Tanya Holland opens veggie-centric soul food cafe at Oakland Museum of California

Ricotta toast topped with puffed tomatoes, veggie muffaletta, and fried chicken straw are on the opening menu at Town Fare, Tanya Holland’s recently opened vegetarian cafe at the Oakland Museum of California.

Town Fare debuted on Friday, coinciding with the reopening of the Oakland Museum. Pre-orders are already sold out for this weekend. And until further notice, Town Fare will be open only to museum visitors, so it is necessary to purchase an entrance ticket to eat there.

Holland is an acclaimed chef and loved for the soul food she serves at Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland. On the museum’s website, the quick and easy-going Town Fare is described as a restaurant “at the forefront of vegetables and inspired by California soul food.”

For now, Town Fare will offer a limited menu of take-out picnic boxes, a la carte options, and drinks. Boxes include meal sets like these ricotta toast with mixed cucumber salad and chocolate chip cookie; or Bawdy Fried Chicken – an ode to Brown Sugar Kitchen’s fried chicken, but a boneless, skinless version – with a side salad, stuffed eggs, a potato salad, and a nectarine-blueberry crunch. The muffaletta is inspired by other local food companies: olive relish, roasted peppers, grilled zucchini and eggplant are served on bread from Oakland Firebrand bakery with a Creole macaroni salad made from Community Grains pasta.

The a la carte menu will change daily; current offerings include devil’s eggs and a spicy North African hummus with pickled vegetables and crostini. Most of the dishes are recipes from the new Dutch cookbook which will be released next year.

“They call it the People’s Museum,” Holland said of the Oakland Museum. “I tried to create a menu for people. “

Diners can expect to see an expanded menu and indoor dining at Town Fare when the museum’s Great Hall opens in August.

For drinks, the Town Fare offers local beer, canned wine, batch cocktails, coffee and tea. Guests can eat and drink in the museum’s recently renovated gardens and other large outdoor spaces.

Holland said she had wanted to open a restaurant at the Oakland Museum in California for more than a decade, while working for a catering company that served the museum. She studied art history at university and wanted to work in the art world before getting into the kitchen.

“It really fits all of my interests,” she said.

City rate. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Friday to Sunday. 1000 Oak St., Oakland. museumca.org

Elena Kadvany is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @ekadvany

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