Black History Month can provide an opportunity to learn about and explore the various cuisines locally available at black-owned restaurants.
Below we showcase a few of our favorites as well as a longer list that includes restaurants plus other food and drink establishments in San Francisco, Oakland, the South Bay and on the Peninsula. You can also watch video reviews of some of the spots featured on KQED’s Check, Please! Bay Area. This list does not include every black-owned restaurant or bar in the whole Bay Area, so please feel free to add any favorites we may have missed in the comments.
An Oakland favorite, Pican serves Southern cuisine and over 100 bourbons. Owner Michael LeBlanc has long brought the cuisine of his native New Orleans to mix with local ingredients and a California touch. Expect fried green tomatoes, grits, beignets, and fried chicken. But it isn’t just about the food here. There’s also an extensive and ornate bar/lounge, which is open longer than the restaurant’s brunch, lunch, or dinner hours. And LeBlanc has announced a soon-to-open sister restaurant in Pleasanton.
The restaurant will also be offering special Black History Month menus that change each week of the month, following “the progression of black heritage from Africa, through the South and up to the northern United States,” wrote Chef Jerome “Spike” Williams.
Watch the Check, Please! Bay Area review of Pican:
Pican Restaurant [CLOSED 6/17]
2295 Broadway [map]
Oakland, CA 94612
Ph: (510) 834-1000
Hours: Mon-Thu, 11:30am-2pm, 5-9pm; Fri, 11:30am-2pm, 5-10:30pm; Sat, 10:30am-2pm, 5-10:30pm; Sun, 10:30am-2:30pm, 5-9pm (lounge open longer hours)
Facebook: Pican Restaurant
Price range: $$$ (dinner, $35-60)
Brown Sugar Kitchen
Chef and owner Tanya Holland has made Brown Sugar Kitchen the place to be for brunch and lunch in West Oakland. Trained in formal French cooking at La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine, Holland has found innovative ways to serve up soul food, with a very specific Oakland take on the flavors. And she’s won a lot of awards doing it. (Holland also headed up B-Side BBQ, which became B-Side Baking Company, which closed its doors in late 2015.)
You’ll want to try the cornmeal caramelized waffles and buttermilk fried chicken, which are the restaurant’s signature items. For lunch, it’s all about the jerk chicken, mashed yams, and pineapple-onion salsa. Brown Sugar Kitchen may be in a more industrial area than many of the trendiest Oakland restaurants, but that hasn’t deterred the crowds (and Holland has worked with the local community to build a much-loved home for her cuisine). Expect a line, especially for brunch, and you can’t make reservations.
Tanya Holland is also KQED Food’s first chef to be featured in the series Celebrity Chefs. Check out her recipes!
Listen to Tanya Holland on KQED’s Forum, talking about her cookbook.
Watch the Check, Please! Bay Area episode featuring Brown Sugar Kitchen
Brown Sugar Kitchen
2435 Mandela Parkway [map]
Oakland, California 94607
Ph: (510) 839-7685
Hours: Tue-Sat, 7am-3pm; Sun, 8am-3pm
Facebook: Brown Sugar Kitchen
Price range: $$ (lunch $10-15)
1300 on Fillmore
Nine years ago, 1300 on Fillmore opened in the Fillmore Heritage Center with a plan to help revitalize the neighborhood. While a few other things in that building closed, like Yoshi’s, 1300 on Fillmore has thrived. It’s a jazzy, swinging club, with live music most Friday and weekend nights and an expansive bar.
Executive chef and co-owner David Lawrence serves Southern cuisine with local California ingredients. This turns into one-of-a-kind creations like fresh water shrimp hush puppies, barbecue shrimp n’ grits, and the signature 1300 Black Skillet Fried Chicken, with a crust of garlic powder and fresh herbs — all of which he tends to call “supper” at his buzzing supper club. Leave room for beignets and chocolate banana pie with peanut butter ice cream. In 2015, Lawrence also opened Black Bark BBQ serving “San Francisco style” barbecue directly across the street from 1300 on Fillmore.
To celebrate Black History Month check out Soul to Souls pop-up dinner on Feb. 22 from 1300 on Fillmore chef David Lawrence and One Market chef Mark Dommen.
Watch the Check, Please! Bay Area review of 1300 on Fillmore:
1300 on Fillmore [CLOSED 10/17, might reopen in 2018]
1300 Fillmore Street [map]
San Francisco, CA 94115
Ph: (415) 771-7100
Hours: Tue-Thu, 5:30-10pm; Fri, Sat, 5:30-11pm; Sun, 11am-3pm, 5:30-9pm
Facebook: 1300 Fillmore
Price range: $$ (dinner $20-30)
- Miyako Old-Fashioned Ice Cream (Fillmore)
- Auntie April’s (Bayview) Watch Check, Please! Bay Area review
- Bissap Baobab (The Mission & Oakland)
- Sheba Piano Lounge (Fillmore)
- farmerbrown (Tenderloin) Watch Check, Please! Bay Area review
- Little Skillet (China Basin)
- Queen’s Louisiana Po-Boy Cafe (Bayview)
- Radio Africa Kitchen (Bayview) – Check out their Community Tuesdays events this month
- Sam Jordan’s Bar (Bayview)
- Let’s Eat BBQ & More (Bayview)
- Frisco Fried (Bayview)
- Yvonne’s Southern Sweets (Bayview)
- Sweet Inspiration Bakery and Cafe (Duboce Triangle)
- Amawele’s South African Kitchen (Embarcadero)
- Club Waziema (Panhandle)
- Two Jacks Nik’s Place (Hayes Valley)
- Black Bark BBQ (Fillmore)
- Savanna Jazz Club (San Carlos)
- Lillie Mae’s House of Soul Food (Santa Clara) Watch Check, Please! Bay Area review
- Jubba Somali Restaurant (San Jose)
- Back a Yard Caribbean Grill (Menlo Park & San Jose) Watch Check, Please! Bay Area review
- Walia Ethiopian Cuisine (San Jose)
- Zeni Ethiopian Restaurant (San Jose) Watch Check, Please! Bay Area review
- Lena’s Soul Food Cafe (Oakland)
- Kingston 11 Cuisine (Oakland) Watch Check, Please! Bay Area review
- Nellie’s Soul Food(Oakland)
- Southern Cafe (Oakland and Antioch)
- Lois the Pie Queen (Oakland)
- Home of Chicken and Waffles (Oakland, Walnut Creek, and Daly City)
- Souley Vegan (Oakland)
- Genny’s BBQ (Oakland)
- Miss Ollie’s (Oakland)
- Elve’s BBQ & Soul Food (Oakland)
- Everett & Jones Barbeque (Oakland)
- Aqua Fresh Seafoods (Oakland)
- Red Sea Restaurant & Bar (Oakland)
- Uncle Willie’s Original BBQ & Fish (Oakland)
- PieTisserie (Oakland)
- New Karibbean City (Oakland)
- Goeffrey’s Inner Circle (Oakland)
- Addis Ethiopian Restaurant (Oakland) Watch Check, Please! Bay Area review
- Ensarro Ethiopian (Oakland)
- Miliki (Oakland)
- Suya African Grill (Oakland)
- ENAT Honey Winery (Oakland)