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La Cocina Alums Are Slowly Taking Over Emeryville’s Public Market

Minnie Bell’s is expanding with more fried chicken and sides, while Mama Lamees is bringing Palestinian food to the lineup

Public Market Emeryville

Minnie Bell’s Soul Movement is expanding within its home in Emeryville’s Public Market. The pop-up known for its fried chicken and mac n’ cheese from chef Fernay McPherson will move into a larger, more permanent space in center hall of the building, formerly occupied by sandwich shop Mayo and Mustard.

An alum of SF’s non-profit food incubator, La Cocina, McPherson has been operating her soul food pop-up in a smaller kiosk space for over a year. Now after trial and error, she’s upgrading. The kiosk is now a dedicated partnership with Public Market and proving ground for La Cocina businesses — before McPherson, it was the first semi-permanent location of Nyum Bai from Eater Young Gun Nite Yun (’18), which has since opened a permanent location in Fruitvale (and won all the accolades, including an Eater Award for Restaurant of the Year).

The larger space means McPherson will be able to expand her menu, adding candied yams, a fried chicken salad, and rotating specials in addition to her very popular rosemary fried chicken, braised greens, and black-eyed pea salad.

There’s no guarantee that a business will move from the kiosk to a larger space, but it’s an ideal opportunity to test out working in a high-volume setting, and gain a fanbase. Taking over McPherson’s lease is Mama Lamees, serving Palestinian-influenced food from owner Lamees Dabhour. Dabhour, also of La Cocina, has served her homey dishes at Off the Grid and other markets around the Bay Area; this will be her first permanent location. The menu will offer the Middle Eastern flavors that had previously been lacking in the Public Market, which has a broad array of cuisines from poke to ramen to Peruvian.

Both Minnie Bell’s and Mama Lamees are expected to open mid-summer in their new spaces; stay tuned for more.

Public Market Emeryville

5959 Shellmound Street, , CA 94608 (510) 652-5852 Visit Website