Black Restaurant Week kicks off in DC area

It’s Black Restaurant Week, and it is hoping to highlight the Black-owned businesses in the D.C. area.

“Restaurants are pretty much the backbone of small business America,” said Derek Robinson, one of three co-founders of Black Restaurant Week.

Robinson said that he hopes the third-annual event in the D.C. area brings people out to dine at nearby Black-owned restaurants.

“We have almost 100 participants in the Greater Washington Area. So that’s, of course, D.C., Virginia, as well as Maryland,” Robinson said.

They are partnering with the National Urban League Conference, with the restaurant week running through July 31.

Less than 20% of U.S. employer businesses are minority-owned, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

For the businesses, participating in the restaurant week is free.

“Black Restaurant Week is truly the marketing awareness campaign or platform for a lot of restaurants,” Robinson said.

In addition to promoting the restaurants, through its Feed the Soul organization, Black Restaurant Week has also awarded more than $50,000 in grants to local restaurants to help with COVID-19 relief and business development.

Fishscale in D.C. and Fishnet and Old Major in Baltimore each received $10,000. Deddle’s Mini Donuts in Pikesville, Maryland; and England Eatery in Baltimore each received $10,000. And Cuples Tea House and England Eatery, both in Baltimore, each received $1,000 from the organization’s National Emergency Relief Fund.

“It’s great being able to be out here and just highlight these restaurants, especially post-COVID, as we’re still kind of navigating these waters of what life looks like,” Robinson said.

Robinson founded Black Restaurant Week with co-founders Warren Luckett and Falayn Ferrell with the goal of celebrating the flavors of African American, African and Caribbean cuisine with a series of regional cultural events. The effort has been around for seven years and has supported more than 2,000 restaurants in the U.S. and Toronto since 2016.

Robinson said they want to give black-owned restaurants both financial support as well as help them promote their businesses and bring awareness to their cuisine.

“We’re also giving the visibility and opportunity for these restaurants to grow financially and also just on a visual standpoint as well, too,” Robinson said.

Find the full list of restaurants on the Black Restaurant Week website.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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