Photography by Michelle Killfeather
Brenda Buenviaje grew up across the Mississippi River from New Orleans.
In Part 1, we get to know Brenda and her life/business partner, Libby Truesdell. Brenda describes her mixed heritage (Filipino and Creole, mostly) and shares stories of growing up in southern Louisiana, fishing and foraging, among other things. Libby contrasts her Iowa upbringing with the multifaceted food and culture she was introduced to when she met Brenda. Libby left her home state for various spots on the West Coast when she was 18, eventually ending up in The City in 2005.
Brenda also shares the story of how she came to San Francisco.
In Part 2, Brenda and Libby share the story of their meeting. It involves Delessio Market and Martuni's, two San Francisco spots we love.
The bulk of this episode is the story of opening a restaurant in San Francisco that was an almost-immediate smashing success. Brenda's French Soul Food (2007) begat Brenda's Meat and Three (2014) begat Brenda's Oakland (2019).
The couple discuss how they have pivoted all three of their restaurants during COVID-19. And we end the podcast with a mental-health check-up.
(As a sign of how quickly things took a downturn COVID-wise, there's talk in this episode of the then-recent shutting down of all indoor dining in The City, but outdoor was still allowed. Of course, at the time of publication, we're back to take-out and delivery only.)
We recorded this podcast at Brenda's Meat and Three on Divisadero in November 2020.