Brown Sugar Kitchen chef/owner Tanya Holland will bring her celebrated soul food to San Francisco’s Ferry Building, taking over the space left empty by Il Cane Rosso, which declined to renew its lease last year. Holland is already in the midst of expanding her small but mighty West Oakland restaurant to fill a portion of the prime Uptown Oakland space vacated by Picán and Ozumo. That will remain her flagship effort, with the Ferry Building offering a smaller counter-service offering, Brown Sugar Kitchen Counter.
Sharing the news with the Chronicle, Holland explains she’s had the lease in her back pocket since it was awarded to her last year (over seven other applicants, no less). But even with the lease granted, Holland’s struggled to attract investors. That’s surprising given her experience and formal French culinary education, but as a woman of color, it’s all too typical. “I always knew that I could build a clientele,” but finding landlords who would lease to her or financial backers was harder, she tells Eater.
Now Holland has backing from Salt Partners Group, who have funded businesses from Saison to Humphry Slocombe, and is moving ahead on the Ferry Building space. Together they’ve launched the joint venture Brown Sugar Kitchen Hospitality Group, with ambitions to expand further. At the moment, Holland has an eye on Bay Area airports and the forthcoming Golden State Warriors stadium in Mission Bay.
That’s more for Holland to discuss at the first West Coast Cherry Bombe Jubilee at the Palace of Fine Arts, where she’s on the lineup next month.