Malone’s restaurant headed for makeover

Chef Irvin Williams

Malone’s restaurant headed for makeover
April 27
06:00 2017



While the sign on the door of Malone’s has read “closed” for the past two weeks, according to Chef Irvin Williams, soon the restaurant will be back and better than ever.  Malone’s is scheduled to reopen on Saturday, May 13.

The soul food restaurant located in the Ogburn Station Shopping Center opened its doors last fall with help from a city loan program called Revitalizing Urban Commercial Centers. Following initial issues with construction, Malone’s, which is owned by Bernetta Oakes, got off to a fast start but quickly saw that come to a screeching halt.

During a visit to the restaurant in late December, Oakes mentioned she had already brought in an entirely new cooking staff and several customers complained about the consistency in the food.

A few weeks ago, Oakes called Williams in to help turn things around at the restaurant and bring customers back in. Williams, a private chef and owner of Nola Catering in Greensboro, said when he got the call from Oakes, she originally asked was he looking for a job, not knowing that Williams owned his own business.

He said after speaking with Oakes for almost an hour and doing research on Malone’s, he decided to lend a helping hand. Williams said he decided to help Oakes after reading and seeing all the negative publicity the restaurant has gotten over the years.

“I had never seen a city government publicize a loan the way they did Malone’s. That’s what got me fired up,” continued Williams. “Here we have a black woman trying to give back to the community and not getting the support she deserves from the community. I wanted to come in and change that.”

Along with his 31 years of experience in all aspects of the food industry, Williams said he will also be bringing in a new executive chef. He plans to hire other chefs to operate the serving line as well. According to Williams, the chefs will rotate throughout the week. He said having chefs running the serving lines works better because they can answer any questions about the food a customer may have.

“If someone comes up and asks what’s in the green beans, if you have a regular server, one of two things is going to happen and they’re both wrong,” said Williams. “They’re going to yell in the kitchen and ask the chef or say they don’t know. When you have a chef working the serving line you don’t have those problems.

“I wanted to bring in people who are passionate about what they do because that’s what makes a restaurant,” Williams said.

As for the loan from the city, according to Evan Raleigh, the city’s director of business and inclusion, Oakes has not missed any payments to the city. The representative for the Northeast Ward, Vivian Burke, who is a big supporter of the rebirth of the Ogburn Station neighborhood, could not be reached for comment as of Tuesday, April 25.

Williams said customers can expect, when Malone’s reopens, consistent flavorable food, great customer service and an inviting family atmosphere. Although Oakes will maintain ownership of the restaurant, Williams said he will always be in the shadows watching.

“I will always be in the back watching,” said Williams. “Whichever way it comes I will not let anyone criticize Malone’s ever again.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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