Blackberry’s Kitchen Nightmares Update (Soul Food) – Still Open in 2022?

Is Blackberry's still open?

Current Status: >> CLOSED <<
(keep reading to learn what happened)

Season: 5 | View All Season 5 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: September 23, 2011
Blackberry's Address: 500 Watchung Ave Plainfield, New Jersey 07060
blackberrys update kitchen nightmares


Episode Recap

Blackberry’s was a Plainfield, New Jersey restaurant featured on season 5 of Kitchen Nightmares.

Though the Blackberry’s Kitchen Nightmares episode aired in September 2011, the actual visit from Gordon Ramsay happened earlier in the year.

It was Season 5 Episode 1 of Kitchen Nightmares.

In this episode, Gordon Ramsay visits Blackberry’s Soul Food restaurant in Plainfield, NJ, which is a bedroom suburb of New York City.

Note, it’s spelled as Blackberry’s Restaurant – not Blackberries Restaurant.

Oh, my Gordon! Dead rodents and gag worthy food are afoot when Nightmare’s Kitchen visits Blackberry’s Catering And Family Restaurant in Plainfield New Jersey.

This one has the makings of a food horror story. Just goes to show you that when Gordon Ramsay is on the case, you never know what little shop of horrors we will see.

The backstory of Blackberry’s almost could be one of the American Dream.

Shelly Withers, the Blackberry’s restaurant owner, was running a successful catering business and decides to take the next leap and open her own restaurant.

Note – some other posts refer to her as Shelly Winters. But her last name is Withers – not Winters.

Using her mother’s retirement fund (Mama Mary), Shelly begins what she thinks is the perfect restaurant.

She runs her dream with an iron fist, confused that what she thinks is the perfect location, and perfect menu cannot attract the customers.

$200,000 dollars in debt later, we call in our man Gordon Ramsay for the Kitchen Nightmares Blackberry’s episode.

However, I think this was one restaurant he wishes he had skipped.

Impressed with the town, but not the gaudy decor of Blackberry’s, he steels his courage and samples what the restaurant has to offer.

He then orders the smothered pork chop, the collard greens, chitlins, mac and cheese, chitlins, and red velvet cake.

Now being a good southern boy, my mouth was watering at the culinary potential that Gordon was about to experience.

Man, was I wrong; I am pacifist unto the Lord and not that big on the death penalty, but here I would make an exception.

This was a crime against culinary humanity.

The pork is dry, the pasta is mushy, the chitlins smell funny and the greens are bland.

Spitting these straight out he runs to the bathroom and gags.

All is not lost, the Red Velvet cake is divine (one of the few times he liked the food on Kitchen Nightmares), so the disaster of a lunch experience is over.

To be honest, if I were Chef Ramsay, I would be on my way to the next client.

But either the producers wouldn’t let Gordon leave, or Ramsay doesn’t give up easy.

That evening he returns to the scene of the culinary crimes.

He is greeted at the door by one of Mickey Mouse’s dead relatives. A dead mouse.

Right there, I am gone, but hey, they don’t pay me to be the chef on Kitchen Nightmares.

Now, everyone knows Gordon, a top-notch, respected chef. A chef followed around by cameras.

So you would think that Shelly and the General Manager would just offer up an explanation or solution to keep it from happening again.

Not so here, my Gordo-fans.; they accuse our Shakespeare of the salty language of planting the dead rodent!

Right there, I would have cut cameras and left. But it just gets better.

The restaurant staff accuses Shelly of being the Restaurant Hitler and running the back with an iron fist.

She tells the ones that “rat” (sorry, couldn’t help that) on her to leave, but soon Gordon reaches the crux of the problem.

A combination of poor equipment (A pizza oven and a wok for Southern food, really?) and her domineering attitude are the root causes of the rotten Blackberry’s.

Shelly wants nothing to do with the changes and storms off, leaving Gordon to fix the problems with her mother and the General Manager.

Redecorating and new equipment soon shores up an improved menu.

Things are now rocking in the new and improved Blackberry’s and low and behold Shelly returns.

Once again Gordon saves the day, though, and it seems like things are looking up for Blackberry’s Restaurant in Plainfield, NJ.

