Soul food restaurant Cornbread, described as fast-casual farm-to-table, will open the first of three area sites in the Walmart at 2351 Century Drive, West Mifflin.
Doors at the leased space will open at 11 a.m. July 5, with locations at the Walmarts in Frazer and Hempfield set to open before year’s end, says co-founder Adenah Bayoh. The new restaurant is expected to create approximately 35 new jobs, and Cornbread intends to source many of its menu items from local farms and farmers market, she says.
Why partner with Walmart, rather than locate in a freestanding storefront?
“For us (Zadie B. Smith also is a co-founder and crafted the menu), I think it’s always been essentially our goal and our strategy to take this brand nationally. … We wanted make Cornbread accessible to everyone, your everyday, hardworking person who would like to see quality food on the table at the end of the day, whether they cooked it or not. … Partnering with Walmart achieved that for us,” Bayoh says.
Feeding the region’s “foodies”
Bayoh and Smith established Cornbread, crafting menus created with steroid- and hormone-free ingredients.
“We have probably the best cornbread you’ve ever had. People fall in love with our catfish, our ribs, our collard greens and mac and cheese are out of this world. We have sauteed cabbage, which has been a home run,” Bayoh says.
Pittsburgh’s growing reputation as a “foodie” city convinced her to bring the restaurant to the region. “I think you guys have an amazing food scene happening right now in Pittsburgh. I’ve spent a lot of time there and I really like what’s happening there. I think it’s a robust food scene. Pittsburgh is always very welcoming and we wanted to position Cornbread in a market where the community was ready for it,” Bayoh adds.
Bayoh, 40, opened her first Cornbread in 2017 in Maplewood, N.J., pioneering a concept offering both traditional American soul food cuisine and streamlining ordering and payment via automated kiosks.
A former refugee who escaped the Liberian Civil War at age 13, Bayoh immigrated to Newark, N.J. She attended public schools and put herself through college. She opened her first restaurant at 29, and is founder and CEO of Adenah Bayoh and Companies. The parent corporation owns multiple restaurants in northern New Jersey and a real estate development portfolio with over $250 million in urban redevelopment projects, according to her website.
In addition to a ceremonial ribbon cutting on Friday, the event will include Walmart executives, speakers and samples of Cornbread’s dishes.