On any given day, look around and you’ll see the immense contributions by black chefs, artists, and creators that are intrinsic to American food and culture. Black History Month provides us with an opportunity to celebrate and share gratitude for these contributions. There are a number of chefs around the Bay Area providing a special menu this month, but, with this guide, you can support black-owned restaurants doing their thing year-round.
Sadly, some of the restaurants we covered in last year’s list have closed since then, so we created this new one. Please note, this guide does not include every black-owned restaurant, bar, bakery or pop-up in the whole Bay Area, so please feel free to add any favorites we may have missed by tagging us on social! You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
Have you sampled Liberian cuisine? Time to visit the Bay Area's only Liberian spot, Kendejah Restaurant in San Leandro (which Check, Please! Bay Area visited in Season 13). According to the owner, Dougie Uso, he wants you to feel like you're visiting a friend's house, so the vibe is very friendly and casual, but you can get a dash of history with your food at the same time.
Recommendations from the show? Oxtail stew, attieke with fish and jollof rice to name a few.
Chef Paul Magu-Lecugy, a classically trained French chef whose esteemed resume includes the Gérard Besson in Paris, La Bastide de Moustiers, and the Ritz Carlton and St. Regis in San Francisco, always had dreams of opening a bistro that offers a five-star dining experience at an affordable price. Today, Magu-Lecugy owns and operates Reve (“dream” in French) in Lafayette, offering Lamorinda residents the chance to experience a traditional French bistro, not unlike those he experienced during his childhood in Paris.
With an extensive wine list (mostly French and some Californian) and seasonal menus featuring fresh ingredients, Reve (which made an appearance on Check, Please! Bay Area) offers a culinary escape to France, without the price of a plane ticket.
In 2017 chef and owner Tanya Holland closed the original Brown Sugar Kitchen in West Oakland to make way for two new projects in Uptown Oakland and the San Francisco Ferry Building. While the San Francisco counter-service location unfortunately closed this January, Holland has said she’s deeply proud to be the first black woman to open a restaurant in the Ferry Building. Long-time fans and newcomers alike can visit the Uptown Oakland location, which now offers dinner service and a full drink menu!
Despite making its mark as one of the best Texas inspired BBQ eateries in the bay, cooking barbeque wasn’t always owner and chef Matt Horn’s goal. According to Horn’s bio, after grilling a particularly bad batch of spare ribs, Horn vowed to “never cook bad cue again” and took to his Grandmother’s backyard to perfect the art of pit-smoking meats. To say Horn has honed his meat-smoking techniques is an understatement. He put in the hard work preparing regular pop-ups for a growing crowd and it’s paid off. His much-anticipated brick and mortar restaurant will open in Tanya Holland’s old Brown Sugar Kitchen location in West Oakland as soon as he receives final clearance from the city.
And that’s not all! Horn is also preparing to open a Southern-style fried chicken sandwich kiosk at Jack London Square’s Oakland Assembly food hall. KowBird will likely open in August or September 2020.
For more eateries to visit during Black History Month, see below.