If you tuned into “Live With Kelly & Ryan” on Wednesday morning then you saw that Harlem chef, Melba Wilson, was filling in for Kelly Ripa. The co-host announced on air (and on her Instagram) that she’ll be expanding her chicken and waffle empire to New Jersey. More specially, Melba Wilson will be opening an outpost on Broad Street in Newark, NJ.
Who is Melba Wilson?
Wilson is an acclaimed chef, TV personality, author, philanthropist and the founder of an iconic establishment in Harlem. She opened her first restaurant, Melba’s Restaurant, in 2005 and it’s now considered by some an institution. (She’s served the likes of Zendaya and even the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.)
The motivation was to create an eatery that was an ode to her historically Black neighborhood’s culture, people and overall significance in American history. With this new addition in Newark, she hopes to serve the local community in a similar way.
American Comfort Food Comes to Newark
Aptly named Melba’s 550, the woman-run restaurant will be located inside the former First National State Bank at 550 Broad Street, owned by Fidelco Realty Group. As such, goers can expect original bank vault seating. Although, the historic building is currently undergoing a gut renovation and will be getting a new lobby and entrance. In addition to an eatery, Melba’s 550 will also offer a separate coffee shop and a special takeout window.
BIG ANNOUNCEMENT 📣
The “Queen Bee of Chicken and Waffles” is expanding! Coming later this year @melbasrestaurants opens in Newark, NJ. 🙏🏾💜🎉#melbasharlem #melbasnewark #melbasrestaurant #chefmelba #announcement #newrestaurant #southerncooking #soulfood #leasesigned pic.twitter.com/adPclpEz92
— Melba Wilson (@melbasharlem) March 9, 2022
As far as the overall design, Wilson will be bringing in the award-winning Rockwell Group—known for spaces such as Vandal, Nobu Downtown and Gato, among many others. In terms of what will be on the menu, details have yet to be released. However, we can assume the restaurant will be serving up some iteration of Wilson’s signature American, Southern-inspired cuisine.
When Will Melba’s 500 Open?
Melba’s 550 is expected to open its doors in Newark by the end of 2022.
Excited about welcoming Melba Wilson to the Newark, NJ neighborhood? Let us know in the comments?
About the Author/s
The New Jersey Digest is a new jersey magazine that has chronicled daily life in the Garden State for over 10 years.