Proprietor Michael LeBlanc, previously known for the nationally acclaimed Picán, opened PLāYT in mid-2017. He has three decades of entrepreneurial and hospitality industry experience including becoming principal owner of Brothers Brewing Company, the first African-American owned beer company. This planted in him the seed for creating a high-end, black-owned restaurant, harkening to his roots and fondness for two of New Orleans’ renowned, soulful eateries, Dooky Chase and Chez Helene.

Heading up the PLāYT kitchen is Executive Chef Jerome “Spike” Williams, also of Picán fame, who has crafted a menu that reflects Cajun, Creole, Gullah and similar influences and is prepared with fresh, seasonal, often locally sourced, sustainable ingredients using time-honored culinary techniques, and slow-food philosophy and practices. Chef Williams also prepares creative vegetarian, vegan and gluten-friendly offerings whenever time allows (calling ahead can facilitate this).

The restaurant’s full bar is under the direction of unofficial sommelier Trevor Little who focuses of finding little-known but excellent wines from the old and the new world and who also works with Michael LeBlanc to introduce the public to Black vintners and varietals created by Black winemakers. PLāYT pours classic, contemporary and signature cocktails and there is a select list of craft beers. During Happy Hour, Monday through Friday from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., wine, beer and some cocktails are offered at reduced prices.

The original interior design for PLāYT was by Pia Thomas of DesignPlus and highlights of the sleek, sophisticated space include an earth tone color scheme, chandeliers, banquettes, leather chairs from Italy, Mardi Gras colored lights, a black granite topped bar and a substantial lounge area with plush velvet cushions, together creating a unique Cosmopolitan Comfort ambiance. The main dining room seats 48 guests, plus 14 at a community table with space for 20 more in the lounge, 14 at the bar and 28 on the outdoor sidewalk patio (the latter a work in progress).

PLāYT Restaurant, “a touch of Mardi Gras for your palette and soul,” is located at 1036 B Street, near Main Street, in Hayward, California. The restaurant is open for dinner Monday through Thursday from 4:00 to 9:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 4:00 to 10:30 p.m. and on Sunday, 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. Brunch is served on Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Free parking is readily available on B Street and also in a large public parking lot behind the restaurant between A and B Streets. Visit PLāYT at www.playtonb.com. Reservations can be made on the restaurant’s website, via OpenTable.com or by calling (510) 888-1092.