My Angeleno husband and son still find it amusing when my Louisiana tongue slips back into the soil of its origins. “I’m about to go make groceries — y’all need anything?” or “I’m fixin’ to run to the gym,” I’ll say, forgetting they’re not from the same “country” I’m from.
But they can tease as hard as they like. Deep down, they’ve come to appreciate the riches of the South, especially its food. And so, we’re all looking forward to checking out a new soul food joint that has come to town and sounds right up my alley: Fixins Soul Kitchen.
Founded by former NBA All-Star and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and his wife Michelle, the restaurant, located at L.A. LIVE in Downtown L.A., combines his “love of Black culture with her obsession with great food,” he says.
Constantly being on the road during his 12-year NBA career left Johnson craving home cooking, so he often sought out soul food restaurants while traveling. With Fixins, he aims to build on the best traditions of the American soul food experience while infusing it with a modern vibe.
Some recipe favorites include Grandma Gladys’ famous peach cobbler, chicken and waffles, oxtails, shrimp and grits, red beans and rice and deep-fried deviled eggs. Of course, they’ve got collard greens. Of course, there’s mac and cheese. Don’t play.
Drinks include a variety of Kool-Aid flavors, sweet tea, cocktails such as “Adult Kool-Aid” and bourbons from Uncle Nearest, a former slave and the first African American master distiller in the U.S., widely considered to be the godfather of Tennessee whiskey.
Peppered throughout the space are cookbooks from Black authors and vintage soul food kitchen essentials such as rolling pins, graters and flour scales. The restaurant offers 6,700 square feet of indoor space and a 1,300 square-foot outdoor patio space that overlooks the heart of the L.A. LIVE complex.
The founders say Fixins will stimulate economic growth with more than $4 million annually in economic impact in the greater Los Angeles area and create 140 new jobs for the local community. The restaurant will partner with a re-entry workforce program to specifically train and recruit underemployed populations. It will support Brotherhood Crusade, a local nonprofit organization that provides resources, program services and advocacy to underserved communities. Fixins is also supporting The Ron Finley Project, which teaches communities how to transform “food deserts” into “food sanctuaries” and how to regenerate their lands into creative business models.
“When you come to Fixins, you’re going to feel like family,” Johnson promises.
See you soon, fam.