It’s the end of an era for the restaurant that helped popularize vegan soul food in the Bay Area. Chef and owner Tamearra Dyson opened Souley Vegan in 2009 at 301 Broadway, becoming popular in vegetarian and vegan circles for dishes such as her Soul Food Platter with fried tofu, red beans and rice, and cashew mac and cheese. Her Creole food helped Oakland become recognized as one of the top Vegan Cities in the country and even garnered a visit from Guy Fieri and his TV show, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Dyson expanded Souley Vegan in 2020 into other parts of the West Coast, adding ghost kitchen outlets in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
A GoFundMe for the restaurant launched in August, looking to raise capital to “address the financial hurdles that developed during COVID-19” and “provide financial space for us to breathe into our next steps of expansion.” Despite that, the flagship restaurant quietly closed with an announcement on its website reading, “We thank you for your love and support over the years.” In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Dyson said low foot traffic in her Oakland neighborhood made the business unsustainable, stating, “The effort is not worth the trouble.” Both ghost kitchen locations closed prior to the flagship.
It’s not entirely the end for the restaurant, however; Dyson told the Chronicle that she’s looking to reopen in a different part of the Bay Area.