Brown Sugar Kitchen, Tanya Holland’s famous soul food spot in Oakland, has closed its doors for good


Gone are the days of Brown Sugar Kitchen’s crispy fried chicken with golden cornmeal waffles and tangy apple cider syrup. Tanya Holland’s famous soul food restaurant, one of Oakland’s most famous restaurants, has closed its doors for good after nearly 15 years in business.

Holland told Berkeleyside, who reported the news, that the pandemic has made it difficult for the restaurant to balance, especially after it closed the outpost of Brown Sugar Kitchen’s Ferry Building in early 2020. Last year, she filed the Chapter 11 toll in an effort to keep his Oakland restaurant open. Holland confirmed the closure with The Chronicle but declined an interview.

“I made my dream come true,” she told Berkeleyside. “How many people can say that? I’m sad it doesn’t continue, but I’m lucky to see what I dreamed of happening.

For over a decade, Brown Sugar Kitchen has served their famous Chicken and Waffles, Smoked Chicken Okra, Catfish Po’boys, and more in West Oakland, where Horn Barbecue is currently located. Holland has always described Brown Sugar Kitchen as underfunded – in the past she has said that as a black woman she was not able to squeeze the same type of investment as white male chefs despite the fans. queuing outside his restaurant for hours every weekend.

Tanya Holland is seen in her original Brown Sugar Kitchen in West Oakland. She has decided to close the current location in Uptown Oakland.

Mason Trinca / Special for The Chronicle 2017

She seemed poised to make Brown Sugar Kitchen a national empire a few years ago. At the time, it was expanding from its original location in West Oakland to a more spacious and spacious area in bustling Uptown Oakland, as well as the location of the Ferry Building in San Francisco, where Brown Sugar Kitchen was the first black-owned business. She also appeared on Bravo TV’s “Top Chef”, the popular competitive cooking show, though she was already a familiar face on TV, including on Food Network’s “Melting Pot”.

Although Brown Sugar Kitchen no longer exists, Holland is still busy with other projects. She has her veg-centric Town Fare cafe at the Oakland Museum of California, which opened last year, as well as her own cooking show, “Tanya’s Kitchen Table” on the Oprah Winfrey Network. She is also working on another cookbook.

Bay Area restaurants faced a rocky start to 2022 with the omicron variant closing dining rooms and several companies have already shut it down for good. Three Bay Area mayors last week called on members of Congress to step up restaurant relief, warning of a “catastrophic” impact on the local economy and numerous other small business closures.

Janelle Bitker is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @janellebitker

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