Redding's Cuisine Lures Patrons from Philly To New York
While exploring the world and cooking, Carl lived for a year and a half in Italy. Here he honed his skills and became an expert in authentic Italian cuisine.
Located in the circle of what New Jersey has named the “New Tourist District” in Atlantic City, Redding's attracts patrons from Philadelphia, New York, Delaware and North New Jersey, its owner says.
Redding’s is a spacious restaurant boasting a 40 foot long bar, a stage for weekly karaoke sessions and other social gatherings, numerous large screen TVs and a combination of dining booths and tables. But what sets Redding’s apart from many similar type restaurants is not its size, but the welcoming and warm atmosphere created by its owner – Carl Redding. Carl Redding is a “people person”. He has a genuine interest in assuring each diner an enjoyable dining experience.
The comfort food served at Redding’s is as humble as grilled burgers or an exotic entrée of chitterlings stew. Chef Carl said that, “I cook everything from scratch – no processed foods. I use as many natural and fresh ingredients as possible.”
As testimony to this restaurateur’s popularity, on a recent visit to Redding’s, Atlantic City’s lead prosecuting attorney was seen enjoying brunch with several colleagues – both frequent visitors to Redding’s. The newly appointed Atlantic City Chief of Police, Ernest Jubilee, held a reception after the swearing in ceremony for family and friends at Redding’s.
Chef Carl’s culinary odyssey began at age six, helping his grandmother, Amy Ruth Moore Bass, during his summer visits to his grandparents Gordon, Alabama 300-acre farm. It was here at this tender age that he learned how to make mouth watering southern-style biscuits. This love of cooking continued and really blossomed when he talked the owner of Wilson’s Bakery and Restaurant on 158th Street in Harlem to hire him as a dish washer. From dish washer to managing the cake counter to decorating and baking cakes, the journey had begun in earnest. He learned by watching carefully.
After working for eight years as a personal assistant and Chief of Staff to the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, Carl felt that it was time for new challenges.
He met this challenge when he opened his first restaurant, Amy Ruth’s on 116th Street in Harlem, New York. While this restaurant launched him as a true restaurateur, Chef Carl doesn’t care to dwell on the past, but concentrate on his present restaurant, Redding’s, and did briefly state, “It would take a book for me to describe the Amy Ruth’s experience. I think that a lot of people doubted that I would be able to open a successful restaurant. It became a very successful restaurant and still exists today. This is my fifth restaurant – I am here today eight months.” He’s very appreciative of Sylvia Woods of Sylvia’s Restaurant and Norma Green Darden of Spoonbread, both located in Harlem, for advice and support during Amy Ruth’s formative period.
Chef Carl attended the San Francisco Culinary College. Later, while in the U.S. Marines, stationed in Yakata, Japan, Carl secured his first paid job teaching Japanese women cake decorating. He spent a year and a half there, and still speaks more than passable Japanese.
He is very fluent in Japanese preparation. “This was a very enriching experience” Carl said. Out of the Marines and eager to satisfy his globetrotting urge, Chef Carl also spent a year at the Ann Wigmore Institute for Living Foods in Aquada, Puerto Rico. Ann Wigmore teaches the art of preparing raw foods. Chef Carl said, “The demand becomes relevant when people become ill. A lot of people suffering with cancer adopt this diet. I would recommend that we eat more living foods.”
While exploring the world and cooking, Carl lived for a year and a half in Italy. Here he honed his skills and became an expert in authentic Italian cuisine. Being a real “people person” Carl gives back to the community at every opportunity. A 20-year-old young man, Michael McCline, came into Redding’s one day looking for a job.
Carl said, “I have a good sense of character when hiring people--meeting people. I look for good, clean, honest people who want to work hard and have a good head on their shoulders. I may give you a shot. Michael seemed sincere in his desire to work and I gave him a bus boy job.” This was Michael’s first day on the job and he said, “I like it very much – I’m adapting to it well.” Carl looks forward to a long and prosperous relationship with Michael.
Chef Carl offers this advice to anyone seeking to start their own restaurant business, “know and learn as much as possible about the restaurant – know how to cook and know every aspects of the business – dish washing, maintenance, cooking, etc., and make sure you are fully capitalized.” He went on to explain the reason for knowing all aspects of what you are involved in. If the dishwasher breaks, you’ll have to be able to step up to the plate and clean voluminous dishes; if the cook calls in sick, you’ll have to cook that day or days, if the oven goes out and the maintenance person is out, you’ll have to know what to do to get the oven working.
Redding’s is proof of what can be achieved if you work hard, accept some setbacks, persevere and hold tight to your dreams.
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