Kevin Johnson is bringing soul and employment opportunities to the L.A. Live complex in downtown Los Angeles with his new soul food restaurant.
The former Phoenix Suns player and 55th mayor of Sacramento opened his Fixins Soul Kitchen Monday night to a packed house.
“Here in L.A. we have 140 jobs. Most of the people that work here are African American and Latino. To be able to provide jobs and good wages is something we’re super, super proud of,” the 55-year-old entrepreneur said on the red carpet.
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The restaurant celebrated its grand opening with celebrity guests, including NBA legend Charles Barkley and Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly Mitchell.
“He’s had a very successful run with one of these in his home town of Sacramento. This is a great spot!” said Barkley.
Johnson’s menu at Fixins is inspired by both his grandmother’s recipes and his search to find the best soul food across the country, when he was traveling during his NBA career.
While many restaurants in California shuttered during the pandemic, including some at L.A. Live, Johnson said his other Fixins location managed to thrive.
“We opened in Sacramento six months before COVID. Once COVID hit, we did better — like a boost for us. We did extremely well during COVID. We’re on our second restaurant in two years,” the former NBA All-Star explained.
According to a survey by the Alignable Research Center, 39 percent of U.S. restaurant owners were unable to pay their rent in June.
Still, Johnson is confident his spot at L.A. Live will withstand the pandemic. Located next to the Staples Center where the Los Angeles Lakers play, and the Microsoft Theater where the Emmys and BET Awards take place, there’s no shortage of potential customers.
“There’s going to be 20 million people [who] walk through here, annually,” he said. “So it’s not going to be a problem with foot traffic. We do our part, provide good food. A good experience. People are going to come back.”