QSR Magazine names Bayoh’s Cornbread to 2023 ’40/40 List’ of hottest startup eateries

Cornbread Farm to Soul is a fast-casual restaurant with locations in Newark, Maplewood and Brooklyn focusing on savory soul food and family-friendly experiences. The restaurant was recently featured in QSR Magazine’s 2023 edition of “The 40/40 List,” which highlights America’s Hottest Startup Fast Casuals — recognizing 40 fast casual restaurants with fewer than 40 locations that QSR believes are on the verge of something big.

This year’s QSR 40/40 List underlines Cornbread as a beloved restaurant quickly rising to the top as an innovative soul food restaurant far and few between.

Cornbread’s co-founder and CEO, Adenah Bayoh, arrived in the U.S. when she was 13 with the determination of becoming one of the most successful entrepreneurs in her new home. Hers is an American dream story. She came to the U.S. escaping the civil war in her native Liberia, graduated from the Newark Public Schools system and then from Fairleigh Dickinson University before founding Adenah Bayoh & Cos., which is the parent corporation of an IHOP franchise; her own fast-casual restaurants, Cornbread; and several residential and commercial redevelopment projects in North Jersey.

Not only has her Cornbread brand gone above and beyond by creating a unique variety of menu items, but it also gives back to the communities it serves.

Cornbread currently has three stores open and expects to open a fourth store in Montclair this summer. Cornbread also has plans to continue expansion, as it is set to launch its franchise opportunity.

Adenah Bayoh, left, and Zadie Smith inside Cornbread. (File photo)

“We are proud to be receiving this recognition from QSR,” Bayoh said. “Cornbread has had the opportunity to uplift and serve communities in New Jersey and New York, which is a big part of Cornbread’s mission as we want to provide food and comfort to new communities. We look forward to expanding further across the East Coast.”

Bayoh founded Cornbread with Elzadie “Zadie” Smith. Smith, a native of Tifton, Georgia, has a background in culinary arts as well as a family history of being in the kitchen. Her grandfather was a farmer and restaurant owner in the South, where she would learn some of her skills. Her entrepreneurial spirit and passion for cooking connected her with Bayoh to create the Cornbread chain.

“This year’s 40/40 List is one our most entrepreneurial-driven yet. It showcases the recovery, relevance and potential of the fast casual category’s top brands,” Danny Klein, editorial director at QSR, said. “All of these concepts have a chance to hit it big in the coming years, and we’re ready to watch them do just that.”