The last time that Fat City spoke with chef Joseph Clark, the restaurateur was hoping that the midtown restaurant he's opening with his father, Dr. Granville Clark, and brother Robert Clark would be open in January. Joseph Clark now says he's got a drop-dead date for Clark's American Caribbean Restaurant: March 1.
"We're just waiting for our final approval from the Health Department," says Joseph Clark, who moved back to his hometown a year ago from Atlanta (where he was working as a personal chef) to open the new business with his family.
The Clarks had their work cut out for them after signing the lease for the space at 3623 Broadway early last year. The location had been a restaurant for many decades, ranging from Sidney's Diner as far back as the 1950s to Chubby's in the 1970s and, more recently, New Tandoor Cafe and Royal Kabob King. "There was some grease in the kitchen that I'm sure dated back to the Sidney's era," says Joseph Clark, who will be the executive chef of the new restaurant; his sous chef will be Crystal Cherry Powell, a friend of Clark's since high school.
Renovation of the iconic Broadway location has been expensive: in addition to painting the place, including the kitchen, from floor to ceiling, the restaurant space required a new hood for the stove, a new grease trap, many new appliances - including deep-fryers for the venue's fried-chicken dinners. There will be lots of old-fashioned soul food on Clark's menu: fried chicken, fried fish, smothered pork chops, stewed oxtails, oven-baked brisket - and all the traditional side dishes. The Caribbean menu will feature curried goat, Cuban-style pork roast, brown stew fish, jerk chicken and mojo chicken.
"Joseph Clark is very meticulous about everything," says the building's owner Greg Patterson. "The reason the restaurant has taken so long to open is that he wants everything to be perfect."
To sustain that need for perfection, Clark's American Caribbean Restaurant will serve only lunch for the first month, adding dinner service in April and, after that, Sunday brunch. The Clarks have applied for a liquor license but plan to open as an alcohol-free venue, at least for the first few weeks.
The lunch menu features a variety of sandwiches and salads, and both American and Caribbean-style entrees ranging in price from $6.95 for red beans and rice with Andouille sausage to $8.95 for a fried-chicken dinner with two side dishes.