MAPLEWOOD, NJ - The long-anticipated opening of Cornbread, a new farm-to-table restaurant on Springfield Ave. in Maplewood serving traditional American soul food cuisine, held its official grand opening and ribbon cutting on Monday.
The celebration began on the second floor of the restaurant with Tara Dowdell on behalf of Cornbread welcoming and thanking local government officials, the Springfield Avenue Partnership, and Maplewood Chamber of Commerce for all of their support and encouragement in securing the location, remodeling the restaurant, and the opening of Cornbread.
Dowdell recognized Maplewood Mayor Vic DeLuca for his assistance in guiding them through the approval process and Julie Doran, Executive Director of the Springfield Avenue Partnership, for her support throughout the process as well.
Essex County Executive Jospeh DiVincenzo addressed the crowd, praising the efforts of Adenah Bayoh, the owner of Cornbread, on opening this new restaurant in Maplewood.
DeLuca shared a little about the background on how Cornbread came to be, explaining, “Adenah came to us with an idea to do some residential development and we said, 'we want you to come and start a business here.' We brought her up and down [Springfield] Avenue and sure enough we worked with her and she bought this building and fixed it up, and now we’re opening it up as Cornbread. It’s very, very exciting!"
Bayoh spoke briefly, thanking her partner Elzadie Smith, and her parents. Cornbread's recipes come from Elzadie Smith, whose family even cooked during the first week that Cornbread opened when the chef was unavailable. “Challenges knock you down, but you get up, the Village all came together and we did it. God is with all of us, and we pulled it off," said Bayoh.
An invocation was offered by Reverend Evans L. Spanger, Elzadie Smith’s pastor, prior to the ribbon being cut. After the ribbon cutting, all joined together for a celebratory lunch.
Bayoh said Maplewood is an ideal location for Cornbread. “I wanted to launch Cornbread in a diverse community that has an urban feel… one that’s a central location for the surrounding towns. I was scouring towns and potential locations, and the diner was a no go," said Bayoh.
"Initial negotiations didn't’ work out, so we walked away," continued Bayoh. "In all it took about 6 to 7 years to get it together. I kept the dream alive and waited until everything fell into place. Then it took two-and-a-half years to build it."
Bayoh, who also has three IHOP restaurants in Irvington, Newark, and Patterson, is experienced in the food industry, and hopes to open additional Cornbread locations in the future.
The restaurant sources meat, fish, and produce from over 120 small-production, family-owned businesses in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, according to the Cornbread website.
"We are cooking fresh food every day…all locally sourced from small farms. All our chicken is organically grown. I wanted to create a place where people can go and eat soul food and the food is made fresh every day using ingredients that have integrity," shared Bayoh.
Cornbread is located at 1565 Springfield Avenue in Maplewood.