You know what makes me happy? When one of the first chefs I ever interviewed, oh, like 14 years ago (back in 2004!) gets in touch to let me know about her new project. That would be Brenda Buenviaje of local Brenda’s fame—I met her when she was working at Café Claude, way back when! It has been so rewarding to watch her business grow with her wife and business partner, Libby Truesdell, which includes our city’s beloved Brenda’s French Soul Food, Brenda’s Meat & Three, and Libby Jane Cafe.
But now, the ladies are heading across the Bay and will be opening BRENDA’S in Temescal! Brenda tells me they have been looking for a location in Oakland for a couple years, and are thrilled to be opening in a new building (which will include apartments above), the Maya, at Broadway and 41st. It’s about six months out, so we’re looking at late spring 2019.
Brenda’s will be fast-casual, and will feature the best of their signature items, like beignets, brunch items, fried chicken, and po’boys (with some new ones coming too). Since the area is more residential, they will have some kid-friendly additions like milkshakes, and some family meals (with chicken!) to bring home. It’s important to them to have Brenda’s be accessible to all.
The corner space is a new buildout, but will feature the Brenda’s southern diner style, with hardwood floors, ceiling tiles, murals, and there will be big windows, including exhibition windows from the street onto the kitchen so you can watch them make beignets! There will be some counter seats, and outdoor seating as well.
Hours will be Wed-Mon 8am-10pm (closed Tue), serving breakfast and brunch and then transitioning to lunch/supper/dinner service. Stand by for more details as the project takes shape. Oakland, get excited—the beignets are coming. 4045 Broadway at 41st St., Oakland.
Brenda’s famed crawfish beignets. Photo: Libby Truesdell.