Kevin Johnson made his mark in Phoenix as a Suns star, but last year, he opened his restaurant called “Fixins Soul Kitchen” in LA Live, Los Angeles, right across the now Crypto Arena, the home of the Lakers and Clippers.
The establishment serves home-cooked inspired comfort food but what’s even more interesting is that Fixins Soul Kitchen is located exactly where Shaquille O’Neal’s restaurant used to operate. And Johnson paid tribute to his fellow NBA legend for that.
A big assists
Before Johnson’s Fixins Soul Kitchen, it was Shaq’s restaurant that ingrained great food and experience in the customers. So KJ is showing his gratitude to “Diesel” by keeping a plus-size seat inside the place in case O’Neal comes in and visits them.
“[Shaq] He gave us a big assist,” Johnson told Spectrum News 1. “He put a lot of effort and energy into this space. For people who say he didn’t pass the basketball, he did here.”
In all fairness, Shaq’s name isn’t the main reason people come to Johnson’s restaurant. In fact, customers might want to check a weight gain calculator after dining, so to speak, as the menu includes fried deviled eggs, the best-selling fried chicken and waffles, and more importantly, the special peach cobbler from Kevin’s grandma.
“So to be able to have grandma taste her own peach cobbler and give us a thumbs up… it’s making me emotional,” Johnson said.
Having his restaurant based in the land of the Lakers and Clippers faithful, KJ is also well aware that he has to please both fan bases. So he had both the Lakers and the Clippers logos on the plant holders inside the vicinity.
“You can’t just do a Lakers plant holder,” Johnson explained. “You have to find a place for the Clippers one too. We don’t want to discriminate. So we have a Clippers one here as well.”
Chuck is happy for his former teammate
For those who don't know, Johnson was raised in Sacramento, and he was also the city’s first African-American and former NBA player mayor (from 2008 to 2016). As expected, Johnson also opened up a branch in his hometown, which made his former Suns co-star Charles Barkley proud.
“I’m just really proud of Kevin,” Barkley said during Fixins Souls Kitchen opening night in LA via L.A. Live. “He has one of these in Sacramento, his hometown. For him to be expanding is gonna be great.”
From cooking defenders on the court to serving home-cooked meals, Johnson indeed found a new lease on life running his restaurants. Kudos KJ!