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Brown Sugar Kitchen’s Ferry Building Outpost Will Close After Less Than a Year

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Fans of chef Tanya Holland’s legendary cornmeal waffles will now need to travel to the restaurant’s Oakland flagship

A spread of food at Brown Sugar Kitchen Albert Law

Last February brought big news for fans of chef Tanya Holland’s legendary fried chicken, cornmeal waffles, and other brunch favorites: After years of planning and a long delay, Brown Sugar Kitchen had finally opened a San Francisco location — and not just anywhere, but at a prime spot in the Ferry Building. Now, less than a year later, Holland is closing the Ferry Building counter-service location. Its last day of business will be Sunday, January 19, Holland said in an email to Eater SF.

Brown Sugar Kitchen’s flagship location in Oakland, which moved Uptown from its original spot in West Oakland — also in February of last year — will be unaffected by the closure.

“While we’re disappointed to step back from Brown Sugar Kitchen’s counter concept, I’m personally deeply proud to have established the first black female-owned restaurant in the iconic San Francisco Ferry Building,” Holland said in the email announcement.

Having long ago established her reputation as one of the doyennes of the Bay Area soul food scene, Holland didn’t give any specific reasons for the closure, but said that it was “the right business decision” and cited a desire to focus on the restaurant’s roots at its flagship Oakland location — the first spot where she’s been able to have a full liquor license and offer dinner service. She also said, “We’re working on some exciting opportunities for 2020, which we’ll announce in the next few months.”

It has been a time of particularly high turnover at the Ferry Building recently, as Traci Des Jardin’s Mexican restaurant, Mijita, also just closed after 15 years in the building. In the meantime, Holland says her Ferry Building counter spot will continue to operate as normal — seven days a week — until it serves its final plate of chicken and waffles on January 19.

“Being an entrepreneur means taking big risks and trying new things, and I’m proud of what we put forward at Brown Sugar Kitchen in The Ferry Building,” Holland said.