Darlene Jones is bringing a taste of the bayou to West Philadelphia later this year. The entrepreneur is opening a second location of her Star Fusion restaurant on 52nd Street this October.
The new Star Fusion will occupy 1,400 square-feet at 268 South 52nd Street. Jones spoke to What Now Philadelphia about the location, as well as her tumultuous and affirming journey as a restaurateur.
Jones explains that the decision to open another Star Fusion was partially inspired by the incredible volume of catering work she does. The ambitious chef works with many major universities, including Drexel, the University of Pennsylvania, and Villanova. She also provides catering for a number of businesses and the demand was more than one restaurant could meet. “I wanted to stay close by”, she states, “I immediately called the landlord, but he had already heard of me.”
After preliminary discussions, the landlord offered to sell Jones the space, a prospect she refers to as “a dream come true.”
Jones is in the process of buying the building, but plans to open Star Fusion in mid-October, whether or not the purchase is complete. Her equipment is on its way to its new home, and Jones will be filing the restaurant’s final paperwork in September.
Hospitality is in Jones’ blood. She spent many years separated from her father’s side of the family. After a fortuitous and unexpected reunion, Jones discovered a family predilection for culinary exploration. “I come from a long line of entrepreneurs. I got close to my dad’s side of the family weirdly and randomly..and discovered my sister opened a restaurant like I did in 2015.”
That same sister has passed some of her equipment onto Jones. The chef intends to use the tools in her newest restaurant in honor of her sibling and the connection they share.
Star Fusion lives up to its name. The restaurant combines Creole flavors with rotisserie preparations. Jones describes it as “Creole soul-food with a rotisserie twist. We wanted to pool those energies.” She pursued the rotisserie option from a sincere desire to provide healthier choices to an area that largely lacks them.
Jones is partnered with Philly Forests to source the freshest ingredients.
When asked what new-comers should try, Jones enthusiastically states “Wings, bowls, and rolls!” Specifically, she says, the Creole bowl. The restaurant also provides vegetarian and gluten-free options. Star Fusion will feature a series of rotating, creole inspired sauces. Jones is bringing in chefs from Louisiana to help ensure the authenticity of the cuisine.