YouTube famous chef and cookbook author Darius Williams closed his three restaurants in Atlanta and Chicago Sunday night. Williams announced the closures of Soul Crab’s College Park, Georgia, and Chicago locations and Greens and Gravy in Atlanta’s Westview neighborhood via Facebook and Instagram Monday morning.
It appears the restaurants’ websites and official Facebook and Instagram accounts have been deleted. The original Facebook closure post has since been removed from Williams’ official page, and comments on the original Instagram post were deleted or hidden.
“Fam, wanted to take a quick moment to let you know that last night was our last night of business for all three restaurants,” he states in the social media posts. “I know this is sudden and a shock, so I apologize. Wanted to say thank you for everyone that supported the fried chicken, crab legs, fried lobster, and most importantly, my crazy vision.”
On Monday afternoon, Williams appeared in a nearly 20 minute live stream video on Facebook to explain his reasoning behind the closures. The post was later deleted. In the video, the chef cites battling “some mental health issues,” which apparently escalated two weeks ago.
The closures come amid allegations by Georgia’s Department of Law Consumer Protection Division that Above 701, Inc., an LLC owned solely by Williams, “violated the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act for operating an illegal credit repair business.” Georgia’s Secretary of State website lists Above 701 as “Administrative Dissolution”, meaning the company can no longer legally operate in Georgia due to its failure to comply and must “liquidate and pay off its creditors.”
Williams must pay $145,750 as part of the settlement with the state, which alleges Above 701 may have marketed or sold and received payment for “services aimed at improving a buyer’s credit record and history or rating” without providing the service. The judgment also claims the company may have misled people into believing bankruptcies and debts could be “permanently deleted” from their credit records with the service.
As part of the December 2019 judgment, Williams is asked to pay back $110,000 to those who purchased the credit repair service from Above 701, along with a civil penalty of $35,750 to the state of Georgia.
Williams says in the video he was unaware of the laws surrounding credit repair businesses in Georgia and denies that the closures are linked to the judgment against Above 701, alleging the restaurants are not linked to the company.
Eater Atlanta reached out to Williams Monday morning for comment on the closures and on the judgment against Above 701. He has yet to respond to Eater’s request.
Williams opened his Westview neighborhood “modern soul food” restaurant Greens and Gravy on Ralph David Abernathy in 2017, followed by seafood-centric Soul Crab in College Park a year later. Last August, Williams debuted a second location of Soul Crab in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood.
Update, February 11, 7:45 a.m.: This story has been updated with new information regarding Williams’ decision to close the restaurants. Williams has yet to respond to Eater’s request for comment.