The new eatery is expected to open August 2020 serving Tanya Holland’s signature California soul food

Oakland Museum of California Entrance
Courtesy of Oakland Museum of California. Photo by Matthew Millman
The Museum's Oak Street entrance. Courtesy of the Oakland Museum of California. Photo by Matthew Millman.

We’re counting down the weeks until construction begins on a new cafe concept for the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA): Town Fare by Tanya Holland. Founder and executive chef of Oakland’s beloved Brown Sugar Kitchen and former Top Chef contestant, Holland is bringing her newest project to fruition in August 2020.

Holland’s new eatery will focus on the California soul food she’s known for, and will offer breakfast and lunch as well as select dinner service available until 10pm during Friday Nights at OMCA. Town Fare will also provide alcoholic beverage service and catering for events. As Eater SF reported, the menu—which will be mostly plant-forward—may feature Brown Sugar Kitchen menu favorites, with yams and macaroni and cheese as possible candidates.

The restaurant’s name draws on Oakland’s (i.e. the town’s) significant role in Holland’s career and uses the word “fare” to convey the unpretentious yet deliciousness of the restaurant’s high-quality menu items. Located on the second level of the museum, it’ll be part of a larger renovation at the 11,000-square-foot cultural space, which coincides with its 50th anniversary. 

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“We are so excited to be partnering with Tanya Holland to bring this new dining destination to the museum. Town Fare will be an important addition to our campus and a gathering place for our community,” said OMCA director and CEO Lori Fogarty. Bringing in the well-liked chef on a public-facing project is also part of the museum’s All In! campaign, says Fogarty, which is focused on making OMCA a “museum of the people.” 

Holland plans to use the restaurant as a platform to provide multi-ethnic food that authentically represents Oakland and California through collaborations with her chef colleagues. For Holland, her partnership with the OMCA is “a dream come true that combines all of my interests and passions.”