Get a Taste of Marin’s Black-Owned Restaurants

Forrest Murray, Jr. of San Rafael’s Forrest Fire BBQ designed the perfect tribute to his father: Saint Louis-style pork ribs, chicken, and beef tri-tip, cooked low and slow before he pulls them from a wood-stoked barbecue. These are the signature meals he prepares on his Southern Pride Smoker outside Marinwood Market in San Rafael on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, with his mobile catering business and soon at United Markets, San Rafael and Gold Gate Market, Sausalito. Inside a cast iron pan logo of his business rests an outline of the state of Alabama stamped with “928” to reflect Murray’s roots and the date of his dad’s birthday.

Habanero-laced pikliz, a vegetable-based relish, is a top condiment in Haiti, the country that chef-owner Frantz Felix of downtown San Rafael’s Caribbean Spices hails from. A Creole pork sandwich and seafood gumbo reflect the chef’s interest in the global reach of the flavors of the West Indies. Plates of shrimp and grits or fish tacos arrive with sides of beans and rice, salad and tostones tender enough to make a plantain lover cry. Sidewalk seating and takeout are available until dining inside is once again permitted.

San Francisco native Angelica and her fiancée, chef Trey Mitchell, popped onto the takeout and delivery scene just before the pandemic hit with SoulKitchenMarin. Once shelter-in-place orders came down, the duo garnered a dedicated following for their locally-sourced, organic five cheese mac-n-cheese, slow-simmered collard greens and BBQ stewed chicken, all part of their Soul Plates meal. Cooking from a commercial kitchen in Bel Marin Keys means takeout for now with menus posted on Instagram every Sunday @soulkitchenmarin. Plans are in the works for both a wedding and a more permanent space in San Rafael.

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Christina MuellerChristina Mueller is a long-time Bay Area food writer. She hails from the East Coast and has spent way too much time in South America and Europe. She discovered her talent as a wordsmith in college and her love of all things epicurean in grad school. She has written for Condé Nast Contract PublishingSunset, and the Marin Independent Journal, among others. She volunteers with California State Parks and at her child’s school, and supports the Marin Audubon SocietyPEN America, and Planned Parenthood. When she is not drinking wine by a fire, she is known to spend time with her extended family.