Dive into flavor: The Black Wal Street Cafe


August 8th, 2021. The Rafiki special photographed by Wal Reik.

Dive into flavor: The Black Wal Street Cafe 

Soul-food, fusion plates and quick-bites can be expected from the Black Wal Street Cafe. This underground business is run by Wal Riek, an entrepreneur ready to expand and bring a new spin on soul-food to the heart of Chico. 

Black Wal Street Cafe’s unique dishes can be ordered through their Instagram page @blackwalstreetcafe. The photos displayed will make you ditch your prepped meal.

Soul-food is a type of cuisine that is often associated with African American culture, particularly in the Southern United States. Today, soul food is celebrated as an important part of African American culture and is enjoyed by people of all races and backgrounds. It is often served in restaurants and at family gatherings, and is considered a comfort food that evokes feelings of warmth and nostalgia.

Riek grew up in San Diego and decided to pursue a bachelors in psychology at Chico State in 2014. His passion for cooking was sparked when he noticed the difference of cultures between Chico and his hometown. Urban cuisines seemed scarce and the lack of soul-food inspired Riek to create his own endeavor. 

“Everyone tends to say the same thing — the lack of variety is bothersome,” Riek said. “What we have will bring a new wave of flavor, we strive to reach as many people as we can with our cuisine” 

Riek used what he learned from his family to experiment with his own dishes. Cooking for friends is the first testament to his skills. People began requesting his cooking at their house parties and eventually the requests turned into catering. His skills were sharpened by learning from his family, but his biggest inspiration can be found within himself: 

“When I look in the mirror day in and day out I see what the outside world doesn’t. I know that what’s meant for me will come to fruition so I must continue to do good and keep going” 

Riek plans to open his first brick-and-mortar store in April, where customers can have an urban dining experience with live music, art and alcohol. Eventually he plans to expand throughout the state.

“I want people to enter the establishment and leave with an extravagant experience,” Riek said. 

One of Riek’s favorite meals is the “Bubba Gump” dish, a delicious fried-shrimp sandwich with tomatoes, pickles and Cajun aioli, served with fries and a refreshment for $17. Another prominent meal are his buffalo-based Rafiki wings, which come with six-pieces for $13, along with his famous grilled chicken. 

Shrimp sandwich served with fries on the side.
August 8th, 2022. “Bubba Gump” dish photographed by Wal Reik.

Payments can be made through Venmo or Cashapp. New dishes can be found every Sunday ready for pick-up at a designated time and location varying throughout the week. 

Preschool teacher and business owner Samantha Rosales said: “All of his food is made with heart and full of flavor. He is the sweetest and goes above and beyond to make his customers happy.”

Chico State student Shae Pastrana said that Riek does all the work for his business alone. About his food she said, “It’s fucking dank.”

If the reviews haven’t convinced you yet, find out for yourself so you won’t miss out on the latest soul-food spot.

Daisy Beltran can be reached at [email protected]