BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
Queensbridge native and acclaimed hip hop star Nasir “Nas” Jones is eyeing his home neighborhood of Long Island City to debut a new restaurant.
A Sweet Chick chain restaurant—which is known for its fried chicken and waffles—is expected to open along Vernon Boulevard in February 2018, making it the first of the chain’s sites in Queens.
Sweet Chick founder and CEO John Seymour said that when he first met with Nas to bring Sweet Chick to life in 2015, the duo had original plans to invest in Nas’ home borough. Due to a lack of rental space at that time, Sweet Chick first opened in Prospect Park, Williamsburg, the Lower East Side and Los Angeles. The upcoming restaurant will be located in a 1,500-square-foot space at 46-42 Vernon Blvd., which is not too far from Queensbridge Houses, where Nas was raised.
Unlike the other locations, the Queens Sweet Chick will feature a backroom inspired by Nas’ father, Olu Dara, who was a jazz trumpeter in the mid-20th century. The backroom, which would be open to the public only during specific hours and available for private parties, will feature dark leather booth seating and iconic jazz photos along the walls.
“Since partnering with Sweet Chick, I’ve always wanted to take it back to my roots, and now it’s finally happening with the Long Island City store,” Nas said in an interview with Billboard. “That’s where I grew up. We are also paying respect to my father, who’s a now-retired jazz artist, with a private dining room inspired by jazz clubs where chicken and waffles were born.”
The brunch menu will offer a standard fried chicken and Belgian waffle plate for $16, while the dinner menu will feature a number of $18 chicken and waffle combinations, from General Tso chicken on rice and broccoli waffle to fried parmesan chicken on a parmesan waffle.
In addition to chicken and waffle dishes, Sweet Chick also serves such items as duck, meatloaf, steak, shrimp and grits and cornmeal-crusted catfish.
During brunch hours, it serves a waffle platter, eggs Benedict, steak and eggs, house-made granola and smoked pork hash.
According to previously published reports, the establishment is looking to hire residents of Queensbridge Houses or nearby neighborhoods.
Nas is one of the most acclaimed hip hop stars of the 1990s. His debut, Illmatic, is considered one of the genre’s greatest records, while other albums—such as It Was Written and Stillmatic—were also best sellers and highly rated by critics.
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400 x144, email@example.com or @reporter_ariel.