Carla Hall Launches Kickstarter Campaign to Fund Her First N.Y.C. Restaurant

09/24/2014 at 09:28 AM ET

Carla Hall Southern Restaurant
Tristan Mosser

Hootie hoo! Carla Hall announced on Wednesday morning that she’s planning to open her first restaurant in New York City — and, in a somewhat surprising twist, is hoping fans will help fund it through Kickstarter.

The current host of The Chew and former Top Chef contestant is planning to open Carla Hall’s Southern Kitchen, which will focus on Nashville hot chicken, which Hall says in her Kickstarter video will be “fried in a cast iron skillet, tossed in cayenne paste and served on white bread with a dill pickle on top.”

Along with her signature chicken, she’s planning sides like baked mac and cheese, skillet cornbread and braised collard greens. (You can view the full menu here, via The Washington Post.) In an exclusive interview, Hall tells PEOPLE that she’s planning to make all side dishes without meat. “People have a negative connotation about Southern food, they think it’s not healthy, and I want to debunk that myth. Am I calling it ‘health food?’ No, but it’s going to be a lighter version of what you think you know about Southern food,” she said, adding that there will be roast chicken option along with the fried one.

Hall has set a goal to raise $250,000 by October 29 to help build the restaurant’s kitchen. As with most Kickstarter campaigns, donors will be offered a range of incentives, starting with recipe downloads for $1 donations and, at the $10,000 level, the chance to spend a day cooking with Hall. The chef is also offering everyone who gives at least $25 the chance to have their name on the New York restaurant’s Founders’ Wall, as well as on similar walls in future restaurants (she’s hoping to one day go nationwide). “Kickstarter is a great marketing tool but I also needed the confirmation that this is something I’m in with other people, that they really want the restaurant. I want them to vote with their dollars,” Hall says.

In the video, Hall shows off her effusive, down-to-earth personality that’s won her plenty of loyal fans. “This is my hot chicken face. Anybody who’s had hot chicken has a hot chicken face,” she says after biting into a piece, scrunching her features into a look that’s a cross between looking utterly satisfied but also bracing herself (presumably against the intense spice).

Hall also said in the interview that although no location has been confirmed, it’s likely the restaurant will be somewhere in Manhattan. “I have an apartment on the Upper West Side and for practical reasons I want to be able to get to it easily, even if it’s just driving by, otherwise I’m going to be miserable,” she told PEOPLE.

At the end of the video, Hall explained another reason behind her New York aspirations. “These people are running from house to subway to work to subway to house, you know? I just want to give them a warm, comfy spot to escape,” she says, dodging commuters outside Grand Central Terminal.

—Lexi Dwyer

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Showing 12 comments

Amy on

Like she doesn’t make enough money to open it on her own? And I’m sure she could get investors at this point. This is tacky.

hw on

I think this is so greedy of famous people with these kickatart campaigns. They are more than capable of carrying a loan for it. There are people out there homeless or who have medical needs they cant afford cancer treatments and celebrities asking us for $$$ . So terrible

David q Smith on

Carla Hall. I would love to be a part of this restaurant. I lived in NYC. I love NYC. I’m a Chef on SS Disability, and adding a great personality like myself? 😊

Selena on

Tacky, tacky, tacky…….we have people literally dying because they can’t afford healthcare, food, etc., and this chick thinks it’s “ok” to compete for those dollars? Isn’t she on TV every day?? If she can’t get “real” investors, then her cooking must not be very good. Very, very tacky and pathetic!

Anonymous on

It is so hard to watch her cook and eat because she is so tall and skinny. I feel like she only eats in front of the camera then starves when behind it.

lizandrsn on

Oh please, honey, you’re known for being cheap, cheap, cheap (and loud and tacky). Way to proove the point.

And don’t waste too much time on that “going global” thing. If you get this built, you have maybe 2 good years before the rats run you out of NYC. No one is dying for “hot chicken” and you aren’t serving (that gross) hot water corn bread you’re always bragging about? Says it all right there!

ReinaReina on

You’re on a tv show on ABC and own an apartment in the UPPER WEST SIDE. We know you can afford to build your own damn kitchen. I hope the only people investing here are business partners.

Anna on

I’m sorry but how greedy can you get? She has the nerve to ask people for money when she earns WAY more than enough to do this herself? Totally sickening.

Lisa on

I wish her all the best in her new venture. No one is forcing anyone to donate to her campaign. If people want this, they’ll donate. If not, they won’t. You have a celeb that wants to know if people really want what she’s offering…that’s a first.

LT on

I find it very difficult for people to make comments about a person they do not know. First you are assuming she makes a large amount of money because she is on television, Assumption two…How dare any of you talk about her weight…I guess if she were fat , you’d have something to say about that too ( including the food). For those who know her, Carla is a hard working very down to earth person who happens to love love cooking. Before you start talking about something you know nothing about….Say nothing!…Like Momma used to say, ” If you have nothing nice to say about a person, say nothing at all.” Carla…I wish you the best and I will be donating.

Emily on

I like the idea of getting her fans involved in her new business venture but I think going about it this way is tasteless. She does not need to ask fans for their hard earned money to build a restaurant, and if I donated money I would want a little more than she’s offering (especially for 10 grand). I think she needs to find another way, because I don’t see this happening.

charlotte on

I wish her well, but I wouldn’t give a dime to this woman who annoys the living “stuff” out of me. Her asking for money is kind of a slap in the face to those of us who struggle every day with trying to make ends meet. RUDE

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