Brown Sugar Kitchen, Oakland’s extremely popular lunch/brunch destination from chef Tanya Holland, is growing rapidly: an outpost in the Ferry Building is on the way, in addition to an expansion into Uptown Oakland.
To prepare for those big moves, Holland and her team are planning to change things up a bit at the original restaurant on Mandela Parkway. After a quick closure for vacation from May 18- June 6, the restaurant will reopen as a “test kitchen” of sorts.
Wednesday nights will be a ticketed pop-up to test dishes for Brown Sugar Kitchen’s Uptown restaurant, which will be the first of Holland’s restaurants to serve dinner. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday will serve as an operational test for the grab-and-go and fast casual service that will be the style at Holland’s Ferry Building restaurant.
It’s also a move to expand beyond Holland’s rightfully addictive fried chicken and waffles and shrimp and grits. “If you look at her cookbook, you’ll see that she’s only served a quarter of what’s in there,” said partner and investor Hanson Li of Salt Partners. “She’s never been able to do dinner at her Mandela Parkway location, and there are a lot of people who haven’t made it to brunch.”
As part of Brown Sugar Kitchen’s new role as a test kitchen, it will also test takeout and delivery options, and even add some outside seating. Stay tuned for more news on Holland’s two new restaurants, which are slated for late summer openings.