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Brown Sugar Kitchen became famous for being one of Oakland’s best soul food restaurants, which closed after nearly 15 years, as first reported by Oaklandside.
At first, chef Tanya Holland, owner of the restaurant, said that the closure would be temporary, but in the end he decided that it would not be so.
“I held on for as long as I could. I fought the resistance probably much longer than I should, ”SFGate.
Holland first opened Brown Sugar Kitchen in West Oakland in 2008, gaining popularity for its chicken and waffles and other soul food favorites.
Following the success, the restaurant opened at 2295 Broadway in 2019. Meanwhile, Holland’s star was on the rise, from competing on “Top Chef” to receiving multiple Michelin Bib Gourmand awards.
Things were going very well, so a second Brown Sugar Kitchen location opened in San Francisco’s Ferry Building in 2019, but it didn’t last long – it closed in early 2020.
During the pandemic, the Oakland location also struggled. In the spring of 2021, Brown Sugar Kitchen filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. But the Netherlands does not attribute the decision to finally shut down completely to Covid.
The chef and businesswoman pointed out that mobility restrictions in Okland’s main commercial area is one of the reasons why not only she, but other businesses have had to close permanently.
According to SFGate, in the Oaklandside story, locals reacted to the news with sadness, furthermore a lot of support was expressed, from other restaurant owners to Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.
“Everybody says, ‘It’s a loss for Oakland,'” Holland said. “Everyone has been really great.”
Despite this situation, the restaurant entrepreneur operates the Plant-Forward Town Fare café, which opened last summer at the Oakland Museum. In the future, in addition to continuing to work on the operation of the site, he will focus his efforts there, as well as his work on the board of directors of the James Beard Foundation.
“I will continue to try to make an impact in this industry through my work with the Beard Foundation,” Holland said. The businesswoman noted that she is really involved in the issue, as she considered that there is no other African-American voice established in the hospitality industry at the level it is at.
“They keep inviting me to panels and meetings to discuss some of the challenges in our industry, especially for people of color. So I will continue to do that kind of work too“.
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