HELL’S KITCHEN — Three months ago, Broadway cast and crew members banded together to install light fixtures, paint walls and hang mirrors inside a Southern-style restaurant that owner Randy Stricklin-Witherspoon feared would never open.
On Friday, some of the same supporters gathered at Spoonfed NYC at 333 W. 51st St., between Eighth and Ninth Avenues, to celebrate the eatery’s grand opening.
“It feels amazing,” Stricklin-Witherspoon told DNAinfo New York on Monday. “I’m feeling relieved… that we finally got this plane off the ground.”
Even after the initial outpouring of support, the chef — who caters for Broadway shows including “Hamilton,” “Wicked” and “Kinky Boots” — faced a few additional hurdles. In April, he was locked out of the space for falling six months behind on rent, he said.
“I came back every day, just to not be intimidated by the fact that we were locked out, and to touch the space and try to figure out a solution,” he said.
In less than a week, however, friends from the Broadway community lent him the money he needed to access the restaurant.
The eatery operated in a “soft opening” phase for several weeks before it opened to the public this past weekend, with the chef serving food cooked on hot plates as he waited for gas to be turned on, he said.
On Sunday evening, the eatery threw a Tonys viewing party hosted by Broadway Black, which advocates for black theatrical performers.
The restaurant is currently open for lunch and dinner Mondays through Fridays and for brunch and dinner on Saturdays and Sundays, Stricklin-Witherspoon said.
On Sundays, it will host “Gospel brunches,” with live music starting at 11 a.m.
The opening wouldn’t have been possible without the support of family, friends and the Broadway community, Stricklin-Witherspoon said.
“I don’t feel like it’s an ‘I’ or ‘my’ restaurant,” he said. “It’s ours, and ‘ours’ is everyone who’s ever prayed or put good energy or just touched the place.”