Tanya Holland, the chef of Brown Sugar Kitchen and B-Side BBQ, has long been a pioneer on the West Oakland restaurant scene, but now she's had enough. As the SF Business Times reports, Brown Sugar's business has thrived, but B-Side hasn't performed as well, in addition to being plagued by safety and security issues. So Holland is looking to move B-Side to Uptown Oakland in the spring, eyeing a space at 18th Street and San Pablo Avenue for a larger version of the restaurant that will boast 80 to 100 seats.
The only problem: she can't get funding. Expanding B-Side to the larger space will likely cost Holland nearly a million dollars, and though perma-crowded BSK brought in revenues of $1.5 million last year, she hasn't been able to find anyone willing to go into business on the terms she desires. Holland attributes the lack of opportunity to sexism: "I've seen the same funders go to other male-owned businesses with partnerships, whereas I'm offered more of a management role." It isn't Holland's first struggle in the expansion market, either, with a proposed BSK expansion to the Bayview last year that didn't pan out. Should Holland find the right deep-pocketed partner, the new B-Side will boast an expanded menu with options beyond BBQ. Brown Sugar Kitchen will remain in its original location, though Holland is frustrated that no other entrepreneurs have joined her there. "It's worked out great," she told the Business Times, "but it's exhausting being the pioneer."
· No longer a pioneer, B-Side moving to Uptown Oakland [SF Business Times]
· Brown Sugar Kitchen Not Coming to Bayview After All [~ ESF ~]
· The Gatekeepers: Brown Sugar Kitchen's Phil Surkis [~ ESF ~]