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Marshawn Lynch Takes Over Emeryville Soul Food Restaurant to Save It

He’s going Beast Mode on a hometown favorite

A combo at Scend’s
Alice L./Yelp

It’s always tough to say goodbye to a restaurant that’s been around for a lifespan, but when the 80 year-old owner is ready to retire there’s usually not much choice — unless NFL star Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch happens to live nearby. That’s the case with Scend’s Restaurant and Bar, a soul food restaurant that’s operated at the Oakland-Emeryville border since 1967, which Lynch recently purchased in order to keep it open.

The purchase comes after 79-year-old owner Cassie Nickelson decided to retire from 50 years of serving soul food classics like red beans and rice, wings, fried catfish, oxtails, and macaroni and cheese. Lynch will take over the restaurant in August, with no plans to change the menu. “I’m comfortable with him and I like him,” Nickelson told KTVU. Apparently that stems from a long history in Oakland, when a nine-year-old Lynch bought french fries and hamburgers from Nickelson when she ran a catering business from her apartment.

It’s a happy ending for fans of the restaurant, who’ve been eating Nickelson’s food for decades, and for fans of Lynch, whose return to Oakland has been much celebrated. The running back, who was recently signed to the Raiders out of retirement, attended Oakland Technical High School and played for Cal; now that he’s back in his hometown, there’ve been multiple celebrations including a block party hosted by Lynch, and a group bike ride of almost 400 people in May.

Eater has reached out to Lynch for more information on what the takeover means for Scend’s. Stay tuned for more info.

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