Looking Back at Oakland’s Golden Age of Restaurants and What's Next

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A "Closed" sign hangs in the window of a restaurant. (iStock)

About a decade ago national publications started paying a lot of attention to Oakland’s food scene. The city burst out of San Francisco’s shadow to become a distinct culinary city in its own right.  KQED Food Editor Luke Tsai writes that the buzziest of Oakland’s “golden age” restaurants were headed  by women of color, “charismatic chefs who were cooking food that was deeply personal, reflecting the cultures that shaped their identities—Afro-Caribbean, Mexican, Korean, Lao.” But over the years notable favorites  like Brown Sugar Kitchen, Fuse Box and Juhu Beach Club have closed, and this month beloved Miss Ollie’s has shut its doors. We’ll talk with Luke Tsai and Miss Ollie’s owner Sarah Kirnon about the forces that changed Oakland’s restaurant scene and we want to hear from you. What do you remember from that era? What restaurants are exciting to you now?


Luke Tsai, food editor, KQED

Sarah Kirnon, chef-owner, Miss Ollie's - an Afro-Caribbean restaurant in Oakland