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"Next Great Restaurant" Winner


8/3/2011 12:10 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

His restaurants failed miserably just two months after opening their doors -- and now, the winner of "America's Next Great Restaurant" is blaming the entire culinary disaster ... on Chipotle.

Jamawn Woods tells TMZ, Chipotle -- an investor in the NBC reality show -- was supposed to provide a management team to run his three Soul Daddy restaurants for one year ... but they really screwed the pooch.

According to Jamawn, Chipotle hired a bum management team with NO experience cooking soul food OR running a soul food restaurant -- and his restaurants tanked as a result ... closing soon after.

J hasn't filed any legal papers yet -- but he's telling friends ... the show owes him $46,000 for a year's worth of salary ... and still hasn't paid a dime.

A rep for Chipotle tells TMZ, "The Soul Daddy restaurants were generating significant negative cash flows and, after a careful review of the business, the investor group made the decision to close the restaurants."

But there's a light at the end of the tunnel -- sources tell TMZ, Jamawn and Chipotle are currently hammering out a settlement deal.


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Tonya P    

I am glad he won and deserved to WIN!!! I wish him the best. They need to pay up and help this young man succeed! he has the potential and determination to be a huge success!!

1155 days ago


Yes they did do him a complete injustice - They wanted another 'chipotle' model and guess what? He's lucky Chipotle does as well as it does, because imho the food is awful.. Jawaan should have stuck to his guns and not listened to those idiots.... Chipotle only made it because he had an idea and a decent investor - They totally screwed this poor guy and should compensate him in some way for completely screwing with his head....

1154 days ago

en Todo Momento!!    

well maybe if he had stuffed all his soulfood ingredients into a burrito, he wouldna gone broke! next time, come up with a better business plan, bozo.

1154 days ago


He really expects people to side with him when Chipotle promoted BOGO coupons in honor of the show? I don't think sooo.

1154 days ago


I thought it was supposed to be the Next best restaurant not the next same old restaurant - Chipotle - Baja Fresh highly over rated 'mexican' food.....

1154 days ago


46k for a year's salary? Is the US economy really that bad or were they screwing him royally?

1154 days ago


Good because he was a hard worker , Deserves the right to have a fair deal. They should of sent in a better team of leaders to help him be a sucessful business.

1154 days ago


Part of the blame probably should go to Chipotle. Their version of Mexican food is a joke. As a Latino, most people I know call Chipotle the Mexican food for white people. I'm sure their hand in soul food probably made Soul Daddy's food taste bland and uninspiring as well.

1154 days ago


I'm a white chick who scheduled a dinner meeting at SOUL DADDY after seeing the show. Everyone was in awe of how delicious the food was, the baked chicken, waffles and collard greens (my first experience with collard greens) were incredible. I ordered collard greens elsewhere later on and realized just how good the ones at SOUL DADDY really were. Unfortunately, because the finale of NEXT GREAT RESTAURANT was interrupted by the fantastic news that Osama bin Laden was no longer a threat, I believe that really affected SOUL DADDY. I hope Woods gets another shot at a restaurant!

1154 days ago


Sandra said it best the chipolte guys was really a sick cat.. I mean i watched the show and the direction given was a meaningless joke and if I was Bobby or Kurtis I would be more careful who they hang there hat with... The show now looks like a fraud that robbed a nice group of people of ideas and passion. It could go down as one of the greatest food show mistakes as all the news comes out... FYI I will never eat at a Chipolte again and when I pick my business partners they will NOT be anything like that creep Burrito STEVE - UGGG

1153 days ago


Experience for Soul food? Can't you just throw a pile of feces and fried chicken in there and call it a day?

1147 days ago


A few months ago, I asked Chipotle through their "talk 2 us" webpage, "Hey, I have a friend of a friend who your company mails a metal card to month after month with limitless credit on it and bonus paper vouchers for complimentary meals. How is he able to get that and is it possible for me to receive a card like that?"

Reply from Bari Baskin, cc: Mike Duffy, Ronald L Sedillo, Pedro Garberoglio, Alonzo D Cudd, Libby Balsiger, Brian L Brown, Christopher R Cooper, Saadia Y Morales, Alicia Swartz, Ashley Warren, Cara Armstrong, Corey Cox, Jeff Anderson, Joe Stupp, Louisa Frederickson, Pat Kelly, Renee Nunez, Shannon Kyllo, and Austin Roberts:

"Dear K,

Thanks for writing to us. Can you please share with me who the friend is and a photo of what these cards looks like? We have a very few metal cards out there that are generally reserved for sponsorships or goodie bags at high end awards events. We don't send out anything like you have described to anyone on a regular basis. Additionally, I'm not sure what the bonus papers are that you are referencing. I'd love to see a photo of those as well.

If you can please clarify for me so we can look into this further, that would be most helpful. When you respond, feel free to include your mailing address and I'd be happy to send you one of our regular free burrito cards.

I look forward to hearing back from you.



Bari Baskin, Customer Service,
Chipotle Mexican Grill"

My reply to all, "Whoa, how extremely inappropriate and invasive of you to implicitly interrogate then pressure me to invade the privacy of an acquaintance I don't personally know and take photos of his personal property!..."

Bari reacted, cc: Mike Duffy (, Ronald L Sedillo (, Pedro Garberoglio (, Alonzo D Cudd (, Christopher R Cooper (, Saadia Y Morales (, Alicia Swartz (, Ashley Warren (, Austin Roberts (, Bari Baskin (, Cara Armstrong (, Corey Cox (, Jeff Anderson (, Joe Stupp (, Louisa Fredrickson (, Pat Kelly (, Renee Nunez (, Shannon Kyllo (,

"Dear K,

I apologize if you were somehow offended by my response. It was certainly not my intention to be invasive. However, as you wrote to us requesting several different types of cards that would entitle you... and I'm not familiar with what you have described, I needed to ask you some questions to find out specifically what you were referencing looked like. Usually, having a photo is the easiest way to solve the mystery. We have several different types of cards that we use to reward our guests but the way you described these 2 different items did not match anything we have.

We do have metal cards that we issue on very special occasions and it is extremely rare that those are sent out. However, they are not sent out on a monthly basis with any type of balance or credit amount and they always have an expiration date. As for the bonus papers you mentioned, I'm still not sure what those are.

You absolutely don't have to share any information that you are uncomfortable with. However, without providing us more detail for visuals, I can say these are not something that we send out on a regular basis nor would we be able to provide you with anything similar.



Bari L. Baskin, Marketing Consultant,
Chipotle Mexican Grill"

1143 days ago
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