by Anneli Rufus
Oakland restaurateur Michael LeBlanc was honored this week by Bay Area Blacks in Philanthropy, which presented the Picán founder/owner with one of its 2010 Community Impact Awards.
A San Francisco-based nonprofit defined on its website as "working to advance the interests of African Americans in philanthropy and to address the impact of racial disparity within philanthropic institutions and African American communities in the San Francisco Bay Area," BABIP held the awards ceremony at Oakland's African American Library on Thursday night. LeBlanc received the Inspiring Entrepreneur award, because Picán — with its Southern and African-American-inspired menu — has been instrumental in revitalizing Oakland's uptown. Housing the Bourbon Room, a private dining room outfitted with historical plantation doors and displaying bourbons, antiques, and rare books from a New Orleans family home, Picán has been dubbed the “Westernmost point on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.”
Other winners included Warren Wilson of the Barrios Trust, Thomas Howard and Nnamdi Asomugha of the Oakland Raiders, All-Star vet Vida Blue, the Akonadi Foundation, the Bay Area Leadership Foundation, and Deborah Santana.