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Kevin Johnson Opens Soul Food Restaurant in Oak Park

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SACRAMENTO -- Former Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson says he's hoping his Fixins Soul Kitchen will become a signature restaurant in the Oak Park neighborhood where he grew up.

The restaurant's grand opening Wednesday was attended by community and family members.

It's connected to his St. Hope nonprofit, which was set up to create educational opportunities in Oak Park. But it also has a development arm that seeks to boost economic opportunities in the area.

The restaurant is housed in the old Sawyer Hotel, which is owned by St. Hope and is home to the Guild Theater and other businesses.

Fixins is being marketed as hip and energetic. It serves traditional soul food dishes in a more upscale setting.

"It's down-home soul food, we just put a prettier plate under it," said executive chef Boots Johnson.

Kevin Johnson said while making a profit is the goal of any business, his motivation is not to enrich shareholders but to be able to hire underemployed residents of Oak Park. He said many of the 70 employees have been in situations where they need a second chance.

"For me, it's always been how do you create more opportunities for more people and I like to think Fixins is on its way to doing something really special for Oak Park," he said.

The restaurant had a soft opening several weeks ago and several customers were dining for the third time. Kevin Johnson is hoping to expand the brand and to create an economic boost in other communities.

As for his chances of re-entering politics, the former mayor said, "Zero, absolutely not."

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