HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >


Brown Sugar Kitchen Review [Oakland]

I finally made it to Brown Sugar Kitchen recently after all this time. I love fried chicken so got their famous fried chicken and waffles. The fried chicken was good but the waffles were amazing. Hands down the BEST waffles I have ever had. They are so different from any other ones I’ve had. They’re light, not cakey and extra crispy. They are served with this sugary butter that was completely decadent. Anyone know what the secret to their batter is??

Service was excellent despite the long line. The food took awhile, but they warn you about it since everyone orders the fried chicken and waffles. I can’t wait to go back and try their other stuff, though it will be hard not to order their waffles again. This is one of the few places that’s definitely worth the hype.

Only downside was that I had to force myself to run a few miles later in the day because of all the calories I consumed.

Brown Sugar Kitchen
2534 Mandela Pkwy, Oakland, CA 94607

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I just went for the first time as well - thought the chicken was just ok (the meat wasn't as tender or flavorful as I'd like, and I wasn't crazy about the spicing on the crust) but agree that the waffle was amazing. I think the batter had to have been enriched with butter and lightened with beaten egg whites, don't know if there's some other magic involved. When I go back, I think I'll just get two orders of waffles, no chicken. Like you said, definitely worth the hype.

    Also enjoyed the light, chewy beignets, and the the grits with poached eggs.

    1 Reply
    1. re: daveena

      Any reports on the ribs? I agree completely with the OP (except I didn't run a few miles) - I thought about getting the waffle with the ribs the next time.

    2. Our favorite items at BSK are the beignets, waffles, grits, oyster po-boy and greens. The chicken is very hit and miss. When it's good, it's really good. Unfortunately they're just as often a miss so we've stopped ordering the chicken after receiving too many orders of mediocre chicken. We've never ordered the ribs.

      We've tried most of the items in their bakery case but most were just meh, especially the cheddar bacon biscuit which we found to be dry and greasy. Cookies were better than the banana or other loaf breads.

      1. I have to laugh at your "run a few miles later in the day" comment calalilly - I did the Oakland Marathon earlier this year and the course went by BSK around the 20-mile mark or so. They had ALL sorts of goodies laid out that were so tempting to grab and eat as you ran by, but they always say you don't try any food you haven't had before during a race, lest you risk gastro-intestinal issues.

        Your review makes me want to go by and try their waffles - haven't had a good waffle in a long long time

        1. We split off some discussion of waffle recipes to our Home Cooking board. You can find that topic here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/720434

          1. I finally made it out there myself today. The cornmeal waffles absolutely live up to the hype - light in the inside and crispy on the outside. Reminded me of the incredible cornbread I had at Bruno's last year. The chicken was excellent too. The breast meat was moist and had plenty of flavor from the brine. Very nice!

            We also enjoyed the BBQ'd shrimp & grits, although they were a bit rich. The creamy grits were an excellent foil to the highly spiced gravy, but the combination was wrong. Less gravy or more grits were needed. All in all it was a great visit and I'll definitely be back.

            1. I read on eatersf that BSK's owner plans to have a 2nd place in SF Bay View district. No ETA.

              1. Heard about Brown Sugar Kitchen for years and finally tried it. Ate some oatmeal at home so I wasn't hungry when I went. Hate to be starving & having to wait. Drive from Fremont is about 30 min, FREE street parking in front & in the back of the restaurant.

                Got there about 8:50am on Sun 4/15/12 and the small place was filled up with a waiting list. Got on the list and had to wait only about 10 minutes. Wait after 9am looked pretty bad, 2 benches outside the place to wait. Got 2 seats at the counter.

                I got Cornmeal Waffle w/ apple cider syrup $8 - takes some time to get the waffle, it's just one waffle, some butter, & the syrup. I thought the syrup was very sweet & not my favorite, but I didn't want to spend $2 more for Maple Syrup. Waffle was very light & crispy. I liked it. I'm going to try to find a cornmeal waffle recipe online & make my own at home.

                B. got cheesy grits w/ poached eggs $8 - he liked it, I found the grits just ok, I'm not a fan of poached eggs.

                One piece of Buttermilk fried chicken $4 - B. said it was the best fried chicken he's ever had. I found it was pretty juicy.

                Coffee $1.84 - black coffee w/ cream on the side. More coffee offered if u want.

                Charged our meal $23.75 before tip. Separate bathrooms - women's just one sink/one toilet from entrance turn Left.

                Seen on KQED Check Please. Check out the Oakland mural & street art across the street.

                1. simply put:
                  amazing shrimp n grits.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: escargot3

                    Do they only do that during the week? I was there last weekend, and didn't see that offered (we did get the grits w/ eggs though, and they were delicious).

                    The quality of the chicken and waffles, and the apple syrup, was great as always. The blackberry jam was flavorless, but they have a nice fig and strawberry jam right now. Good hot chocolate.

                    1. re: hyperbowler

                      dunno if there's a day of the week when they offer it. I can imagine it maybe mid-week only 'cause of the complexity of flavors/spices/tastes. They may not have the time to do that on a weekend. The reduction sauce, the bbq shrimp, the red + green peppers with plump fresh-tasting shrimp... made me groan with delight.

                      it was better than any I've had in Charleston, which till today I had deemed the best.

                  2. Brown Sugar Kitchen opened a BBQ place called BSide, which is very good but expensive. Great brisket, maybe the best I have ever tasted. Worth checking out if you like Brown Sugar Kitchen.

                    3303 San Pablo Avenue, Oakland, CA 94608

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: JonDough

                      Yes, definitely try BSide. I respectfully disagree that it is expensive--I ate extremely well for under ten dollars. The chili is terrific and I was with people who raved about two different rib styles.

                      Has BSide extended its hours, anyone know? I had heard they were going to start staying open later.

                      1. re: BAnders

                        I haven't heard about the hours but it was about $28 per person with tip. Not expensive but more than what we expected to pay.

                    2. The secret to their batter is that it is yeast based and richened with butter.

                      1. The waffle batter is made with yeast, which gives it that wonderful lightness.

                        An article with links to Tanya Holland's recipes for Fried Chcken 'n' Waffles:


                        1 Reply
                        1. re: salumigirl

                          hmm... the proportions of ingredients are different than what was previously reported, but the ingredients are the same: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7204... (incidentally, that recipe didn't work well on my small squarish waffle iron. I think the fatty waffle irons are necessary)

                          Glad to see she posted a syrup recipe.

                        2. Our group of five is planning a Sunday breakfast at BSK. If we arrive around noon-time, does anyone have a thought about how long a wait to expect?

                          Any help will be appreciated...

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Rapini

                            45 minutes minimum. Maybe longer due to the large group.

                            1. re: Civil Bear

                              Thanks...one hour-ish is what I guessed.