He may have brought sexy back, but Justin Timberlake definitely didn’t bring good-tasting food to his new restaurant, Southern Hospitality. On Friday, my husband and I decided to check out the pop/R&B singer’s southern cuisine eatery on the Upper East Side. We had both heard and read stellar reviews about the restaurant and wanted to see if all the hype was warranted. I wanted to call ahead to make reservations because some of the reviews said that one of the downsides was the long waits and in some cases, being turned away due to the throngs of foodies and celebrity stalkers trying to get into the restaurant.
After finding the number on the web, I called and was told by a less than courteous hostess that they were booked for the evening and were no longer taking reservations. I quickly responded, “Are you booked for 3pm?” She said, “No, because we don’t open until 4pm.” Becoming somewhat annoyed I said, “So, are you booked for 4pm?” She went on to say, “No, because no one’s here that early. If you want to come at that time making a reservation would be unnecessary because the place is virtually empty.” I told her, “If you could please take my name down just in case, I would appreciate it.” She obliged and hung up.
We arrived right at 4pm and she was right; the place was empty. However, that didn’t stop the hostess at the front of the house from asking if I had made reservations. I politely told her that I did and she looked on a piece of paper and said, “Ok, wait at the bar while we get your table ready.” Perplexed, I looked at all of the empty wooden booths and tables which already had silverware and wondered why she had asked us to wait. Determined to have a great time, I tried to overlook her reasoning. As we sat on the bar stools gazing at one of the many flat screen TVs and the photos of soul legends like Aretha Franklin adorning the walls, people started to stroll in as if someone had yelled, “Come on in, we’re open now!”
As I watched a couple who came in after us being seated, I immediately approached the hostess. I guess she could sense my frustration so she quickly grabbed our menus and proceeded to seat us. After surveying the menu while being bombarded by dozens of fruit flies swarming around our wooden and quite uncomfortable booth, our waitress came and took our order. For our appetizer we ordered the southern fried chicken fingers (my hubby is a self-proclaimed chicken finger connoisseur!) Surprisingly, our food came out in a timely manner; too bad it was bland and less than appetizing. Hoping for a miracle at this point, for our main course I ordered the fried catfish and my husband ordered the baby back ribs. I must admit, my food was ok, not great and not catastrophic, just ok. On the other hand, my husband’s ribs were TERRIBLE! They were tough, dry and basically meatless. We agreed that the best thing we had eaten were the hand-cut fries. The pink lemonade was sweet and refreshing, but it just couldn’t make up for the poor-tasting food.
So, to all my fellow BGs, if you’re planning to make a visit to JT’s new hot spot, remember, he might be a great singer, dancer and maybe even actor, but southern cuisine is definitely not his thing. If you don’t take my word for it, check it out yourself and let me know what you think.
Here are some other celebrity-owned eateries throughout the US:
Madre’s Restaurant in Pasadena, California owned by the multi-talented Jennifer Lopez.
The Dolce Group (Dolce Enoteca e Ristorante, Bella, Geisha House) in L.A owned by the hilarious actor, Ashton Kutcher.
The Sugar Bar in New York, NY owned by legendary soul-crooners, Ashford & Simpson.
Café Dupri in Atlanta, Georgia owned by hip-hop artist and producer, Jermaine Dupri.
Phone: (404) 846-2773