10 Black-Owned Bay Area Eateries We Love (And You Should, Too)
Being a more conscientious diner is an simple, meaningful form of allyship
Soleil Ho did the S.F. food-eating community (read: everyone) a tremendous favor by setting up a compendium of all the Bay’s Black-owned restaurants, from Alameda’s Chakula Eats (curry-fried chicken, shrimp étouffée) to Vallejo’s Yes My Sweet (tri-tip sandwiches and mac ‘n’ cheese). Consider it the best to-do list you’ll see this week.
Here, a selection of our absolute favorites. Follow these establishments (and, where available, the restaurateurs) on social media to ensure a regular reminder of everything delicious they have to offer. We all know what happens when we don’t support independent — and Black-owned — restaurants (see: Farmerbrown, Kaya, Isla Vida, Black Bark BBQ, etc.). Now’s our chance to do better.
Brown Sugar Kitchen, Uptown Oakland
Oakland celebrated Tanya Holland Day four days ago, but there are still plenty of ways to pay tribute to the city’s pioneering food star: Brown Sugar Kitchen is open for pick-up and delivery — and if you donate a meal for homeless communities, foster youth, and low-income families, Marqeta will match it.
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Minnie Bell’s, Emeryville
Fernay McPherson’s rosemary-fried chicken might be the single most compelling reason to head to Emeryville/California. Minnie Bell’s has been closed since mid-March. They’re offering pick-up and delivery Thursday to Sunday to Emeryville, Berkeley and West Oakland; also consider donating to their COVID-19 fund, which is supporting Minnie Bell’s nine employees.
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Red’s House, Daly City
Red’s House was riding tremendous momentum — with a deluge of press coverage plus a bevy of five-star reviews following its three-month stay at the Ferry Building — when COVID-19 flipped the switch on the super-buzzy Jamaican spot Christopher Russell runs alongside his mom, Sharon Russell. Grab a spot now for their extravagantly excellent jerk lobster, or perhaps a macaroni and cheese pie — or just donate a meal to a family in need.
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Jaynelle St. Jean founded PieTisserie doing the Lord’s work: handing out pies from a window in her mother’s home in S.F. Now, the self-taught piemaker is delivering from her spot in Berkeley — not just desserts (hello there, key lime pie) but bake-at-home chicken (and beef, and veg) pot pies, too. Deliveries available Wednesday to Saturday.
KC’s BBQ, Berkeley
K.C.’s was just about back up to speed after a catastrophic fire at its original location forced the iconic family-run spot to abandon its home of 50 years for new digs farther up on San Pablo. There’s no good reason to go anywhere else for Kansas City-style barbecue in the East Bay — try the Three Ribs combo (with potato salad and bread) for proof.
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Hazel Southern Bar & Kitchen, Civic Center
Hazel routinely sells out its Southern-inflected to-go menu — order on Monday, grab it on Friday, have a terrific weekend. Recent offerings include catfish po’boys, oxtail and rice, smoked pulled pork sandwiches and a full “boozy menu” with “Porch Pounders,” Lagunitas IPAs and more.
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Horn Barbecue, Oakland
Half of the comments on the Horn Barbecue Facebook page are full of regret — expressed by fans who’ve missed a pop-up, an event, the launch of a now sold-out line of trays produced in collaboration with Made In. Pitmaster Matt Horn’s plans to launch what the Chron called “the most anticipated barbecue restaurant” have been waylaid by obvious events — but he hasn’t stopped his work supporting our community with thousands of free meals.
Souley Vegan, Downtown Oakland
If you both love soul food and are vegan, you probably already know about Souley Vegan — and if you don’t, we just made your day appreciably better. Tamearra Dyson has Cajun fries, seitan strips, “Southern-Fried Tofu Bowls” and all the sides you can handle: black-eyed peas, collard greens, red beans and rice, and more.
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Chef Paul Magu trained under Alain Ducasse at La Bastide de Moustiers in Paris, then put in time at the St. Regis and Four Seasons in S.F. before launching Reve — an incredible boon to the diners of Lafayette. Since we’re probably not getting into Europe anytime soon, Reve is our best bet for authentic salade nicoise, steak frites, and boeuf bourguignon.
Little Skillet, Mission Bay
Originally intended as a low-key sister space to Jay Foster and Deanna Sison Foster beloved farmerbrown, the child has outlived the father, following the latter’s sad closure in 2019 after an 11-year run. (Foster’s take on the restaurant’s closure was deeply affecting — see here.) They’re recently been donating 10 percent of the day’s takes to organizations like Project Level and the Movement for Black Lives.
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