Chef Turned ‘Beast’ Actor Dwight Henry Bringing NOLA Flavor to Harlem

Chef Dwight Henry in debut acting role as ‘Wink’ in Academy Award nominated ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’

New Orleans baker Dwight Henry made his unexpected acting debut in last year’s Beasts of the Southern Wild, an indie film that has received nominations for four Oscars.

Henry is planning to make his Harlem debut later this year, this time back in the kitchen, and he predicts that his famous buttermilk drops and New Orleans-style beignets will be just as big a hit.

“I’m very excited,” said Henry, who will partner with restaurateur Richard Notar in the enterprise at Lenox Ave. and W. 125th St., next door to the jazz club Notar opening in March.

“I’m looking forward to working with Richie,” Henry told the Daily News when reached by phone at his restaurant in New Orleans’ Treme neighborhood. Henry, 47, has made a name for himself as a chef and baker with his Buttermilk Drop Bakery and Cafe. The eatery doubles as a bakery and a cafe, which also offers smoked sausage, catfish and grits.

“I’m looking forward to bringing our flavor to New York,” he said.

“We’re going to bring products that are uniquely New Orleans,” he added, noting the collaboration with Notar has been in the works for more than a year.

“That’s always been a dream of mine, to expand outside of the Louisiana area,” he said. “It’s a dream come true.”

The bakery, expected to be named Mr. Henry’s, will open at the same time that Notar opens his eponymous jazz club.

Notar, who took over the space that until last month was home to Lenox Lounge, called his partnership with Henry “win win win.”

“I sent someone down to see what this guy was all about, this by the way, was before he was getting all the attention he’s getting for the movie,” Notar explained in an email. “He was flattered I sent someone and came to meet me in N.Y. on his promotional tour for the movie. We hit it off, he’s an amazing guy, soulful with a big heart and a family man.”

Henry said transplanted Louisianians who live in New York can expect a flavor just like they would get back home.

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