New restaurant owned and run by women of color, Roux40, coming soon


Chef and East Bay native Lala Harrison is opening a new restaurant in Temescal that will serve “black heritage cuisine” and be owned and run by women of color.

A GoFundMe page for the company defines its mission: “To showcase black heritage foods, while empowering women in leadership and providing jobs and education for Oakland youth in hospitality and service.” .

As reported by Mercury News and Berkeleyside, the new restaurant, called Roux40, is slated to open this fall – likely in November. This is the latest project from Chef Christina “Lala” Harrison, who serves Cajun-Cali fare at her restaurant and meal delivery business, JusLa Eats.

Chef “Lala” Harrison Photo: JusLa Eats / GoFundMe

When the pandemic hit, Harrison stepped up its small meal preparation and catering businesses into what she called a “stay home, stay safe” business model: “We were delivering food throughout the region. from the bay, for free, from Fremont to Pacifica to Brentwood, ”she told the Mercury News. “Then the same customers wanted us to do pop-ups … Eventually, we were running four days a week.”

Now she’s ready to go brick and mortar, with a menu representing the breadth and depth of black heritage foods across the country, which she told this newspaper she intends to ‘bring in the field of gastronomy.

For example, Harrison, who said early experiences with Chez Panisse inspired his farm-to-table philosophy, created a new take on classic kidney beans and rice: farro risotto with red bean compote, gremolata de sweet potatoes and charred green onion vinaigrette. Other dishes she mentioned for the menu included shrimp and lobster jambalaya, vegan okra, and various regional oyster dishes.

“Through this restaurant, I hope to tell my story as a Black American,” the 35-year-old Berkeley and Richmond native told Berkeleyside.

“From concept to design, it’s like an African-centric, avant-garde living room showcasing family and 90s R&B music. I want you to feel like you’re hanging out in the living room of an Afro family. -american, ”Harrison told the Mercury News. “This restaurant is very personal to me as a black woman. From my CEO to my designers, we are all black women and women of color. I have used female entrepreneurs as much as possible. This is very important. for me.”

Harrison plans to buy from Brown Girl Farms in Hayward and other local farms owned by people of color, as well as black-owned wineries and breweries. Learn more on the restaurant’s Instagram.

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