So was the Blackberry’s Kitchen Nightmares visit a success? Keep reading our update to learn what happened next and if it’s still open in 2022 and beyond.


Blackberry's Update - What Happened Next?

Now that we’ve recapped the Blackberry’s Kitchen Nightmares episode, let’s talk about what happened to the restaurant after Gordon Ramsay and his crew left Plainfield, NJ,

After the changes, reviews for Blackberry’s were a bit hit or miss.

Some reviewers praised the restaurant, even calling it a “phoenix rising from the ashes”.

While there were ups and downs, I would say that the Yelp reviews generally seemed to show some positive improvements.

Sadly, it would not be enough to save the restaurant.

Is Blackberry’s still open in 2022?

Blackberry’s Restaurant closed its doors for good in March 2013, which was around 1.5 years after the Blackberry Restaurant Kitchen Nightmares episode aired on TV.

In an interview explaining the closure, the Blackberry’s owner had this to say:

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

In another message, the Blackberry’s staff said that the restaurant was unable to content with an economic downturn and struggled because of a lack of parking.

As of 2022, the old Blackberry’s Plainfield, NJ location has been filled by a bakery called Un Nuevo Renacer Bakery.

Reviews seem average but the restaurant has been successful so far where Blackberry’s failed.

What happened to Shelly Withers from Kitchen Nightmares?

Shelly Withers was the Blackberry’s owner from the Kitchen Nightmares episode. Again, her last name is Withers – not Shelly Winters.

After Blackberry’s closed, she got a job at Aramark working as the Kitchen Manager/Lead.

If you’re not familiar with Aramark, it’s a big company behind a lot of food places (e.g. college cafeterias and stuff).

So it appears that Shelly Withers is still involved in the food industry, even if she doesn’t have her own restaurant.

Shelly also has a side business making custom rhinestone t-shirts, named Absolutely Bling. You can see her Facebook post about it here.

What happened to Mateen from the Blackberry’s Kitchen Nightmares episode?

Mateen Booker was the sous chef at Blackberry’s who was actually competent. He has remained in the restaurant industry since Blackberry’s closed.

Currently, he’s the executive chef at OTG management, but he’s also worked as a chef at The Standard Hotels and Sunset Beach.

He’s been with OTG Management since 2016, so Mateen seems to be doing well there.

You can learn more about how Mateen is doing on his LinkedIn page.

Final Thoughts on the Blackberry’s Episode

Blackberry’s Soul Food restaurant seemed to have decent reviews after Gordon Ramsay’s visit.

However, it would not be enough to save it as Blackberry’s closed in March 2013.

Shelly Withers, the Blackberry’s owner, now works at Aramark.

Mateen Booker, the sous chef, is working as an executive chef.

If you want to se some other New Jersey Kitchen Nightmares episodes, you can check out these posts:


More Information

https://www.yelp.com/biz/blackberrys-catering-and-family-restaurant-plainfield




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Last updated: 2022-07-16 03:29

31 thoughts on “Blackberry’s Kitchen Nightmares Update (Soul Food) – Still Open in 2022?”

All comments are the sole opinion of the commenter and are not endorsed by RealityTVUpdates.

  1. I agree with you 100%. Some people have to be seen to be believed. Obviously used to getting her way, it is humanly painful to watch . They deserve the best, you know!
    I wish everyone well. And Chef Ramsey, you are a trouper!

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  2. I just saw the episode for the first time today. Shelly can say what she wants to, but her attitude and her unwillingness to embrace change was more than likely the down fall of the restaurant after the show aired. The public saw how you were with your staff, and mother and Gordon Ramsey who completely renovated your entire kitchen an upgraded your tacky decor just so you can act totally ungrateful. Who the hell cooks greens in a WOK!!!

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  3. Chef Restauranter Ramsay has the same unfortunate job of surgery on a dying cancer patient. His long-term success record is better than the oncology surgeon’s and better than the average restaurant’s life. It’s an extremely tough industry.

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  4. Shelly was so ungrateful and fake. She felt her poop doesn’t stink. Her mother was a sweetheart and so embarrassed of her daughters antics. Sorry for Mom but Shelly needs an attitude adjustment. Shelly is so ungrateful.

