Jason Fullilove, who ran the stoves for years at Campanile and Patina Group, as well as crafted the original food program for the Clifton’s Cafeteria revival, is now full time with his pop-up Barbara Jean, which takes over the former Maré space along Melrose Avenue. Fullilove had been bouncing around town with his elevated soul food restaurant, from Feastly to the old Smoke.Oil.Salt. digs. The new brick & mortar officially opens on July 19, though it’s been quietly serving folks who stop by from the neighborhood since June 15.
Fullilove’s restaurant over the old Maré (which requires a walk through Melrose Umbrella Company), with a cozy 45-seat destination lined with street art, old books, and comfy booths, with some more lounge seating tucked toward the rear of the space.
The chef incorporates his upbringing in Ohio, plus time spent in Lusaka Zambia in Southern Africa, to produce a fresh take on soul food. Think lemongrass barbecue ribs, fried okra with violet mustard, salmon with black tomato puree and succotash, and barbecue pork agnolotti with corn nage. The brunch menu features fried shrimp and grits, plus pork belly with sweet potato latke.
Melrose Umbrella Company has helped craft some of the cocktails for Barbara Jean, which is named after Fullilove’s mother. A Fullilove Tea Punch gives diners a choice of spirit, then adds black tea, lemon, brown sugar, peach, and cinnamon for a nice, boozy sipper.
Hours for Barbara Jean run Wednesday to Sunday, 5 to 10 p.m., with weekend brunch served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
7476 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90046