By Julie Shapiro
SOUTH STREET SEAPORT — Just days before a new restaurant opens its doors at South Street Seaport, its name and cuisine are still a mystery.
The eatery, opening Monday at 189 Front Street, may serve meatballs, soul food, or modern Indian cuisine — but no one will know until Sunday, when the season finale of "America's Next Great Restaurant" airs on NBC.
The reality TV competition, judged by chefs Bobby Flay and Curtis Stone, featured 21 aspiring restaurateurs vying for the grand prize: funding to open restaurants in Los Angeles, Minneapolis and in lower Manhattan at Front and John streets.
After weeks of challenges and eliminations, the field has been narrowed to just three contenders, two of whom are from the Big Apple.
Joseph Galluzzi, 40, a Brooklyn resident and father of two who works in financial services, dreams of turning his Brooklyn Meatball Company concept into a national chain. In the most recent episode, he served up eggplant sliders and turkey meatballs with creamy Gorgonzola sauce.
The second New York contestant is Sudhir Kandula, 40, a software sales director who wants to open Spice Coast, a restaurant he envisions as the "Indian Chipotle." Kandula recently cooked a curry chicken taco with jicama slaw and a cauliflower chickpea quesadilla.
The final contender is Jamawn Woods, 32, a self-taught cook from Detroit, who is pushing Soul Daddy, a soul food restaurant that features a variety of waffles and specially seasoned chicken wings. He recently whipped up Cajun seared salmon with shrimp and barbecued ribs.
In addition to Flay and Stone, other judges include chef Lorena Garcia and Chipotle founder Steve Ells. All the judges will invest in the winner's restaurant.
The finale of "America's Next Great Restaurant" will air at 8 p.m. Sunday on NBC. The three restaurants will open the following day, May 2.