'Brown Sugar Kitchen' Forms Restaurant Group, Announces Expansion Plans

Photo: Tanya Holland/Facebook
By Lisa Pollack - Published on January 15, 2018.

Opened by chef/owner Tanya Holland in 2008, Brown Sugar Kitchen is ending its first decade with expansion plans that will bring her creations to diners across the greater Bay Area.

First, she's taking over the former Picán space at 2295 Broadway to open a new Uptown restaurant that offers dinner service and a full bar.

Brown Sugar Kitchen's first location opened in 2008. | Photo: Lisa Pollack/Hoodline

With a new 4,000-square-foot space on the ground floor of a large development, Holland said she'll have room to expand her team, along with  "the capacity to do some items that I’ve run as specials.”

One example is her take on Eggs Benedict, which replaces traditional English muffins with grits cakes. All-day service also gives Holland a chance to resurrect former favorites from her now-closed B-Side BBQ restaurant and add new menu selections drawing from African, Cajun and Creole influences.

An application for the liquor license transfer hangs in the now-vacant space at Broadway and 23rd in Uptown Oakland. | Photo: Lisa Pollack/Hoodline

The space on Broadway is still four to six months away from opening, Holland said.

As the Chronicle reported, she's also moving into a space at the San Francisco Ferry Building formerly occupied by Il Cane Rosso. After submitting a proposal, Holland said she was selected over seven other prominent chefs and secured funding via Salt Partners, a restaurant investment/management firm.

Dubbed "Brown Sugar Kitchen Counter," the Ferry Building location will operate on a quick-service model with a streamlined menu for pick-up items like grits and eggs or pulled-pork sandwiches.

Brown Sugar Kitchen's chicken and waffles. | Photo: Tim W./Yelp

“This is the prototype,” said Holland, "something we hope to replicate in other markets.” Under the umbrella of the newly-formed Brown Sugar Hospitality Group, she hopes to open the location this spring.

The expansions dovetail with Holland's appearance on Bravo's Top Chef, which she used as a platform to raise her profile and draw attention to Oakland's culinary scene.

Holland's restaurant group is also in talks to open locations at the Oakland and San Francisco airports, and plans to enter the Warriors' new Chase Center at Mission Bay, along with the A's planned new stadium.

Inside Brown Sugar Kitchen. | Photo: Lisa Pollack/HOODLINE

She's also submitted a proposal for Levi's Stadium and is aiming for a presence in Downtown Napa, as well as a potential Tokyo partnership.

"I’ve always wanted to be a restaurateur more than a chef," said Holland. "It's all happening at the same time."

Jan 20, 2021

Ayesha Curry opens Sweet July store and cafe in Uptown Oakland

As she promised to last year, Ayesha Curry has just opened her first retail store in Oakland, in conjunction with her lifestyle magazine called Sweet July. The Sweet July store and cafe debuted Tuesday at 455 23rd Street in the Uptown neighborhood.  Read More

Jan 15, 2021

New LGBTQ bar headed for I. Magnin building in downtown Oakland

A new LGBTQ bar appears to be headed for downtown Oakland — technically in the Uptown vicinity — in a ground-floor space of the iconic I. Magnin Building at 2001 Broadway. Read More

Jan 15, 2021

Ghost Town Brewing plans new tap room in Oakland's Laurel District

West Oakland’s Ghost Town Brewing plans to expand to the city’s Laurel District next month, taking over the recently-vacated 4505 Burgers and BBQ location. Read More

Jan 11, 2021

Oakland’s Grand Lake Theater creates GoFundMe to raise funds for staff

The Grand Lake Theater — Oakland’s historic cinema famous for its attention-grabbing marquee messages — has been closed since March. And now most of its crew members have “run out of their unemployment benefits,” leading the theater to create a fundraiser that will offer some financial support for its staff. Read More