are expensive to install and even more expensive for insurance. All this talk of 'healthy' soul food could be code for cheaper soul food.

                                              1. it will be interesting to see if this concept really works. it can't just magically happen because of the few with excess coins in their pockets think it will work. the comment above about it being very disappointing is no surprise to me. the idea never seemed that new to me. I'm just sayin

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: iL Divo

                                                  But you know what? If they did authentic soul food it might really take off. Fried chicken and waffles (a Harlem invention), greens, ribs, ham hocks, add some southern favorites, and the concept might work. I think with a soul food 'lite' menu they will turn off those that know real soul food and those that don't know much about it will think they don't like soul food.

                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                    John, I agree.
                                                    There is not one person that I have spoken to who hasnt said they are really disappointed that there is no fried chicken on the menu.

                                                    As an update, another co-worker ordered 2 meals; ribs, 2 sides, "roast pork", 2 sides, and a pulled pork sandwich.
                                                    Not only was he disappointed in everything, but he was really furious, because the roast pork, and the pulled pork were exactly the same meat!
                                                    That is so misleading and annoying! He certainly wouldnt have ordered both if he had known. (Yes, all of the food was for himself - he's a big guy!!!)

                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                      I agree, too. Cutting out the fat and all the flavor was where Jemawn's entry died on the vine.
                                                      The fried chicken issue was the last nail in that coffin. They took all the soul out of Soul Daddy.

                                                  2. Joanie - please keep posting because I won't watch the show anymore (I don't like any of the players/ideas) but will keep reading your posts just to see how it ends. Thanks!

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Claudette

                                                      Ha, I was away so am just reading this thread where people mention the finale and that Soul Daddy won. Not much else to recap altho the Indian food really had turned into Indian combined w/ TexMex. And there are a few malls in the Boston area with Indian stands that seem to do fairly well. People liked Joey Meatballs food pretty much but he had the worst service. It was kind of anti-climactic (not that we were climaxing so much during the previous shows). Glad to have one less show to watch as I keep plugging along with the Top Chef Masters. I sure hope they don't have any new seasons of TC (of any sort) lined up for a while.