Inspirational stories of Bay Area black food entrepreneurs


Maurice Disells, owner and chef at the Oyo restaurant in Pleasanton, Calif., Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group)

It’s been less than three years since we faced one of our nation’s most important civil rights movements in the last half century. In 2020 a publication like ours was created and has been maintained ever since List of black-owned restaurants Other eateries that support the entire Bay Area, not just during Black History Month, but year-round.

DeeLee Cakes in San Jose, Concord Tap House in Concord and Oyo in Pleasanton.

DeReath Times, Dee Lee Cakes

There’s a lot Mary Lee Cage told her San Jose granddaughter, Deres Times. Her work ethic — “tubs need to stand on their own feet,” she says — and her desire to help black women “better themselves so they can better their children.” desire.

DeReath Times is the founder of DeeLee Cakes, a pound cake business inspired by Southern grandmother Mary Lee Cage. (Rani Nguyen)

“My grandmother was amazing,” says Bay Area native and founder The Times. deely cake, cottage pound cake business. “She was my hero. She was my champion too.”

Cage passed away in 2005, but her legacy lives on in the rich, buttery cakes The Times bakes and sells in and around the South Bay. Pandemic lockdowns forced her into the kitchen in March 2020. By May, with the help of her friends and her son, The Times was selling her Bundt pan her cakes from her $40. friend.

“Another mother’s brother posted a cake on Facebook and the response was ‘OMG yes’ and ‘well yes,'” says Times. “That kind of blessing continues.”

This month was our busiest yet, with orders from Netflix and nonprofits. 100 black men in america, ordered twelve 12-inch round sweet potato pound cakes. The cake is a Times signature and her bestseller.It has a warm spice flavor and is topped with buttered pecans. (In the summer, they make lemonade pound cakes and they sell out quickly.)

“It’s rare to meet someone who doesn’t like pound cake or has a grandmother who made pound cake,” she says. “People remember homely Sunday dinners and Southern barbecues.”

Working as a legal assistant by day, The Times spends his nights refining recipes left behind by Miss Mary. She keeps them strictly, but follows her grandmother’s advice to “make it better” with upgraded ingredients such as milk, flour, and farm-fresh eggs. We think it was Nothing Bundt Cakes that made it happen, but her twists are unique, like the “21 And Over” version of chocolate topped with Bailey’s glaze.

The Times is taking bookings through early March, but plans to resume ordering through her website soon. www.deeleecakes.comShe hopes to one day open bricks and mortar and teach black women how to make bread. Her dream is to start a bakery-linked women’s center that provides jobs, counseling, and other resources for women of color.

“My grandmother taught me how to bounce back,” she says. “I want to do it for other women.”

Miles Burks, Concord Tap House

You could say Concord’s Miles Burks grew up in business. When he started working with his father Keith, all his nine years old, he made his Louisiana style barbecue at his BJK’s Rib Factory on Bethel Island and provided catering for the 49ers and Raiders. was

“I was the busboy, I was the host, I had whatever I needed,” he said. Concord Tap House Also in Concord, Frickin’ Fried is a soul food and french fries restaurant. “It eased my way of thinking about work. My father implemented that in me.

Co-owner and bartender Myles Burks takes a break at Concord Tap House, which also runs Frickin’ Fried. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

Keith Burks died of heart failure in June, but not before instilling 22-year-old Myles with the importance of serving his community and making every customer feel like a regular.

“He’s very much like his father in that he always has a smile on his face, treats everyone equally, is outgoing and positive,” says another Concord tap house co-owner and wife. said Tony Fredericks with Valerie of

Burks fills his father’s shoes with grace and guts, working five nights a week behind bars and earning the nickname Captain Cavalry for every last-minute grocery shopping or unexpected beer delivery. The Concord Taphouse opened in Midtown in 2018, offering her 24-rpm taps of California craft beer and a menu of bubbly-friendly pubs and his food.

When he’s not at the taphouse, Burks and his mother and fourth co-owner Cathy work to uncover Keith’s various projects. Most importantly, in 2020 she’s Chalk It Up, Hayward’s pool hall that was destroyed in two fires. Burks is rebuilding, adding a ping pong table and billiards his room and expanding the kitchen.

“We want to elevate the food experience with shareable tapas,” he says.

His next project (which is his own) is a roller skating and miniature golf family destination in the heart of Contra Costa County. Massive entertainment venues serve food and drink and offer something most 22-year-olds don’t even think about.

“I want to create jobs in my community,” he says.

Maurice and Samuel Disells, Oyo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to content