President Obama once stopped there en route to a Hancock Park fundraiser. He joked about getting a stain on his shirt from the chicken grease. Snoop Dogg ate there with celebrity friends Larry King and David Beckham, and Notorious B.I.G. mentioned it in “Going back to Cali.”
Now, the famous soul food chain, known as Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles, may become a memory. Parent company, East Coast Foods Inc., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week. According to reports on filings with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in California, Roscoe’s is estimated to have debts between $10 million and $50 million. It is reporting assets of less than $50,000.
Based in Long Beach, the company has 7 franchises in Southern California, including one in Inglewood at 621 W. Manchester. Known for its signature chicken-and-waffle combos, greens, grits and other Southern-style favorites, Roscoe’s has been around since 1975.
The love affair between Roscoe’s and its faithful customers is one that would be envied by many restaurants. The clearest sign of this was seen shortly after the bankruptcy was announced on March 25.
One customer tweeted: “Roscoe’s can't file for bankruptcy. They just can't (sad face).”
Another tweeted: “One of the best spots, we must ban together to save Roscoe’s.”
Snoop Dogg said he plans to do just that. Upon hearing the news Tuesday from TMZ, he replied: “Bankruptcy, Roscoe's went, no they didn't? I guess Ima have to buy it, man and make it Snoop Dogg's Chicken and Waffles."
The eatery is an institution, especially among African American diners. Ironically, it was an African American man who recently won a $3.2 million lawsuit against the franchise for employment discrimination.
According to reports, former employee Daniel Beasley was awarded $1.7 million personally and $1.5 in attorney’s fees by a jury in Los Angeles last October. Beasley said the restaurant gave preferential treatment to Latinos, including better shifts. He accused the company of firing him in retaliation for complaining. He became homeless after he was fired. Roscoe’s is appealing the ruling.
Beasley’s attorney suspects the bankruptcy filing is a way to get out of paying his client. It is not clear whether the bankruptcy filing will affect its daily operations.