I first ate at B. Smith Restaurant in the summer of 2010. I’d often watched her prepare classic American soul food on her popular TV show B. Smith Style and I was eager to sample the fare at her namesake eatery in the Theatre District. A friend and I had planned a night out, and being that we were two black girls with tickets to see Kerry Washington perform in Mamet’s play Race, we decided it’d be fun to make the night a celebration of strong African American women. The food, of course, would be soul food – the best in the city, we decided, and B. Smith did not disappoint. The cuisine, service and decor were everything we’d hoped for. There was even a band playing New Orleans speakeasy type jazz. We had a grand time.
I was sad to learn recently that B. Smith is being forced out of her 46th Street space by a ludicrous 350% rent increase. This would mean that their current rent of around $13,500 will increase over the next 5 years to over $50,000. 25 years ago, B. Smith was credited with bringing fine food and a sense of vibrance to what was then a barren neighbourhood.
When the restaurant recently celebrated its first quarter century, B. and her husband Dan Gasby hosted the USO, who they’ve supported for many years. I had the pleasure of meeting this famous couple and experiencing their trademark hospitality once again.
Let’s all hope that the Theatre District does not lose this American institution.
B.Smith Restaurant Row
320 West 46th Street
New York, NY 10036
For reservations call (212) 315-1100