TV chef takes reins of struggling restaurant

TV chef takes reins of  struggling restaurant
June 15
05:00 2017

After closing its doors for a few weeks to make changes to the menu and staff, Malone’s, the soul food restaurant located in the Ogburn Station shopping center, has reopened with a new name and attitude to go along with it.

Under the watchful eye of private chef Irvin Williams and the new moniker Taste of the Triad, the revamped soul food spot promises to serve all the classics, like collard greens, macaroni and cheese and pinto beans in an atmosphere that is welcoming to all.

Williams, who has appeared on Food Network television shows “Cutthroat Kitchen” and “Chopped,” was brought on to help owner Bernetta Oakes turn things around at Malone’s in April when she saw the restaurant going down the wrong path.

“After doing research, I felt the need to lend a helping hand and turn things around and I feel like we’re headed in the right direction,” said Williams. “We have good food, good people, and a good atmosphere. Now all we need is the support of the city.”

Although Oakes is still a silent partner, shortly after agreeing to help turn things around the reins of the restaurant were handed over to Williams and the transformation process was underway.  Along with the name change, Williams also brought with him chefs who he personally trained and worked with in the past.

As for the menu, while still cooking up all the favorite soul food delights, Williams says Taste of the Triad has the ability to serve healthy soul food as an alternative to the unhealthy foods that have been known to cause diabetes and other illnesses. 

“When you come to Taste of the Triad, you get to eat the food that your momma was cooking that you love without weighing on your hypertension or diabetes,” Williams said.

While he admits the restaurant is still a work in progress, during an interview with The Chronicle Williams said his goal is to make Taste of the Triad the city’s go-to spot for healthy soul food. He also mentioned the possibility of expanding into local schools to provide healthy meals for children in need and catering private affairs.

“If everything goes as planned and we get the support of the community, Taste of the Triad should be able to expand into K through 12 by doing healthy lunches for kids as well as breakfast and be able to do take-out orders where you can still get a healthy meal,” he said. “Our goal is to have the ability to cover all aspects of food service.” 

Although expansion may be in the distant future, many residents have already noticed the turnaround at the restaurant located at the former site of Bell Brothers Cafeteria, a popular restaurant in the ’80’s and early ’90’s. While finishing his meal with his family last week, longtime city resident Thomas Jones raved about the changes and vowed to tell others about the hidden gem.

“The whole atmosphere has changed and you can see that when you walk through the door. I think I’ve found my new favorite restaurant,” Jones laughed.

Taste of the Triad is located at 4320 Old Walkertown Road. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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