Across America, there is a rich tapestry of Black-owned restaurants and foodservice operations in all cities. Many don’t get the media attention they should. And those that do tend to be in the bigger cities, like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
With the renewed focus on diversity and inclusion this year, Restaurant Hospitality set out to put the spotlight on Black-owned restaurants outside the largest media markets. We looked for operators in all phases of their business — those who are just getting started, to multi-generational family-run pillars of their communities — in cities with less than 1 million in population.
The thread that pulls these restaurant operators together is that they are community builders. Each one has been working hard to give back to their communities in some way during this tumultuous year. Whether they fed those in need at the height of the pandemic shutdown, or they make a point of hiring the previously incarcerated, or they simply help people learn better nutrition, these restaurant operators are hanging on through this challenging year by helping others.
All of these operators said their businesses have benefited from the social justice movement that followed in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death at the hand of Minneapolis police. In each of these communities, the operators say consumers are making a point of supporting Black-owned businesses. And that has helped these businesses weather the pandemic.
We wanted to hear the restaurateurs’ stories and share their voices. So here are 10 Black-owned restaurant operators across America offering a picture of how their lives have changed in 2020.
Big Mama's Kitchen and Catering, Omaha, Neb.
Carmi Soul Food, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Mizz ShakeSum, Akron, Ohio
Souley Vegan, Oakland, Calif.
Deadstock Coffee, Portland, Ore.
Hop Knot, Manchester, N.H.
Atwater's Best BBQ and Soul Food, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Chef Celeste Bistro, Baton Rouge, La.
Blues City Donuts, Memphis, Tenn.
Eugene's Hot Chicken, Birmingham, Ala.