How HauteBird Puts the “Soul” in Global Soul Food and Why Sacramento Residents Can’t Get Enough

Updated: Mar 10, 2019

Story by Veronica Perry

Photos by Nathan Pillow


Originally from Brooklyn New York, Misty Alafranji is a culinary creative with over 20 years' experience as a chef. When she and her husband, Nick, moved to Sacramento with their two sons, they knew they wanted to open up a restaurant here. What they didn't know was that their lives would change forever once they met Loren and Rachelle Ditmore of City of Refuge, a local non-profit. Now, they serve the Sacramento community with more than just their delicious food. This impactful pop-up restaurant partners with City of Refuge to employ some of the most vulnerable in our community.

“We came up with this fun concept to compile things that we love from our diverse backgrounds. The restaurant features global soul food and one aspect of our vision is putting fun plays on that type of cuisine.”-Misty Alafranji

This innovative eatery provides a unique take on the classic soul food, chicken and waffles. Patrons can choose from a flavorful selection of 5 handcrafted sauces to pour atop their cone of fried chicken. Each sauce incorporates a global soul food theme. The sauces include: Misty's comeback sauce, jalapeño cilantro ranch, sweet chili garlic, sweet honey curry and Jamaican jerk glaze.

Misty elaborates, “Everything is house-made. We have a proprietary brine and breading and we make the waffle cones by hand. We bread the chicken here, fresh, fry it up and you can choose one of five sauces. Once the chicken comes out of the fryer, it's chopped up and placed in a handmade waffle cone. The cone really adds another dimension of flavor with its sweetness."

HauteBird brings more than just expertly flavored and perfectly cooked chicken to Sacramento, they also bring connection and compassion to the table as well. A fateful meeting propelled Misty and her husband to make ‘HauteBird’ a reality.

Misty goes on to say, “one of the things that inspired us and that ultimately helped us decide to move forward with this concept was meeting Loren and Rachelle Ditmore.  They run a non-profit called City of Refuge.”

City of Refuge has one mission “to cultivate a community that transforms and empowers broken lives through acts of justice, mercy, and humility.” With sustained operations for over 20 years, City of Refuge provides unwavering support to women and children in our community. This non-profit also serves diverse, at-risk youth and young adults who are seeking a second chance in life.

“Although it's amazing to provide food and shelter, City of Refuge has a network of folks throughout this city that can lend a hand to provide housing, counseling, anger management and various personal development classes. Many of these resources will genuinely help someone get to the next level in life. We want to help these individuals by giving them hope. That's why all of our employees come from the City of Refuge," Misty says proudly.  

With community connections of this magnitude, HauteBird truly puts the “soul” in global soul food.

In approximately one year, HauteBird will be opening a brick and mortar location at the corner of 7th avenue and MLK Blvd. Their restaurant is strategically located next to the City of Refuge's newly constructed facility. This facility will be equipped to house up to 28 women and children and HauteBird will continue to employ individuals who use City of Refuge services.  

“We want to represent our community to the best of our ability. We are excited to bring commerce to Oak Park but also to build a strong community from the inside out, and one thing that is so amazing about food is that it brings people together. "-Misty Alafranji.  

HauteBird gives back to the community by involving the community on multiple levels and aims to be as inclusive as possible with its diverse representations of global soul food. Misty says, “For instance , much of the food we will be serving on our menu is global soul food. It encompasses the rich backgrounds of my family, my husband's family and our extended families. We want to engage the men and women working with us to incorporate nostalgic foods from their childhoods as well.”

Misty hopes that her actions will inspire other local businesses to diversify their staff and make conscious efforts to compassionately involve those in our community seeking a second chance.

Don't miss out on HauteBird's next pop up in Natomas February 9th!