On January 12, the Lower Fillmore District of San Francisco got a little smokier with the grand opening of Black Bark BBQ. Owners David Lawrence and Monetta White are longtime residents of the neighborhood (and own nearby 1300 Fillmore) and have dreamed of bringing barbecue back to the Fillmore District. The opening celebration featured samples of Chef David's killer chicken, sausage, and brisket, piled high with Black Bark's very own barbecue sauces, and an appearance by Mayor Ed Lee, who declared January 12 "Black Bark BBQ Day" in San Francisco.
Working Solutions CEO Emily Gasner was proud to speak during the program, describing Working Solutions' role in funding a $50,000 loan for Black Bark to put the finishing touches on their kitchen through the City of San Francisco's Revolving Loan Fund. Emily emphasized the cooperation between Working Solutions and the City of San Francisco as critical to the success of businesses like Black Bark. To date, the Revolving Loan Fund has funded 113 businesses in San Francisco, more than 60% of which are owned by women. Those businesses have gone on to create more than 500 jobs in San Francisco communities.
"It was no easy road" to get the restaurant open, said Monetta during the celebration. The combined work of the City of San Francisco's Office of Economic & Workforce Development, the Fillmore Center, and community partners like SF Shines, Urban Solutions, and Working Solutions came together to help make Black Bark a reality. And it's already paying off for the community; with the help of Mo'Magic, David and Monetta have hired half of their employees from within the Western Addition, and between their two restaurants have created 50 jobs.
Before cutting the ribbon on the new restaurant, the Mayor closed the program, citing "personal passion" as "the key to the revitalization of the Fillmore." And if the energy of the crowd and quality of the food on its first day are any indication, Black Bark will keep bringing that passion for years to come.