What’s Cookin’ in New Bedford opens for breakfast, lunch and dinner



NEW BEDFORD — What’s cooking on Acushnet Avenue?

Owners of the new breakfast, lunch and dinner venue What’s Cooking wanted to add something fun for the community, including a special menu that keeps guests on the edge of their seats.

“We just want the best service, the best food, the best atmosphere,” co-owner Colton Soares said. “We just want people to have a welcoming, comfortable, family-friendly place.”

“I want people to walk into our facility and feel like you’re walking into our home,” added co-owner Jason Brooks.

Brooks, born and raised in New Bedford, said the restaurant’s concept is “what’s being cooked today” and includes a rotating and unique slate of special dishes.

“We want to keep people curious,” Brooks said. “I want people to be like, ‘What are they going to do next? What are they going to bring next?'”

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However, he said he also wanted to keep the menu simple and basic. “A lot of people like complicated foods, but a lot of people also like simplicity,” Brooks said.

What’s on the menu What’s cooking?

The main menu features several breakfast combos such as “The Hangover,” which is two eggs with bacon, sausage, ham, hash browns, and cheddar cheese served with a bagel.

They also have a Bananas Foster French Toast, which consists of three slices of bread topped with a homemade caramel rum sauce and whipped cream, fresh bananas, and powdered sugar.

Jason Brooks cooks a veggie omelette for the new What's Cookin on Acushnet Avenue in New Bedford.

For lunch and dinner, the menu includes hot dogs, sandwiches and burgers, including the Ultimate Brunch Burger, which is topped with American cheese, bacon, hash browns, eggs and a fillet of sriracha maple.

Soares said their best seller is fish and chips – which can also be ordered for collection over the phone or delivered via the You have the Chew app.

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They also have a kids menu with several options including just a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

“He (Soares) really wanted to put that on the menu, and I gave him a thumbs up,” Brooks admitted. “But he was right. People can bring their kids here and know there’s something on the menu that’s as simple as that for them.”

What are the cooking times

What’s Cookin’ is open six days a week, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

A place made for families

“Kids can be difficult,” added Soares, the father of 4-year-old twins and a 10-year-old daughter, who all enjoy helping out in the restaurant alongside his wife, Courtney Soares.

“He’s a family guy. I’m a family guy,” Brooks said. “He’s got kids, I’ve got kids, he’s got a wife, I’ve got a wife. And ultimately the idea is to let everyone know that we’re just a family place.”

Marcy Cimoni and her twins, Henry and Theo, 5, have breakfast at the new What's Cookin' on Acushnet Avenue in New Bedford.

High school friends Soares and Brooks said they reconnected six years ago. Brooks was interested in opening his own restaurant after years of working in the industry for other chefs.

“I’ve always talked about doing my own thing,” Brooks said.

Soares, which also owns Colts Mobile Auto Repair in Fairhaven, said that when the location became available at 4437 Acushnet Ave, it was “obvious” to go into business with Brooks.

“I funded him. He runs the show,” Soares said.

A community welcome

Soares said when they officially opened on May 13, they were bombarded by several locals who were delighted to discover the new place.

“They’re super nice here,” added Amanda Kemmett, a waitress who’s been in the restaurant business for almost 10 years. “I didn’t expect everyone to be as nice as them.”

Kendra Oliveira and Chris Wynn have breakfast at the new What's Cookin on Acushnet Avenue in New Bedford.

They already have a regular who came three times in one day for breakfast, lunch and dinner and then the next day came back for dinner because he said he liked the food so much.

Soares said the community welcomed them with open arms. “The community has made us feel really welcome, they’re very nice here,” he said.

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“We just wanted to bring something here, for the community.”

The main rule of What’s Cookin’ is never to become a “turn and go” service. Brooks and Sores said they want people to sit down and really enjoy their time.

“We’re not going to drop the check to get you out of here and get the next table quickly,” Brooks added. “We will take everything we can.

“And as long as everyone is happy, we are happy.”

Seth Chitwood, Standard-Times editor, can be contacted at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @ChitwoodReports. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Standard-Times today.

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