San Diego native spices up Chico with his authentic cuisine


Wal Riek

Wal Riek in his element at Broadway’s

Wal Riek, a local business owner, is known for his unique but authentic soul food and urban cuisine. This is something he says the community of Chico has been missing.

Riek came to Chico State in 2014 and graduated with a degree in psychology in 2020, but left his biggest impact on the community’s taste buds.

Riek is known as Black Wal Street Cafe. Riek’s passion has always been cooking ever since he learned how to cook from his mother.

“Since I was young, I would watch cooking videos,” Riek said. “I didn’t do much so I started to help my mom out in the kitchen.”

Riek started cooking during his freshman year at Chico. He started cooking things such as BBQ chicken and chicken sandwiches for his friends. 

Riek said his college friends from Chico were the ones who nudged him to start cooking.

“Initially I wasn’t trying to do plates,” Riek said. “They told me to start selling plates, and everything took off from there.”

Riek was born and raised in San Diego. He said the was authentic cuisine made in urban areas was missing in Chico. Riek mainly cooks soul food with his own twist, but has since started adding items such as chicken and waffles, surf ‘n’ turf fries and wings to the menu.

He has a “legendary homemade sauce” called Rafiki. It’s a buffalo-based sauce but is sweet and tangy as well. Riek uses it in multiple of his signature dishes. 

Riek said despite having a busy schedule during his time at Chico State, catering on the side was easy when he was motivated.

“I would take care of my school work during the week,” Riek said. “Then during the weekend, I would focus on my catering.”

The weekend was when most of the traction would come for Riek and his catering business. Local DJs such as DJ Kam, DJ Sherm and DJ OG Chris would invite him out to events for his services. 

“This would take away from my weekends, but I didn’t mind it,” Riek said. “I just got to work and would put my name out there.”

Despite only doing it on Sundays, Riek still caters for people and wants to eventually expand his brand.

“I want to have multiple shops in different areas throughout the country,” Riek said. “My mind will always be open to different possibilities.”

He’s been catering to the Chico community for six years. The community means a lot to Riek and the development of his brand. They have always supported him and shown love to his food.

“It means a lot to me, because a lot of businesses don’t last that long. Chico always supported me and showed love,” Riek said. “You can’t find someone who caters to people who come from everywhere.” 

Riek understands that good food costs money, but he has always tried to make his prices affordable. 

Riek currently cooks at Broadway’s Kitchen and Bar. Broadway’s is located at 134 Broadway St. in Chico. He is also starting a new job as a substance abuse counselor based in Redding soon.

Riek thanks his business partners, Marcos and Ruben for believing in him. Marcos and Ruben, who are local barbers at Gentleman’s Barber Shop, presented Riek with an opportunity to take over the kitchen on Sundays.

“Those are my guys, man,” Riek said. “They trusted me with the kitchen, which means a lot to me.”

Riek wants his food to stand out for the college community, as he struggled to resonate with a place to eat during his time at Chico State. 

Riek said he wants to be able to show people that food doesn’t need to be boring. 

“I want to incorporate flavors from Africa, the Caribbean and make my food popping for my customers,” Riek said. 

His goal is for the customer to leave the restaurant with their money’s worth and their stomach happy.

“I want to make sure everyone who eats my food is satisfied,” Riek said. 

The surf ‘n’ turf fries are one of the most popular dishes on his menu. The main focus of the dish is french fries, which are then topped with shrimp, steak, cheese, sour cream and guacamole. 

Riek does a great job of seasoning and cooking the food to perfection. After all the food is done cooking, he then assembles the platter. 

“People love this dish because it reminds them a lot from home,” Riek said. “I want people to feel content, and this dish always brings a smile on people’s face.”

Javier Hernandez can be reached at [email protected] or @jhm1226 on Twitter.