(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: UK | View All Season UK Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: June 7, 2005
Momma Cherri's Soul Food Shack Address: 2-3 Little East Street Brighton BN1 1HT United Kingdom
Momma Cherri’s Soul Food Shack was a Brighton, UK restaurant featured on Season 2 of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares in the UK.
Though the Momma Cherri’s Kitchen Nightmares episode aired in June 2005, the actual filming and visit from Gordon Ramsay took place much earlier in 2004.
It was Episode 3 of Season 2 on the UK version.
In this episode, Gordon Ramsay heads to Momma Cherri’s Soul Food Shack in Brighton, England.
Note – the spelling above is correct. It is not Mama Sherry Soul Food Shack or Mama Cherry, as I’ve seen some people spell it.
The restaurant has been open for three and a half years at the time of ‘ole Gordo’s visit.
The restaurant is owned by “momma” Cherri Charita Jones, an American living in the UK.
The restaurant is open seven days a week but hasn’t made any money since the restaurant opened.
To make matters worse, the restaurant is in £65,000 of debt.
Momma Cherri also says that the restaurant has never been profitable the whole time.
This is obviously a big problem if you’re trying to build a successful business and a big part of why the Kitchen Nightmares Mama Cherie episode exists.
The restaurant only has enough money to stay open for another three to six months.
Gordon Ramsay arrives and automatically likes the atmosphere of the restaurant.
Gordon is told by Brian Moyo, the former head chef, that Charita is in charge of the menu.
Gordon orders soul food staples like hushpuppies with pineapple salsa and catfish.
Gordon loves everything and clears his plate.
This is literally the only time that Gordon Ramsay has liked all of the food at a restaurant, though there have been other times where he liked a single dish.
Basically, you’re witnessing Kitchen Nightmares history during the Gordon Ramsay Momma Cherri visit.
The master chef goes back into the kitchen to compliment Charita and tell her that her cooking reminds him of home.
Charita is so overwhelmed by Gordon’s compliments that she begins to cry.
Charita tells Gordon that she preps all the food by herself to save money.
She prepares the food and serves it after a quick reheat in the oven.
Gordon realizes Charita is doing everything, which is actually affecting the other staff at Momma Cherri’s Soul Food Shack.
Brian is losing his motivation because Charita does all the cooking and prep work.
There is nothing left for him to do, so he doesn’t feel any reason to try harder.
Gordon tells Charita her items are priced too high, and she replies that her bank manager was the one who convinced her to do that.
Gordon takes the staff out to the beach to promote the restaurant for a cookout.
It goes very well, in large part because Charita is a natural salesperson.
During dinner, Brian is struggling, and Charita keeps interrupting him.
Gordon visits Brians’s home the next day, and the two cook a new and improved meatloaf dish for the restaurant.
Gordon thinks having a three-course menu will help drive up the mid-week sales.
Gordon takes to the radio to promote Momma Cherri’s Soul Food Shack’s relaunch.
During the relaunch, Charita steps up as a leader and owner.
The staff used to take advantage of her and showed up whenever they pleased.
Charita enacts a new rule; everyone must be on time and be ready to work.
Brian is working in the kitchen, struggling to get everything right for the relaunch.
At the end of the relaunch, the restaurant had taken in £1,000+, which is definitely its best day ever.
So was the Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares Momma Cherri’s episode a long-term success?
Keep reading to learn what happened next and if this American soul food Brighton restaurant is still open in 2023.
Momma Cherri's Soul Food Shack Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the Momma Cherri’s Kitchen Nightmares episode, let’s talk about what happened to the restaurant after Gordon Ramsay and his crew left Brighton.
Two months later, Gordon went back to Momma Cherri’s Soul Food Shack and said the food had improved.
The food also comes out on time, and customers are no longer left to wait.
Momma Cherri’s Soul Food Shack is fully booked at least a month out one year later.
They are doing very well and are very popular.
They’re doing so well, in fact, that the restaurant moves to a new location and changes the name to Momma Cherri’s Big House.
However, things started to go down hill with Momma Cherri’s Big House when Gordon revisited a couple of year’s later.
Gordon inspects the kitchen on his revisit and sees they went back to frozen food.
He is very disappointed in Charita and helps them transition back to fresh food.
The full Momma Cherri’s Gordon Ramsay revisit is on YouTube and I’ve embedded it below. It might not be available to watch in all countries, though.
Next, let’s get to the most important question on your mind…
Is Momma Cherri’s still open?
As you saw it on Kitchen Nightmares, Momma Cherri’s Soul Food Shack closed in 2009, which means it survived for around four years after the Kitchen Nightmares Mama Cherri’s episode.
At the time of its closure, it was doing business as Momma Cherri’s Big House.
Why did Momma Cherri’s close?
Well, it seems like a large part of it was issues with mounting debt, in large part because of the move from Momma Cherri’s Soul Food Shack to Momma Cherri’s Big House.
The restaurant was first put into administration in December 2007, which was when she made the move. It was put into administration because it lacked the needed funding.
