Brown Sugar Kitchen & B-Side BBQ

Oakland, CA

Drive by Mandela Parkway at 26th Street and you’ll see a crowd of people huddled around a small, flat-roofed, brown building—coffees in hand. This innocuous-looking spot, surrounded by industrial buildings, is home to Chef Tanya Holland. Inside, Tanya’s special blend of soul food, warm hospitality, and a well-curated playlist has become an Oakland favorite.

Tanya opened Brown Sugar Kitchen in 2008. She used a $50,000 loan from Main Street Launch (then OBDC) for kitchen upgrades, equipment, and working capital. The working capital allowed Tanya to hire staff, which gave her the opportunity to work on her overall business operations. The loan provided breathing room for the business, allowing Tanya to plan ahead instead of just reacting to the day-to-day challenges.

Tanya says the application process was educational. The portfolio manager took their time explaining each step of the application. She was pleased that the loan request turned around quickly, giving her the financial support she needed during the early stages of her business.

“Restaurants are difficult to fund as new businesses,” Tanya said. “When the banks and private equity investors would not provide sufficient capital, if any, Main Street Launch took a chance.”

We’re glad we did. West Oakland hasn’t been the same since Tanya’s chicken and waffles came to town.



Tanya Holland has been a long-time client of Main Street Launch.  In 2016, she needed affordable working capital to support her landmark business Brown Sugar Kitchen, located in West Oakland.  “We refinanced high-interest business loans, which improved her cash flow by 25 percent.  The working capital we provided facilitated hiring five new employees and added inventory capital to support anticipated growth in sales revenue,” says Robert.  “We are thrilled to continue to support Tanya.  Her success empowers us all!”