This was posted Monday, March 6, 2017 by Rodney Ho on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
Old Lady Gang restaurant in Atlanta at 177 Peters Street will have a soft opening in about two weeks, Kandi Burruss told me yesterday at her Buckhead clothing shop TAGS Boutique during a book signing for her "Real Housewives of Atlanta" castmate Sheree Whitfield.
"We actually are hiring now," Kandi said. (You can sign up here to stay up to date.)
Kandi isn't planning a big blow out party for a few weeks. She doesn't want to overwhelm the staff early on. She wants them to work out the kinks without too much pressure and ensure the food and service are solid. The whole concept is based on a trio of her family members' Southern cuisine: Aunt Nora, Aunt Bertha and her own Mama Joyce. She describes the look as "rustic industrial."
She and her husband Todd Tucker originally wanted to open her Old Lady Gang restaurant eight months ago, as shown earlier in season nine of "Real Housewives of Atlanta." But issues with fixing up the place, license and permit delays and all the nuances of putting together an eatery for the first time were far more challenging than she and her husband had anticipated.
But she said she'd rather get it right than rush into it. "It's exciting. It's a new venture. We've never done this before. We just want to do it right because a lot of people are just waiting for us to do something wrong so they can talk crazy about us. We want to make sure everything is perfect. First impressions are your best impressions."
They have hired a manager but Todd is still handling a lot of the gory details. "It's our baby," she added.
She wants the restaurant to do as well as her boutique, which has been around for eight years. It started in Smyrna but moved to a more prime location in Buckhead a few years back. (Burruss's store manager Hortense "Peaches" Chin has been there since day one.) Kandi said the store does well and the location off Peachtree next to Houston's is convenient for tourists.
Kandi wanted to support Sheree book and help her own store out by holding the event there. Sheree was able to get the word out via social media and an interview with V-103 last week so there were lines there for more than two hours. She kept on signing well past the 3 p.m. cut off.
Sheree, who feels I write negative things about her frequently, declined to talk to me about her fiction book or anything for that matter.
But Kandi has no beef. She did have a long-time beef with former Xscape group mate LaTocha Scott that goes back at least a decade. Kandi said since the New Edition miniseries a few weeks ago on BET, people have inundated the four members with requests to reunite. She was finally willing to move forward after receiving a sincere apology from Scott. Kandi is amazed how excited people are about them going back on the road for the first time in two decades.
Kandi was not looking forward to last night's episode, where she and Porsha went at it again, this time in Maui. Porsha spread all sorts of weird rumors about Kandi, including wanting to drug her and take her to a sex dungeon.
She said the entire season was painful for her. She was in the center of the action more than any previous season, frequently sparring with Porsha Williams, hitting a peak two weeks ago when Porsha said Todd was cheating on her.
"This year, I've had more conflicts than I've ever been," she said. "It's been crazy. I'm very tired of it."
Although the show has not been shooting for a few months, she has to re-live what was shot last year. So she said the stress is repeated again. "You're reliving it and all the fans are on the sidelines, Team whatever they are." She only gets a few weeks off when the show is either not shooting or not airing.
The reunion show will be taped soon and it's typically an all-day marathon. "I hate the reunion shows," she said. "It's going to be so stressful. Every year, I'm always stressed leading up to it. This year, even more so because I feel like I'm going to have drama with everything that is brought up."
She said she will try her best to not get that angry. She said she plans to give herself a pep talk in the mirror, saying, "Don't allow them to get under your skin!" "But sometimes it gets out of control," she added.
The thing she doesn't appreciate about Porsha is when she's "put on blast, she'll try to cover it up with a lie. Instead of just owning it, she'll come out of the blue going crazy. I don't like that."
Phaedra Parks just likes to "throw the rock and hide her hands," Kandi said. Normally, she is a gossip hound but doesn't normally get caught on camera saying salacious stuff. In this case, Phaedra spreading rumors about Kandi sleeping with Shamea Morton were captured and she had no idea the cameras were rolling. "Although it wasn't true, I'm glad they caught it on tape because people say she has done stuff off camera people don't know about. People would say she never does anything to me, that I only do stuff to her. No. She's really doing stuff. Now you finally get see that. Talking bad about me and trying to turn people against me. It's not cool."
Kandi is fine either way if NeNe Leakes and/or Kim Zolciak return to the show. She thinks the show is good with them or without them.
She has no idea why it's been so difficult for the show to find new cast members. "I don't know what they're looking for," she said. "I feel like you never know who might turn it up for you.".