In the UK, going into administration means that your company is essentially taken over by an administrator – it’s similar to bankruptcy.
I’m not from the UK, so if I explained that wrong, please let me know in the comments.
Despite that, Momma Cherri’s Big House was able to continue operating under a license in Momma Cherri’s daughter’s name.
However, the restaurant still couldn’t keep up with the costs and was eventually shut down by administrators.
Momma Cherri posted a comment on Reddit where she explained why Momma Cherri’s closed in more detail:
After the massive success of the Gordon Ramsay episode, we moved to larger premises a few doors away.
We were very successful, but we never had any investment from the bank, we didn’t even have an overdraft.
Things levelled off, and then the financial crash of 2008 hit.
Brighton is a tourist town.
We were crazy busy at the weekends, but the week days slowed, and we simply ran out of money.
My daughter sold her flat, and took over the business, but it wasn’t enough.
For a time, the old Momma Cherri’s Brighton location seems to have been occupied by an Indian restaurant named Chaula’s Indian Restaurant Brighton.
However, it seems like that restaurant also might be closed as of 2023, so I’m not sure if they’re still the current tenant.
Here’s what the old Momma Cherry Brighton location looks like in the most recent picture from Google Maps street view:
For some reason, Momma Cherri’s Big House is still listed as open on Google and still receives lots of reviews.
However, I’m fairly sure that it remains closed and Momma Cherri doesn’t have a permanent restaurant as far as I can tell.
I think it’s just Kitchen Nightmares fans who are trying to keep the dream alive haha.
Momma Cherri’s returns in April 2023…for a month
While the version of Momma Cherri’s that you saw on the Kitchen Nightmares episode closed in 2009, Momma Cherri was not done cooking!
In April 2023, Momma Cherri’s Soul Food Shack made a triumphant return to Brighton…but only for one month.
More specifically, it was only open from April 1st to April 26th.
Rather than opening a full restaurant like she did before, Momma Cherri just did a one-month popup restaurant.
She wanted to do the popup restaurant to raise money Macmillan and The Starr Trust, which is a really nice thing to do.
Where is Momma Cherri now?
After Momma Cherri’s Soul Food Shack closed, it seemed like Momma Cherri never really stopped cooking.
In addition to the one-month popup restaurant in Brighton, she’s also had a number of other short-term popups.
In a late 2022 Instagram post, she also said that she’s doing a special brunch every Saturday at a place called The Old Crow.
Here’s the Instagram post and video:
View this post on Instagram
Beyond that, she has her own YouTube channel where she posts recipes and travel vlogs.
Here’s the preview from the Momma Cherri YouTube channel – it’s pretty funny haha:
Momma Cherri posted a comment on Reddit where she explained her motivation behind the YouTube channel:
It was my daughter that suggested that we set up a YouTube channel as I still get emails from people wanting to book a table at the restaurant, or asking for recipes.
I was overwhelmed when I woke up to see that my video had been seen by over 20 thousand people.
I’m going to keep making videos, as I love to cook, and I’m having fun spending time with my daughter.
Beyond the cookbook, she also sells her own spice mix named Momma Cherri Love Dust.
You can learn everything about what’s up with her on the official Momma Cherri website.
Behind her cooking, Momma Cherri has also been doing foster car, which is super nice of her.
She also spent time working at a children’s home for teenagers.
If you want to connect with her, Momma Cherri still posts regularly on her Facebook page.
She’s also active on Instagram if you’d prefer to interact there.
Overall, Momma Cherri seems like a genuinely great person and I wish her all the best.
Momma Cherri’s Big House reviews after Kitchen Nightmares
Unfortunately, I can’t find very many reviews for the Soul Food Shack or the Big House.
I was only able to find a couple of reviews on the Yelp page.
Here they are…
3 star Yelp review from February 2009:
1 star Yelp review from January 2009:
Final thoughts on Momma Cherri’s Soul Food Shack
Overall, it seems like Momma Cherri’s Soul Food Shack failed for business reasons, rather than because the food was bad.
Again, it’s the only time that Gordon Ramsay has liked all the food at a restaurant, which is a very high honor.
Momma Cherri tried to expand by moving from Momma Cherri’s Soul Food Shack to Momma Cherri’s Big House.
However, the money would not work out and it ended up closing in 2009.
Despite closing the restaurant, Momma Cherri has continued to cook and developed a big online presence.
She’s done a number of popup events, culminating in the one-month return of the Momma Cherri’s Soul Food Shack Brighton restaurant in April 2023.
However, because it was just a one-month popup, I’m still leaving the restaurant marked as closed.
That wraps up my Momma Cherie Kitchen Nightmares update.
If you want to see another Kitchen Nightmares soul food restaurant, you might be interested in my Blackberry’s update from the US version.
If you want to see some another Brighton Kitchen Nightmares episode, you might be interested in my update for Ruby Tates / Love’s Fish Restaurant.
And if you want to share your thoughts on Momma Cherri’s Soul Food Shack / Momma Cherri’s Big House, you can do so using the comments section below.
Thanks for reading!
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Last updated: 2023-08-10 07:38