Owner of Brown Sugar Kitchen files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to focus on ‘future growth’ of restaurant group

Owner of Brown Sugar Kitchen files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to focus on ‘future growth’ of restaurant groupPhoto: Twitter via @BrownSugarKitch
Matt Charnock
Published on May 20, 2021

The pandemic has continued to devastate the Bay Area’s restaurant scene, and it is forcing Tanya Holland, chef-owner of Oakland’s beloved Brown Sugar Kitchen, to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Hundreds of bars and eateries have closed since March of last year, completely altering the local gastronomic landscape as we’ve come to know it. (Though, widespread adoption of outdoor dining has been a silver lining.) Tanya Holland, who recently enjoyed a wave of cable television notoriety after snagging a cooking show on OWN, was one of many restaurateurs unable to escape the financial pitfalls of the pandemic. Holland has recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to help “stabilize the business.”

“The decision to reorganize does not mean an end of an era for Brown Sugar Kitchen,” Holland said in a press release, per Mercury News. “In fact, it will allow me to stabilize the business and enable me to build on my team as we look toward the future growth of my restaurant group.”

The restaurant now located on Broadway in Oakland's Uptown remains open for business. In the release, Holland said that the bankruptcy will not affect the daily operation of Brown Sugar Kitchen. She is adamant that this filing “isn’t the end” — but rather signals “the beginning of something really amazing.”

One part of that impending growth Holland is alluding to is her forthcoming project, Town Fare by Tanya Holland, which will be a partnership with the Oakland Museum of California on a new café concept for the museum; the restaurant — set to debut June 18— will feature plant-based dishes that emphasis environmental sustainable, as well as personal health.

According to the San Francisco Business Times, which was the first to report the bankruptcy filing, the largest of the debts registered for Brown Sugar Kitchen Hospitality Group were two $200K debts to San Francisco investment partners Nimble Ventures LLC and Salt Partners LLC. Salt Partners had a financial hand in helping Holland open her short-lived restaurant in the Ferry Building in 2002, which after less than a year in business, shuttered for good in January.