Auckland’s Town Fare reopens with a new menu and famous local black chef

A new chef with deep roots in Southern California-inspired cooking has been chosen to run Town Fare, the café at the Oakland Museum, California.

Starting today, Michelle McQueen, best known as the founding chef of Gussie’s Chicken and Waffles in San Francisco, leads the café led by celebrity chef Tonya Holland. The Netherlands left OMCA in January to focus on other projects, including the “California Soul” cookbook due out in October. Soon, Chef Buakalanai Parkes of Hawaii and Tonga, who was part of the Holland team at Town Fare, worked as temporary chef until the search for a permanent replacement was complete, says Laurie Fogarty, OMCA CEO. City fare is temporarily closed from the end of May to July 12.

McQueen brings 28 years of restaurant experience to the role – and a new food and beverage menu. Town Fare is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday, at 100 Oak St. , Auckland. A new sun deck, which debuts tomorrow, will provide service from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Chef Michelle McQueen now runs the kitchen at Town Fare, the café at the Oakland Museum in California. McQueen brings 28 years of experience and a new slate to the party. (Jennifer Marvin)

According to a press release, the new Town Fare roster pays tribute to the McQueen family’s roots and upbringing in Auckland. Look for shared plates, salads, and entrees, including Curry Collard, Cabbage, Yam Spring Rolls with Caribbean spices, and curry aioli, shrimp and grits with chicken sausage, chutney, tomato, and cheddar cheese.

Yes there is fried chicken and fried chicken sandwich.

The brew program—also sponsored by McQueen—features several black-owned businesses, including Alameda-based Wachira Wines and Auckland’s Hella Coastal Brewery. The 45-seat sun deck features patio sofas and an outdoor bar surrounded by OMCA’s terrace gardens. A must make for a great cocktail.

After Gussie’s Chicken and Waffles closed in 2014, McQueen became a chef at Apple, Inc. Developed and managed grab-and-go software for more than 25 websites. McQueen first made her name in the restaurant world when she helped bring Los Angeles-based soul food chain Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles to Northern California. She was involved in managing Roscoe’s for nearly a decade before opening Gussie’s in 2009.

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