Popular East Bay soul food restaurant Home of Chicken & Waffles might choose downtown Richmond as its third location, according to the Richmond Main Street Initiative (RMSI).
RMSI, the nonprofit that is spearheading a City Council-approved effort to revitalize Richmond’s downtown, promised last month to reveal a potential new restaurant on the corridor. In a newsletter Friday, the group said its board of directors was impressed with the eatery after dining at its Walnut Creek location last month.
“Derreck B. Johnson, owner of Home of Chicken & Waffles, greeted the board with a warm smile and a memorable meal filled with delicious soul food and generous hospitality,” RMSI said.
Johnson is reportedly an Oakland native with a business degree from Fisk University. He purchased the original Home of Chicken & Waffles in Oakland’s Jack London Square in 2004, when it was financially struggling. The restaurant was originally a franchise of Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles. Johnson made some changes and turned the eatery into a successful business. He opened the Walnut Creek location in 2011.
The restaurants are doing well enough to warrant a third location.
“[Johnson] is interested in expanding and is looking at downtown Richmond,” Executive Director Amanda Elliott said.
Even better, according to RMSI, Johnson is “committed to hiring local and providing employment opportunities to individuals facing barriers to employment.” When it first opened in Oakland, the soul food spot was reportedly part of an effort to revitalize Jack London Square.
Last year, according to RMSI, $34.7 million in physical improvements were made to Richmond’s downtown corridor. The group claims the investment has made downtown more attractive to businesses.