Beginning their search for Akeem's bride, they end up being invited by some locals to a rally that is raising money for the inner city.
During the rally, Akeem encounters Lisa Mc Dowell, who possesses all the qualities he is looking for, and upon his insistence he and Semmi get entry-level jobs working at the local fast food restaurant called Mc Dowell's—a Mc Donald's ripoff—owned by widower Cleo Mc Dowell, Lisa's father.
Akeem's attempts to win Lisa's love are complicated by Lisa's lazy and obnoxious boyfriend, Darryl Jenks (Eriq La Salle), whose father owns Soul Glo (a Jheri curl–like hairstyling aid).
After Darryl announces their engagement—without Lisa's consent—to their families, she starts dating Akeem, who claims that he comes from a family of poor goat herders.
Akeem explains that he wanted her to love him for who, not what, he is, even offering to renounce his throne; but Lisa, still hurt and angry, refuses to marry him.
Despondent, Akeem resigns himself to the arranged marriage, but as they leave, Jaffe is reprimanded by Aeoleon for clinging to outdated traditions instead of thinking of his son's happiness.
Landis recalled the differences in working with Murphy on the two movies: "The guy on Trading Places was young and full of energy and curious and funny and fresh and great. He directed me in Trading Places when I was just starting out as a kid, but he was still treating me like a kid five years later during Coming to America. I was gonna direct Coming to America myself, but I knew that Landis had just done three fucked-up pictures in a row and that his career was hanging by a thread after the Twilight Zone trial.
The guy on Coming to America was the pig of the world... I figured the guy was nice to me when I did Trading Places, so I'd give him a shot…
Semmi wires a telegraph to King Jaffe for more money, prompting the Joffers to travel to Queens and expose his identity as a prince.
Cleo, initially disapproving of Akeem as he did not want to see his daughter with a poor man, becomes ecstatic when he discovers that Akeem is actually an extremely wealthy prince after being introduced to the Joffers.