One of the few silver linings from the past year has been the amount of exciting new restaurant openings we’ve seen across the Bay. Against all odds, tons of new spots have found ways to pivot, pop up, and adapt - like Azikiwee Anderson, who started baking loaves of sourdough out of his backyard in the Richmond, or Annabelle Goodridge, who’s serving some of our favorite Caribbean food out of Cocobreeze in Oakland. These new spots, along with the rest of the Black-owned restaurants in the Bay Area, make the Bay one of the most exciting places in the world to eat in. From a ghost kitchen serving fried chicken sandwiches to a barbecue spot smoking brisket worth lining up around the block for, here are ten new places you should know about.
Since 2016, Matt Horn has been selling his slow-smoked meats at farmers’ markets and pop-ups - and he’s now making the best barbecue in the Bay Area out of his brick-and-mortar restaurant in West Oakland. Between the tender, 18-hour smoked brisket, massive beef ribs, and juicy pulled pork, it’s basically impossible to go wrong with your order here - but your best bet is to try a little bit of everything. And don’t miss out on the sides, like pit beans, coleslaw, and mac and cheese. Horn Barbecue is currently taking pre-orders (with a three-pound minimum), or you can walk up to order.
LoJo's Taco Shop
Operating out of Avedano’s Meats in Bernal Heights, LoJo’s Tacos is run by Loren Johnson, and specializes in breakfast tacos. They’re delicious and deceptively simple, and made with high-quality ingredients, like farm-fresh eggs, thick flour tortillas from local Mexican market La Palma, flavorful chorizo and steak from the butcher shop next door, and house-made chunky habanero and roasted heirloom tomato salsas. And, like the saying goes, the early bird does get this flat-out, must-have breakfast - they’re open from 8am until they sell out (which they do often). LoJo’s is also popping up Sunday mornings with The Black Food Collective out of Epic Ventures Test Kitchen in East Oakland.
CocoBreeze is a Trinidadian restaurant in East Oakland run by Annabelle Goodridge and her daughter. Since they opened last July, they’ve been churning out incredible Caribbean dishes, like a pholourie (fried split pea dough and turmeric) with a side of chunky tamarind dip, a thick chicken roti stuffed with chickpeas and potatoes, and braised oxtails with red beans and rice. Whatever you do, don’t skip on the herby, life-changing jerk chicken, which slowly builds heat on the tongue. CocoBreeze is open for takeout and delivery, and outdoor dining.
Black Food Collective
Last August, chef Rashad Armstead opened a commercial kitchen space in East Oakland which features rotating pop-ups from the Black Food Collective, a group of Black-owned food businesses. Stop by to order from spots like Pimpin Chkn, which makes an incredible fried chicken sandwich, or LoJo’s Tacos, our go-to spot for breakfast tacos. Be sure to follow them on Instagram for menus and updates on who’s popping up and when.
Malibu’s Burgers is a former food truck serving all-vegan fast food on Oakland’s Piedmont Avenue. They use meatless proteins like Impossible patties, “chicken” tenders, and faux bacon to make everything from burgers with melty Follow Your Heart American Cheese to fried chicken sandwiches. Make sure to get your order with the tater tots, which are fried to golden-brown perfection. Malibu’s burgers also has dairy-free cookies n’ cream, chocolate, and Captain Crunch milkshakes you can order to wash it all down.
The Bussdown is a takeout/delivery-only spot in East Oakland featuring Nigerian, Jamaican, and West-African-inspired dishes. The menu includes everything from spicy beef patties and smoked brandied yams to a jerk chicken plate with plantains, rice, and beans. Keep an eye on their Instagram for daily specials.
Fowl + Fare started popping up in Oakland’s Jack London Square last summer with one of our favorite fried chicken sandwiches in the Bay. Theirs comes with a perfectly-fried, juicy thigh, a crunchy pear slaw, pickles, and chipotle aioli on a brioche bun (if you want an extra kick, order the citric hot). The sandwich is also available on a biscuit with gravy and habanero honey, or fried in a pineapple habanero sauce. Be sure to check their Instagram for pop-up dates and specials.
Cali Alley is a takeout window in West Berkeley from a team who runs a local catering company. They focus on dishes that hit the Lenny Kravitz-in-an-oversized-scarf level of comfort, like mac ’n cheese, tofu rice bowls, and barbacoa plates. But their sandwiches are what make you feel like someone dropped a 90-pound blanket fresh out of the dryer on you. Take their basketball-size fried chicken sandwich. It’s one of the best fried chicken sandwiches with a crispy buttermilk chicken breast, sweet marinated peppers, and fried shallots. And the Cali Alley Burger - a juicy, ground brisket and short rib patty with garlic aioli and all the fixings - should keep you coming back whenever you need a bit of food therapy.
When the pandemic hit, former private chef Azikiwee Anderson started making sourdough loaves out of his backyard oven in the Richmond and selling them via Instagram - and the business quickly took off. The crusty, chewy loaves are filled with things you won’t normally see in a loaf of sourdough, like bacon and parmesan, candied blueberries, and even Louisiana hot links, which are inspired by Anderson’s hometown of New Orleans. You can order here for pick up on Mondays, Wednesdays, or Fridays.
Ruby Q Smoke Fusion
Ruby Q Smoke Fusion is located in Oakland’s Fruitvale next to The Aloha Club and La Grana Fish (a top spot for birria tacos). Like the name suggests, they specialize in smoked meats by the pound, which are, for lack of a better phrase, absolute fire. You can get chicken, brisket, or tender spare ribs doused in sweet, tangy barbecue sauce, and sides like potato salad, mac and cheese, baked beans, and smoked collard greens. And if you want to make things a little more interesting, get their smoked meats loaded on top of nachos, quesadillas, or street tacos. You can order takeout or enjoy your meal on the outdoor patio.
Man Vs. Fries
Potato enthusiasts, assemble - this Bay Area-based national mini-chain recently opened a food truck in the Mission that incorporates fries into almost all of their dishes, from a massive burrito stuffed with Hot Cheetos and fries to curly fries topped with carne asada, guacamole, and sour cream. They also have a location in East Oakland. Order on the apps for pick up or delivery.