Photo by the Star Tribune 

The doors at Soul Daddy at the Mall of America closed permanently Tuesday night, bringing to a quick end, after slightly more than eight weeks, the "prize" offered as part of the NBC reality show "America's Next Great Restaurant."  The MOA location was one of three that was part of the TV competition won by Jamawn Woods of Detroit, a formerly unemployed auto worker who had been catering wings and waffles from his home when he heard about the competition. 



The three restaurants had opened May 2. The two other locations (South Street Seaport in New York City, and Hollywood and Highland Center in Los Angeles) were closed June 14 and 15, respectively, to the surprise of Jamawn, who had found out about the first closing in an email hours after having put in an offer for a home in Lakeville, Minn. He was to have had a year-long management training program at the MOA store. Jamawn first heard that he won the competition about two weeks before the restaurants opened. The three finalists on the TV show had been kept in the dark on who had won, and alternate endings to the program had been filmed.

Josh Furman, a manager at Soul Daddy MOA, said the MOA closing came as a surprise, as they were in the process of adding new items to the menu and developing the concept more in line with Jamawn's original soul-food concept. "We had permission to do more of our own thing on our own level," Furman said. "I didn't see this coming." Soul Daddy employees were given referrals to a Chipotle recruiter. Furman said that Jamawn was in Detroit this past weekend being recognized for his work with the restaurant.

The following is the announcement that was released from ANGR Holdings, the owner of the restaurant:

"After careful consideration and a thorough review of its performance, we have decided to close Soul Daddy at the Mall of America. This was a difficult decision for us, as we wanted to see Soul Daddy succeed, but the restaurant simply was not performing as we had hoped. We'd like to thank all of the customers who tried our restaurants and the people who worked hard to try to make the restaurants succeed.
--Soul Daddy Restaurants"


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