Oakland has a proud and resilient Black history/community that celebrates the influence on cultures past, present and future. This is certainly reflected and embraced in its food. With everything from Caribbean jerk chicken and plantains to Ethiopian injera with wat and comforting Southern fried chicken, Oakland’s culinary scene is inherently vibrant, flavorful and Afrocentric. Next time you’re in The Town, be sure to stop by and support a few of these delicious restaurants by Black chefs and entrepreneurs. This list does not include every black-owned restaurant in Oakland, so please add any of your favorites we may have missed in the comments.

Black-owned Restaurants in Oakland

  1. Brown Sugar Kitchen
  2. Chef Smellys Pop Up Restaurant
  3. Enssaro
  4. Everett and Jones BBQ
  5. Home of Chicken and Waffles
  6. Kingston 11
  7. Lenas Soul Food Cafe
  8. Miliki
  9. Miss Ollies
  10. Oeste Bar and Kitchen

Brown Sugar Kitchen
2534 Mandela Pkwy

At this iconic West Oakland brunch hotspot, Tanya Holland, well-known chef, cookbook author and recent contestant on Top Chef, brings you updated renditions of soul food classics in a lively and comforting atmosphere. The cornmeal waffles, paired with buttermilk fried chicken, brown sugar butter and apple cider syrup are a must. This long-time favorite for locals, tourists, music artists and Warriors players for over a decade is soon relocating to Uptown, where it will have a test kitchen concept and serve dinner.

Chef Smelly's Pop-Up Restaurant
420 14th St

If you couldn't tell from the crowds lined up on 14th St, Tuesday and Friday nights belong to Chef Smelly. Serving up fries topped with crab, lobster and steak portioned enough for dinner and leftovers tomorrow. Known for their prawns, Dungeness crab, and trademark garlic noodles, you'll join the thousands already raving on social media. Check their Instagram for weekly updates and make sure you get their early for a taste of their popular and unique Creole dishes! 

Enssaro
357, A, Grand Ave

On Grand Avenue by Lake Merritt, you'll find Enssaro, a simple and cozy Ethiopian eatery serving a small menu of spicy specialties, plentiful vegetarian options, plus tej, beer and wine. Many ingredients and spices are brought directly from the town of Enssaro in Ethiopia providing the adventurous diner with unique flavors not experienced anywhere else.

Everett & Jones BBQ
126 Broadway

Everett and Jones is a favorite of Bay Area rapper, entrepreneur & community organizer, Mistah Fab and has been recognized as one of the best barbeque joints in the Bay. They have two locations in the Town, near the entrance to Jack London Square and in the Laurel District of East Oakland. Don’t forget to take home a jar of their famous barbeque sauce!

Home of Chicken and Waffles
444 Embarcadero West

Home of Chicken and Waffles is a popular late-night eatery with a bar, known for its chicken & waffles plus other soul food staples. There often is a short wait, but the comforting food and friendly, joyful atmosphere is well worth it. Home of Chicken and Waffles prioritizes the hiring of formerly incarcerated individuals, allowing them a fresh start at life and an opportunity to provide for themselves and their family.

Kingston 11
2270 Telegraph Ave

Kingston 11 Cuisine is an environmentally friendly, community-oriented, innovative restaurant bringing you high-quality, Californian inspired Jamaican fare and using locally sourced and organic ingredients. Their menu features a variety of options for vegetarians, vegans, and those with nut, dairy, or gluten allergies. They believe that Jamaican food can equally accommodate palettes that prefer spice or milder tastes without ever compromising fullness of flavor. Their Fern Gully rum bar features the largest selection of rums in Oakland and an evolving rotation of craft cocktails.

Lena's Soul Food Cafe
6403 Foothill Blvd

Lena’s Soul Food Cafe is a family-owned eatery that has received high praises from locals and travelers alike.  They serve classic soul food, Cajun & Southern favorites like smothered chicken, candied yams, mac & cheese and rice & beans for affordable prices in a laid-back, counter-serve setting. For traditional, hearty, and always fresh soul food in Oakland, Lena’s Soul Food Cafe is the go-to.

Miliki
3725 MacArthur Blvd

Miliki is the only authentic Nigerian restaurant in the Bay Area. It features traditional dishes with herbs and spices imported from Africa, weekly live musical performances and serves as a gathering space for the community. If you’re a fan of spicy, authentic West African food in generous portions, head over to Miliki!

Miss Ollie's
901 Washington St

Miss Ollie’s Caribbean counter-serve cafe is a popular eatery in Old Oakland’s booming Swan’s market. Their amazing, soulful food, colorful decor & island vibes are sure to bring you to the Caribbeans. It has been featured by the late and great Anthony Bourdain in his show, No Reservations. With plenty of outdoor seating, it makes a great spot for people-watching on a sunny Friday afternoon during the farmer’s market.

Oeste Bar & Kitchen
722 Clay St

Oeste is one of the newest additions to Old Oakland, serving up daytime eats, multicultural dinner plates & the highest quality spirits, wines and beers. They provide a warm, inviting and inclusive atmosphere and offer exemplary dishes by focusing on fresh, organic and sustainably farmed California ingredients. Grab your friends and get to brunchin’ and sippin’ on their chic rooftop deck.

More Black-owned Eateries in The Town

Addis | Ethiopian
6100 Telegraph Ave

Bissap Baobab | West African
381 15th St

Ivy Moon | Southern
3112 Market St

Lois the Pie Queen | Southern/Breakfast
851 60th St

Red Sea | Eritrean
5200 Claremont Ave

Souley Vegan | Vegan/Southern
301 Broadway

Suya African-Caribbean Grill | West African/Caribbean
408 22nd St

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