Chef Casey Jenkins says being an African-American in the hospitality business has been tough. (Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun video)
Darker Than Blue, a soul food concept restaurant, will reopen next year in the Northwood Plaza Shopping Center near Morgan State University.
Its owner, chef Casey Jenkins, said the 180-seat restaurant will occupy a 2,200-square-foot space and will mimic the same white-tablecloth concept as the original Darker Than Blue on Greenmount Avenue, which closed in 2013.
Expect the same shrimp and grits, blackened tilapia with Louisiana-style cream sauce, and chicken and waffles. Dish prices will be around $22, according to Jenkins.
“It is going to be hip and it is going to be chic,” he said.
The Northwood Plaza Shopping Center will be a good location for the restaurant because of its proximity to the Towson area, which is where the majority of Jenkins’ customers came from, he said.
Originally, Jenkins wanted to move to a mixed-use development in Charles Village at 33rd and St. Paul streets. But a delay with that project resulted in Jenkins focusing his attention on his other concept, Birdland Sports Bar & Grill on Belair Road. He now plans to sell that business and focus on Darker Than Blue, he said.
“I did some research. I knew I couldn’t open a restaurant in New York. It was just too expensive. There was an actual boom in tourism in Baltimore. … I fell in love with the damn city and never left,” Jenkins said with a laugh. “It’s such an awesome city.”