Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Cornbread
This Black-Owned Soul Food Restaurant Just Expanded Into Multiple Walmarts
As a little girl, Adenah Bayoh always had an entrepreneurial spirit. She knew what it meant to be a business owner early on.
She was born in Liberia and was mostly raised by her grandmother who owned multiple businesses. As early as 8th grade she was starting small businesses, including babysitting children for money.
In 1991, she fled from Liberia during the civil war and landed in Newark, New Jersey. She grew up in public housing but knew that she would one day own her own companies.
After college, she worked in banking but also dabbled in real estate on the side. Once that hustle increased, she left banking to devote her time to real estate fully.
Adenah knew that she wanted to be able to give back and pour into communities that were always underserved and overlooked. She wanted to bring up the community that she was raised in.
In 2017, she opened her first IHOP franchise in Irvington, New Jersey. This was her official segway into the restaurant industry. That particular area of Jersey was a food desert, and it seemed no one else was interested in bringing larger chains to the city. So, she did it herself.
“My store was in a predominately Black neighborhood,” Adenah told Travel Noire. “I really wanted to push serving more soul food there, but I was limited under the IHOP brand.”
She eventually opened a second IHOP store but she was still interested in bringing soul food to the area. Adenah teamed up with Zadie B. Smith, and the two women opened Cornbread in 2017.
“We wanted to change soul food as being a player in the larger markets. We wanted people to see it from a different perspective and bring it into the mainstream.”
Cornbread, located in Maplewood, NJ, is a brand that brings together soul food with farm-to-table ingredients. The women ensured that the restaurant had all of the essentials to set it apart from the everyday mom and pop place. They created an app, installed kiosks for ordering, as well as placed their food on food delivery apps.
This allowed them to stand out and eventually Walmart took notice.
“We wanted Cornbread to be accessible to everyday people. Partnering with Walmart was an easy partnership,” Adenah said.
The restaurant is slated to open in 3 Walmart stores across Pennsylvania. The first opened July 5th in the West Mifflin Walmart located at 2351 Century Drive, West Mifflin, PA.
“Opening our restaurant in Walmart is bigger than me. It’s about those that came before me but weren’t afforded the same opportunity. It’s a way for me to say thank you and hopefully open the doors for others.”
To learn more about Cornbread you can visit their website at www.cornbreadsoul.com.