Kitchen Nightmares (US) S05 E01: Blackberry’s, Plainfield, New Jersey

Kitchen Nightmares (US) S05 E01: Blackberry’s, Plainfield, New Jersey - CLOSED

In this season premier, Gordon visits a soul food restaurant Blackberry’s in Plainfield, New Jersey. After running a successful career in catering business, owner Shelly Withers purchased Blackberry’s restaurant. Shelly’s mom Marry Withers ventured in with Shelly and invested her retirement savings into the setup. In the opening section of episode, it gets revealed that they are under a debt of $200,000.

Gordon likes the quaint town, however is not impressed with decor of the restaurant which is dated and bit flashy. Restaurant owner Shelly thinks that Blackberry’s serves best food and decor is fantastic. Her staff thinks otherwise, as per them, Shelly is in denial and is a bit control freak, which in turn is ruining the restaurant business.

Blackberrys Plainfield Kitchen Nightmares
Blackberrys Plainfield Kitchen Nightmares

 

Gordon meets Marry when he arrives at the restaurant. He also meets with general manager James. Gordon jokes about James being baby face and too young to be a general manager. He later finds out that James is engaged to Shelly.

Episode Related Info:
Kitchen Nightmares (US) Season 05 Episode 01
Restaurant Name:
Blackberry’s, Plainfield, New Jersey
Filming:
Jul-Aug 2011
Air Date:
23 Sept, 2011
Restaurant Close Date:
March 2013
Current Status: Closed

Is Blackberry’s, Plainfield, New Jersey closed?

Yes, Blackberry’s, Plainfield, New Jersey closed in March 2013. Shelly posted the below message in her update:

“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.”

Food Sampling:

Gordon orders a smothered pork chop, mac & cheese, collard greens, chitlins & okra and red velvet cake for food sampling. The first dish arrives and it does not look appetising. Pork chop is dry and the mac & cheese is bland and over cooked, Gordon sends it back. Collard greens are bland and the chitlins & okra does not smell right. He asks waitress to recite a prayer before tasting the chitlins, after tasting the dish, he runs to the washroom and vomits. The red velvet cake prepared by mother Mary saves the food sampling, the cake is delicious.

Gordon meets the staff and gives his inputs on the food quality.

 

Dinner service and kitchen inspection:

When Gordon arrives at the restaurant for the dinner service, he finds a dead mouse at the entrance door. He tells James about it and as Gordon starts to query and inspect, James blames that for the TV show, Gordon has planted the mouse. When Gordon gathers the team to discuss this, Shelly, after getting update from James, also blames Gordon of planting the mouse for TV show.

This upsets Gordon and he tells them that he is leaving if they are not open to listen. Shelly gets offensive and also threatens to quit the restaurant. Mother Mary pacifies them both and suggests Shelly to apologise and keep and open mind. James also extends his apology after the whole drama.

At dinner service, Gordon observes that there is no system inside kitchen and everyone is struggling because of Shelly’s mis-management. Shelly is using a chinese wok to cook everything, which Gordon finds odd. Matinee, chef in charge also highlights the same thing, adding that this is not how soul food is made. Customers wait for the food and when they get it, they are not happy about it. Gordon also notices the poor state of kitchen equipments which is hampering the productivity of the staff.

Whole staff thinks that Shelly’s controlling nature is what is hampering the restaurant most. Staff members give their inputs, Dwayne tells his opinion which Shelly does not like and she asks him to leave. Gordon diffuses the situation and persuades Shelly to work as a team. Shelly promises to be a team member and solve the issues.

 

Restaurant makeover and relaunch::

Gordon invests in new kitchen equipments, 6 burner stoves top, new deep fryers and an oven. Gordon devices a system in the kitchen also puts Mateen incharge. The restaurant gets a much needed makeover, everyone is surprised and happy with the new decor. Gordon also introduces new soul food menu and dishes.

On relaunch night, Mateen takes charge of the kitchen and entrees leave kitchen on time. Customers love the new menu and the food. The whole staff starts to work together. However, Shelly goes on a call and later starts to do things the old way, which upsets the staff. upon confrontation, Shelly walks away again and goes to her office.

Kitchen Nightmares Blackberrys
Kitchen Nightmares Blackberrys

 

A member short, team keeps on working hard and delivers a successful relaunch. Customers love the new menu, decor and food. Post-relaunch, Gordon tries to get Shelly for a team meeting, which she refuses. Mary gets angry on Shelly, but, she refuses to get out of the office. Gordon praises the staff for their handwork and wishes them luck.

What happened to Blackberry’s, Plainfield, New Jersey after relaunch?

Closing act shows that, in coming weeks Shelly changed and embraced the changes. Jersey Bites’s experience after the relaunch was good. Yelp and Facebook reviews were good after the relaunch.

Things were going good as per closing act, however, few users have reported that Shelly started to go back to her old habits. Online reviews at the time of closing were quite negative. Blackberry’s closed in March 2013, exactly 17 months after the episode aired. Shelly posted the below message in her update:

“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.”

Mateen continued to do good and is at present working as exec. chef at OTG Management. Though the restaurant is closed, Blackberry’s catering website is still up and Shelly Withers apparently is running a designer T-shirt brand by name of Absolutely Bling (merch as shown on her FB updates).

 

Is Blackberry’s, Plainfield, New Jersey closed?

Yes, Blackberry’s, Plainfield, New Jersey closed in March 2013. Shelly posted the below message in her update:

“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.”

 

Resources:

  1. IMDB episode info
  2. Blackberry's, Plainfield, New Jersy on Yelp
  3. Blackberry's Catering Website
  4. Account of the relaunch

 

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Episode Related Info:
Kitchen Nightmares (US) Season 05 Episode 01
Restaurant Name:
Blackberry’s, Plainfield, New Jersey
Filming:
Jul-Aug 2011
Air Date:
23 Sept, 2011
Restaurant Close Date:
March 2013
Current Status: CLOSED

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