Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Blackberry’s, Plainfield, New Jersey, the owner Shelly was successful in catering so decided to move into owning a restaurant. The place was founded by her mother who invested her retirement fund. Shelly thinks the location and food are perfect but she has no customers. Sous Chef Mateen thinks she is in denial about the food and that she is a control freak and as a result, Shelly is in $200,000 of debt. Gordon arrives and is impressed by the town but not by the bright décor featuring records dangling from the ceiling. Gordon sits down to sample the food and takes a look at the menu. He orders the collard greens, the smothered pork chop, mac and cheese, chitlins, and red velvet cake. Gordon tries the pork and finds it dry, the pasta is mushy, the greens are bland and the chitlins have a funny smell. He spits these straight out and runs to the bathroom and gags/chokes. The meal is not all bad, Gordon thinks Mary’s red velvet cake is delicious. He describes the lunch as embarrassing.
When Gordon returns that evening, he discovers a dead mouse just inside the restaurant’s front door. James, the General Manager, Shelly and Shelly’s fiancée, accuses Chef Ramsay of planting the rodent. Shelly is cooking in the restaurant using only a wok and a pizza oven. The diners are not happy with the good. Gordon calls a team meeting and everyone thinks that Shelly having to be in control is a problem. Dwayne starts to tell his opinions of problems but Shelly tells him to leave. Gordon calls him back and highlights the problem is the lack of communication. Mary is in tears and Shelly promises to solve the problems.
Gordon invests in new equipment for the kitchen and puts Mateen in charge in the kitchen. The restaurant is given a makeover which keeps some of the records from the previous décor. Gordon unveils the new menu with updated soul food classics including barbecued pulled pork sliders and fried chicken and waffles.On relaunch night, Mateen takes charge of the kitchen and the customers love the food. Shelly, however, is not happy to have to give over control of the kitchen and charges out. The relaunch was successful but afterward Shelly refuses to speak to Gordon. Mary gets angry and tells her she is ashamed of her. In the following weeks, Shelly sees the success and starts to embrace the changes at Blackberry’s.
What Happened Next?
The restaurant closed in March 2013, according to Shelly
“I want to say we just no longer saw room for growth. We were so stagnant. We were maintaining, barely, but not able to generate the clientele we wanted,” Withers explained. “I think we gave it 10 good years. We had a wonderful time and are looking on to bigger and better things.”