Celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson plans to open a new attraction in the heart of Overtown.
Samuelsson, the restaurateur who several years ago converted a New York hair care supply shop into the celebrated Red Rooster Harlem, aims to set up a southern-inspired restaurant and supper club in a renovated pool hall on Northwest Second Avenue. The building once belong to the late Overtown nightlife impresario Clyde Killens and was recently repaired by the Southeast Overtown Park West Community Redevelopment Agency.
Samuelsson Development Group won the right Wednesday evening to negotiate an agreement with the CRA to occupy the venue. In its application to a competitive solicitation, the company stated that the history of the building played a large role in Samuelsson’s interest, as does the hope of becoming a linchpin of the revitalization of Overtown’s once thriving nightlife.
“The Overtown community is one that we’ve come to experience as one of rich history and promise,” Derek Fleming, the company’s managing partner, wrote in a letter to the director of the redevelopment agency.
A Samuelsson spokeswoman has declined requests for interviews. But the company’s application laid out plans to turn the two-story, 7,600-square-foot shell into a “premier dining and entertainment destination, embracing and inspired by the history of Overtown.”
Subject to negotiations, Samuelsson envisions running full-service kitchens on both floors, with the main dining space and open kitchen on the ground floor and music performance space and private dining venue upstairs. A roof deck is also considered. The menu was described as southern-inspired, with Caribbean, African and Latin influences.