This past year has seen the opening of new restaurants expanding the definition of modern soul food. Here are the innovative chefs behind the movement

West Coast Soul Food Is Rising

Courtesy of Alta Adams

Edouardo Jordan

Junebaby, Lucinda Grain Bar, Salare; Seattle

The James Beard Award–winning chef behind Junebaby and Salare continues his success with the recently opened Lucinda Grain Bar. The tiny spot showcases legumes, cereals, and pseudocereals (like quinoa and buckwheat) in both food and distilled spirits. Think chicken liver mousse on buckwheat-cashew crackers and an old-fashioned made with cardamom and barley syrup.  

Keith Corbin

Alta Adams, Adams Coffee Shop; Los Angeles  

After working at the dearly departed Locol, Corbin is running the kitchen at Alta (pictured above) and its sister cafe in the West Adams neighborhood. Here he’s cooking comfort food—like this pork chop with chowchow—but using California produce and a few well-executed fine-dining techniques. 

Tanya Holland

Brown Sugar Kitchen; Oakland, San Francisco

Brown Sugar Kitchen was a soul-food icon in West Oakland, drawing long lines for chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, and other Southern classics. Now Holland has upgraded to a larger, stylish restaurant in Uptown Oakland, giving her fans a sophisticated new brunch destination.