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Oakland’s Newest Takeout Spot Is A Food Hub For Black-Owned Pop-Ups
Epic Ventures Test Kitchen is a food hub in Oakland where you can support Black-owned food businesses. With its rotating pop-ups, it’s the perfect place to try something new.
Chef Rashad Armstead launched Epic Ventures to help focus on building his Black Food Collective. The Food Network “Chopped” champion created the collective with 10 food entrepreneurs that worked to cater events together. But all that changed during the pandemic.
“I don’t have the opportunity to go back to a job and get back to a normal routine,” he told the SF Chronicle in an interview. “I have to do something that will pay off long-term because I’m at risk of my entire life going down the drain.”
Armstead moved into a 2,500-square-foot commercial kitchen in East Oakland in July. Because he doesn’t need all the space, members of the Black Food Collective are holding pop-ups on a rotating basis.
Two of Armstead’s restaurants that closed due to funding, Grammie’s Down-Home Chicken & Seafood in Oakland and Crave BBQ in Richmond, will be available on a rotating basis on the weekends. He told the SF Chronicle he’s planning to expand their menus to include soul pies, a corn dog featuring his blue cornbread batter, and some vegan options.
Other restaurants will include Mi Granny’s Kitchen, which serves Afro-Caribbean meals, Vaco’s Tacos, which is known for its vegan tacos, and Briya Be Cookin’. All of these restaurants are owned by Black woman.
Customers will have to place orders online or through a new QR code payment service called Cheqout, so the only human interaction is picking up the food.
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Big announcement. I’m happy to announce that the @blackfoodcollective is launching its first popup restaurant series featuring all black woman owned businesses. With these popup series we’ll feature black owned food business from around the Bay and if you are interested please fill out a members application at blackfoodcollective.com. Black food businesses have the ability to not only sustain a community but help a community grow. Please show your support. Together we win. @vacos_catering @migrannyskitchen @briyabecookin @oakland @visitoakland @sooakland @blavity @blavityfoodie @sfchronicle @weloveoakland @blackbusinessfund @bestfoodinoakland @ieatoakland @thetownexperience @theblackbayarea #blackowned @blackenterprise @blackfoodie.co @blackchefsnetwork @libbyschaaf #blacklivesmatter #blackownedrestaurant #blackchefs #blackfoodcollective @blackwomenchefs @womanentrepreneurmagazine @blackentrepreneursmatter @blackenterprisewomen