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  5. I think it’s a shame that her mother used her retirement money to help her daughter open that restaurant, and she couldn’t even appreciate it enough to work with her staff to keep it open. I feel real bad for her mother.

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  6. Years later and I’m going to post my opinion. To me the worst part of this was her mom investing 200k her entire savings. How heartbreaking. Then her staff oh wow what a disaster I hope all of them have found something worthy. The best thing that could have happened was that place close down. Shelly herself said it best at the end of that episode “ The truth is the light”.

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  7. Lets be honest! It WAS a planted mouse. Note NO other mouses were observed during the episode. Complete plant.

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    • Bahaha it’s Shelly. What other educated person is dimwitted enough to say MOUSES seriously? Planted. Yea I’m so sure that a man of his stature with a respectable reputation, would need to PLANT a mouse. I literally can’t with this comment! Ignorance and lack of education shows bud. And all I have to say about Shelly… Karma. YOU GET WHAT YOU GIVE to the world. If u disagree, then I have to say that you are “just another Shelly”. Or to be politically correct in this day and age, it would be said as “just another Karen” 😉 This episode is one of the ones I have trouble with, all that help and to act like a child that didn’t get the toy the begged for while at the store… Ramsey is THE MAN. a very successful man. Where do y’all think Shelly is now? Oh and I did think this was the worst of the worst…. But then the ABC episode aired. No comment. Left me without a single word, that’s how taken aback I was by the behavior I witnessed!

      Add me on Instagram: LilMissPuma

      Reply
    • The workers admitted there were mice all over the place. The way Ramsey saw the mouse was a little suspicious . Anyone else would have walked right by it. If he was searching for something wrong it would have been easier to accept. Then again, If the exterminator put out poison instead of traps finding a dead mouse is more possible.

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    • I don’t think so. It was likely poisoned and ran in to find water.

      Shelly was one of the most unpleasant people to ever appear on this series
      .

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  8. I’ve worked in Reality TV so I know that it’s not exactly what it seems. Events get ginned up. While there’s no script, there’s often an outline. However, personalities do come thru & very often that’s exactly what the production is aiming for. When you see people like Shelly, they’re often very fragile people, but they are also people who are not really hungry for success. They’re actually playing & may, in fact, be afraid of success. One thing you get from Gordon Ramsey’s bio is that he’s a man who was starving for success… & still is. People with talent + starving for success + the business sense to achieve it in more than one field are a rare breed. It’s why I watch Chef Ramsey.

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    • Beautifully said. I know a few of these people who are frightened of success and sabotage every attempt to help them. Also it wasn’t her money. People always love to fail with other people’s money. I truly pity the mother.

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  9. She had it coming, ramsay came to help her (people would kill for that opportunity) and she decided to be rude about it. Totally deserved. I feel bad for all her personnel tho, i really hope they are doing fine

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  10. I felt so bad for shelly’s mother and her staff the entire episode. I’m not surprised the restaurant closed down. I wouldn’t want to go there after seeing her behavior.

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  11. I hope Mary is doing okay currently. Shelly is absolutely ungrateful, if I had the chance of getting Gordon to fix my restaurant I would jump at it. But sadly, some people are just entitled and not cut out for the restaurant business. Sad.

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  12. I just have to wonder what happened to the mother. She put her retirement savings into the restaurant. After her ungrateful childish daughter stomped her workers down and made sure of failure she didn’t seem worried about her mom. To treat Ramsey like that then telling customers how she likes it was gross

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  13. I’ve noticed when the articles get updated the old info rarely gets deleted so it becomes hard to tell what is new info until you reach the comments.

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  14. Shelley doesn’t deserve success and certainly didn’t deserve the greatness that episode bestowed upon her. She belongs in kindergarten.

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  15. I think before Ramsey showed up the only edible things from Blackberry’s came from Mother Mary, an update on her would have been nice but I’m happy Mateen Booker is doing well!
    I also believe the restaurant could never stay successful as long as Shelly was involved.

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  16. She kept laughing wasn’t serious at all. What I don’t get is WHY folks wait so LONG to ask for help??? They often wait until it’s too late……Shelly is overbearing Uber dominate & that’s not easy to be & be part of a TEAM

    Reply

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