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'Restaurant' Winner -- Back Up Plan After Culinary Fail

7/1/2011 3:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Despite the fact his THREE restaurants closed within 2 months of opening, "America's Next Great Restaurant" winner Jamawn Woods has a job offer on the table ... from one of his biggest supporters.


Woods is still technically an employee at the Chrysler automobile assembly plant in Michigan -- where he worked as a fork lift operator before trying out for the NBC reality show.

When Woods made the finals, Chrysler presented him with an award for his accomplishment -- and granted him a one-year leave of absence to pursue his dream.

But now that all of Jamawn's "Soul Daddy" restaurants have closed their doors -- a rep for Chrysler says the company intends to hold up their side of the bargain if Woods wants to come back to work ... adding, "He is still a part of our family."

So far, no word from Jamawn.


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Location, location, location; and all three of them were bad. Three openings at the same time? He got Flayed like a fool.

'Healthy' Soul Food, doesn't sound appealing at all. I would never search for it in any area I'm in (meaning upscale and/or white neighborhoods). There are about a billion other choices that I grew up with as comfort food that I would go to first. If you offer it as an alternative to 'bad' Soul Food where it's indigenous to, people might try that out and see the benefits. It's not racist if it's true you hater-haters.

I wish him the best of luck. He just needs a hole in the wall joint in New Orleans with some decent advertising and signage, and he'll live a comfortable life.

1209 days ago


I am a food flavors and trends researcher and live 10 minutes from Mall of America. To those of us who live here, we would never consider it as a food destination. The Mall of America is where you may happen to get some mediocre to decent food while you are out shopping.

1209 days ago


He still has his prize money he can open a little place in a better area if he really believes it could work instead of pockeeting the cash.

I live in NYC and when I heard one would be open in NYC great I thought midtown we need a nice soul food shop. But no they go to the South St. Seaport which is a maze and way bigger names have shops there and he would be lost in the shuffle in a heart beat.

1209 days ago


Jamawn was given the short end of the stick. But yes he is determined and very positive-minded. Despite the fact that the "investors" decided to put the restaurants in some of the weirdest places, they should've automatically put one in his hometown. We here, in Detroit, all support him, and we pray that he will get to open a Soul Daddy here. He will definitely get OUR support. Even though he still does the chicken & waffles, which are the bomb & I can't wait til tomorrow, alot of us show our support regardless. We will continue to do so because he really is a humble young man. Their may be a scratch on the record...but it can still play. Go SOUL DADDY!!!!

1209 days ago


Dude needs to realize he failed on one hand, but can still stay above water if he goes back to work for Chrysler, otherwise we will be reading how he's living in the streets because his pride wouldn't let him go back to work.

1209 days ago

ex con    

Watch those three spots get sold off or become Chipotles.

The shows was a sham anyways. He won because hecanse he can cry a good story. I mean they had the most developed restuarant concepts? Really didn't only one of them have a name? lol. They just picked a sad sap and hoped the publicity from the show would draw in customers.

If he wantsto provide for his family, go back to Chrysler.

1208 days ago


wow some of these comments. First of all, opening up 3 restaurants at once for the same business should not have been done (show's fault, not the guy that won). It is not Mr. Woods fault that the restaurants closed, he can't be in all 3 places at once to make sure that the restaurants were meeting expectations. Everyone needs to quit blaming Mr. Woods and actually blame the shows execs and the so call food critics. It is their fault, not Mr. Woods. I hope Mr. Woods opens up one of his restaurants in Detroit because I would love to try his concept. I bet if he runs it the way he wants to and not the way the show wanted it to, it would be a great success!!

1205 days ago
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