Based in Maplewood, New Jersey, Cornbread is a fast casual, farm-to-table soul food concept that specializes in mouthwatering, soul food creations such as fried chicken, catfish and, of course, a signature cornbread. Not only does Cornbread offer meals meant to be shared with and enjoyed by the whole family, but they also feature a unique, fun, and colorful dessert menu.
“We are a fast-casual chain focusing on old-fashioned soul food with modern technology to provide a unique dining experience. We source all of our ingredients from local farmers and shops. We are a mission-driven, Black women-owned business and take pride in our food, employees, and advancing the communities in which we operate,” explains co-founder Adenah Bayoh.
While Cornbread’s savory dishes are delectable, they offer their own signature take on homemade, Southern-style desserts to accommodate everyone’s sweet tooth.
The restaurant offers classic favorites like peach cobbler, apple cobbler and sweet potato pie for anyone looking to get a flood of nostalgia and coziness with every bite. True to their name, Cornbread also offers cornbread muffins and sweet potato muffins – by the half or whole dozen.
Cornbread was co-founded by Bayoh and Elzadie Smith, who hope to be established in almost every major market in the country to make soul food a common choice for everyone.
When she was a young girl, Bayhoh and her family escaped a civil war in native Liberia, first moving to Sierra Leone and then to Newark, New Jersey. From this harrowing experience, she learned early on how she wanted to make a positive impact on her local community.
Still, to this day, she takes this important mission to heart.
“We are using our restaurant as a vehicle to provide jobs and really be a force for good in my community,” Bayhoh says.
Plus, being voted the best cornbread in New York City brings high praise. They shape and bake their signature cornbread in a triangle baking pan because they understand how customers love the slightly crunchy texture combined with the subtle sweet, homestyle flavor.
“We bake our cornbread in an oven triangle pan so the cornbread comes out in triangles We thought it would be cool to have edges all around,” she explains. “Every day we are baking our cornbread fresh and serving it warm.”
Bayoh believes that soul food has gotten a “bad wrap” because some don’t think of it as fresh food.
“My take of soul food is fresh food every day, and making sure people understand that,” she says. “All of our food is cooked every day – like collard greens, onion and peppers in our own seasoning. And then we add the wow with the décor! Our food is the most amazing food.”
Cornbread represents the realization of Bayoh’s vision of creating an innovative soul food restaurant concept where families and friends can gather and feel good about the food that they eat and where employees are truly valued and empowered. Inspired by her grandmother, a farmer and restaurant owner, Cornbread exemplifies her philosophy that savory and authentic food can be healthy and responsibly sourced.
Zadie Smith is a pioneering entrepreneur who discovered her love of cooking at an early age from her parents in Tifton, Georgia and has been in the kitchen ever since. She brings that passion for cooking and lifelong culinary experience to Cornbread where she was instrumental in developing the menu and flavor profiles of each meal that we serve. In addition to her childcare and real estate businesses, through a “labor of love.”
The first Cornbread location opened in 2018, and they expanded to a fourth restaurant in Montclair, New Jersey, in August. Their other locations are in Brooklyn and Newark.
“We plan on opening more stores. We’d like to take this concept to 20-25 units in five years,” she explains. “This concept can be something to be reckoned with. No one is doing soul food the way we do. We are accessible and appreciated by all cultures.”