A regular patron of Marshall Street Café since it opened in 2006, Yolanda Crewe has celebrated her sister's birthday at the Jackson Ward restaurant and she met her husband there. When it reopened in March — a little more than nine months after an SUV crashed into the front of the building, nearly demolishing the structure — Crewe was there to help celebrate.
"We love this place," she says. "I'm glad to see the place open again."
Marshall Street originally debuted as a subsidiary of Bosschi Catering & Concessions, co-owned by Gary Boss and Chima Ugworji. But after the crash on June 5, 2010, they were forced to close it. Fortunately, no one was injured. After extensive reconstruction and renovation, the owners officially re-opened the Marshall Street Café & Jazz Bistro (23 W. Marshall St., 269-3537) on March 18.
Rebuilding "took longer than what we thought," Boss says. "We had a vision that we would increase our space," by adding a dining room on the second floor. But because the building is a historic landmark, they needed to restore it to its original state. The owners updated the inside décor, using warm, neutral colors with gold accents, and candles and low lighting for more intimacy.
"Our main focus is to keep [the café] in its truest historic landmark form," says Murrieal Orendorff, an event planner who assists with marketing and publicity for the restaurant.
In updating the menu, the owners kept some of the previous customer favorites, such as seasoned crab cakes and jumbo fried-chicken wings, served with sweet sauce. Other entrées include grilled salmon, New York strip and chicken Marsala. Sunday's Champagne & Jazz Brunch menu features pancakes, omelets, fish and grits, and more, accompanied by light jazz.
Marshall Street Café used to feature live jazz only on Fridays, but Boss and Ugworji decided to make music a bigger part of the experience, in keeping with its location in a historic neighborhood once known as the "Harlem of the South." The restaurant now features live jazz Tuesday through Sunday, and the May lineup includes the Smooth Sensations Band, the Lasting Impressions Ensemble, Sheree & Friends, and vocalist Carol Covell.