The event, part of a nationwide effort to support Black restaurateurs, runs Sept. 10-24. Eateries in Chicago, Detroit, Kansas City, Columbus and other metro areas are included in the Midwest edition.
Black Restaurant Week aims to boost local economies by promoting restaurants and culinary entrepreneurs who can’t afford expensive marketing campaigns. The campaign also runs promotions in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Washington D.C., New York, Bay Area and other regions.
This year is the fourth in which Chicago is included, according to a press release.
“Since 2016, we aspired to set ourselves apart from similar organizations. BRW is solely guided by business owners and operators. They are in the trenches every day and experience the ebbs and flows of running a business during one of the most difficult periods in US history,” said Falayn Ferrell, operations managing partner for Black Restaurant Week.
Participating restaurants include:
- Haire’s Gulf Shrimp, 7448 S. Vincennes Ave. in Englewood
- Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat, 1368-½ E. 53rd St. in Hyde Park
- Luella’s Southern Kitchen, 4609 N. Lincoln Ave. in Lincoln Square
- Mary Jane Cafe Chicago, 7112 S. Yates Blvd. in South Shore
- Passion T, 3412 W. 79th St. in Ashburn
- Taylor’s Tacos, 1512 W. Taylor St. in Near West Side
- Yashicas Treats So Divine, online
- Dozzy’s Grill, 736 N. Clark St. in Near North Side
- Victoriously Handmade Catering Service in Homewood, Illinois.
Black-owned restaurants and bars are still reeling from effects of the pandemic, Eater Chicago reported in August. Despite initiatives launched to help keep them open, some South and West side eateries became casualties.
According to the Independent Restaurant Coalition, 500,000 restaurants and bars nationwide are on the brink of closure due to lost revenue and increased debt since the pandemic. The Black Restaurant Week team estimates that over 1 million minority-owned businesses face heightened challenges and disparities when securing business funding.
Haire’s Gulf Shrimp, a popular Englewood spot, is known for its Louisiana-style fried shrimp “Bomb Bags.” Faithful customers include Grammy award-winning artist Chance The Rapper.
Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat made its Hyde Park debut four years ago, introducing the area to its take on vegan and vegetarian-friendly fast food favorites. Popular items include the Big Mik Burger — a sandwich with two all-vegan patties, special sauce, pickles, lettuce, sesame seed bun, and a choice of vegan cheese or regular cheese — and the Can’t Believe It’s a Pizza Poof, a spin on the pizza puff that comes with vegan meat, spinach, and a choice of vegan or dairy cheese.
Black Restaurant Week was created in 2016 by Ferrell, fellow managing partner Derek Robinson and Founder Warren Luckett, beginning as a “one-city” food experience in Houston.
Since then, the event has expanded to a dozen cities to provide complimentary marketing and public relations services while educating consumers on cultural cuisines in their neighborhoods. The organization estimates that it has supported more than 3,000 restauranteurs, bartenders, chefs, caterers and food trucks.
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