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How a soul food restaurant became Black Hollywood’s top spot for power dining

Restaurateur and Watts native Keith Corbin opened Alta Adams in South Los Angeles in 2018, serving reimagined Southern cuisine.

The Alta Adams is said to be one of the few hot spots in South Los Angeles where Black Hollywood is likely to convene for comfort food, lively entertainment and specialty cocktails crafted with local ingredients. 

Restaurateur and Watts native Keith Corbin teamed with Michelin-starred restaurateur Daniel Patterson and opened Alta Adams in 2018. Since then, neighborhood residents and celebrities such as Diddy, Jay-Z, Issa Rae, Sterling K. Brown and Lena Waithe have come to enjoy Corbin’s reimagined soul food cuisine and the restaurant’s outdoor space that allows for “spontaneous dance parties,” per The Hollywood Reporter.

Posing on a night out at Alta Adams restaurant in South Los Angeles are (from left) Diddy, eatery co-owner/chef Keith Corbin, Jay-Z and Gwen Etta, a former Alta Adams sous chef. (Photo: Screenshot/Instagram)

Corbin tells THR he was “nervous as hell” shortly before the opening of Alta Adams, located in Los Angeles’ historic West Adams neighborhood, at 5359 West Adams Blvd.

“[But] for our soft opening, John Legend showed up. Then, from there, Tiffany Haddish. Tracee Ellis Ross showed up, and she told me that she would be the first person to book my restaurant for an event,” Corbin said. The actress later bought out the entire space for a “Women of Black-ish” dinner.

Corbin’s flavorful menu boasts vegetarian collard greens enhanced with wood-chip-smoked oil, grilled pork chops topped with Southern chow chow relish, fried chicken, black eyed pea fritters, candied yams with spiced pecans, braised oxtails and cornbread. Each dish is composed to encourage sharing.

As decribed on Alta Adams’ website: “Our bar program features a thoughtfully curated wine list, beer, and cocktails with an emphasis on local ingredients. Cocktails include the Lunchbox with peanuts, butter-washed whiskey, huckleberry + Aperol, and Through the Grapevine with vodka, concord grapes, tarragon and Burma Tonic.”

The menu “fuses the Southern flavors and dishes Corbin grew up eating and preparing alongside his grandmother with a vibrant aesthetic and produce-driven approach,” its website touts.

“Our mission at Alta has always been to create a space of love and inclusivity, to cook the best food we can, to provide warm service and to support our community,” says chef Corbin, a married father who previously worked at an oil refinery before his “late start” as a professional chef and foray into the culinary world. 

“When you go in there, you feel so welcome and you feel at home,” says Compass real estate agent and Alta Adams regular Pam Lumpkin. “[Corbin] is liable to walk up and sit at your table whether he knows you or not, and you don’t get that a lot anymore, especially since COVID.”

Last year, Corbin closed his Culver City food stall inside Citizen Public Market more than two years after it was first announced. Corbin’s Louella’s Cali Soul Kitchen opened just before L.A. was hit with a surge of COVID deaths in the winter. 

As reported by Eatery, the food stall was a joint project between Corbin and Patterson. Corbin shared in a statement at the time that Louella’s closed “at the request of food hall leadership.”

“We are so grateful to everyone who supported us,” he said. “We are working on a space to reopen in a new Los Angeles location. We wish the owners of CPM all the best.”

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The post How a soul food restaurant became Black Hollywood’s top spot for power dining appeared first on TheGrio.

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