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Brenda Buenviaje has become one of the Bay Area’s best known names in Southern cooking ever since she and her wife opened Brenda’s French Soul Food in San Francisco in 2007. Her Oakland location, called simply Brenda’s, is her first East Bay outpost and her first fast-casual restaurant. Many of the original location’s signature dishes are available here, including the shrimp and grits with tomato bacon gravy, Brenda’s Fried Chicken with pepper jelly, chicken and andouille gumbo, and a flight of beignets with plain, apple, chocolate, and crawfish varieties. But for the most part, the dishes fall just short of their counterparts at the original location (with the exception of the delicious sweet watermelon tea), and the fast-casual service model means no lingering over your meal.

— Katherine Hamilton

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Price: $$

Payment Type: Cash, All Major Credit Cards

Hours: Wed.-Mon. 8 a.m.-9 p.m.

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