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Soul Daddy Shutters Seaport Location Just Six Weeks After Opening

By Julie Shapiro on June 15, 2011 9:51am 

By Julie Shapiro

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

SOUTH STREET SEAPORT — That was fast.

Soul Daddy, the much-buzzed winner of "America's Next Great Restaurant," has already closed its South Street Seaport location, just six weeks after opening.

Chef Jamawn Woods, who won the reality TV competition with his healthy soul food concept, said last month he hoped to open more than 1,000 locations of Soul Daddy — but as it turned out, he couldn't sustain even the three he opened in New York, Los Angeles and Minnesota's Mall of America.

Both the New York location at Front and John streets and the Los Angeles location closed on Tuesday, leaving just the Mall of America outpost.

"The realities of running a restaurant are very difficult, more so with multiple locations in multiple cities," Soul Daddy Restaurants said in a statement, which was first reported by Eater.

"After a careful review of the business model and the performance of the restaurants, we have decided that our best opportunity for Soul Daddy’s success is to focus our efforts on establishing a solid footing in one location, building the brand, and developing the operations from there…. While it has certainly been a difficult decision, we believe this is the best approach as we work towards ongoing success for Soul Daddy."

NBC's "America's Next Great Restaurant" challenged young chefs to develop a healthy fast-casual eatery that would be easy to replicate around the country. The judges, who all invested in Soul Daddy, included chefs Bobby Flay, Curtis Stone and Lorena Garcia and Chipotle founder Steve Ells.

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