5 Of Utica’s Absolute Best Black Owned Restaurants

Have you ever heard the name Keith Lee?

New York Liberty v Las Vegas Aces

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OMG, he’s all the rage on TikTok. He’s a former MMA fighter, turned TikTok food critic that is literally changing the lives of restaurant owners all over the country with his super cute and honest food reviews. With 14.8 million activated followers, a Keith Lee review can take a relatively obscure food establishment (food trucks included) to the absolute next level.

Par Example:

@keith_lee125 Frankensons Pizzeria Taste test 💕 would you try it ? 💕 #foodcritic ♬ original sound – Keith Lee

Within a few hours, Frankensons Pizzeria went from crickets to 2-3 hour long lines. And NOW even talking about franchising. As Keith Lee would say, “God is Amazing”.


AND just as Keith’s reviews have the power to elevate a business, an honest Keith Lee review around poor customer service, has the exact opposite effect. For example, the whole city of Atlanta. Par example:

@brutamerica Why TikToker and food critic Keith Lee cut his Atlanta restaurant tour short … ♬ original sound – Brut.

READ MORE: Keith Lee’s TikTok Food Reviews Had Atlanta’s Restaurant Scene in Shambles. What Happened? (yahoo.com)

So what does that have to do with Utica’s Black Owned businesses? I’m so obsessed with Keith Lee’s work right now, I’m just inspired to spread the love. This isn’t an endorsement about the food because I haven’t had the pleasure yet, but if Oneida County Tourism recommends these spots, certainly, so can I.

READ MORE: Black-Owned Restaurants in Oneida County – Oneida County Tourism

Rooster’s (Smashburgers & sandwiches)
Address: 814 Charlotte St., Utica, NY 13501
Menu Recommendations: The Figgy, the fries (get your burger ON the fries), & any special they’re offering.
Hours: Monday-Friday (11 AM – 2 PM, 4-8 PM)
Other: Cash only!

Soul 112 (Soul food)
Address: 171 Genesee St., Utica, NY 13501
Menu Recommendations: Hot honey fried chicken, mac and cheese, cabbage, corn bread, and collard greens.
Hours: Thursday-Saturday (12-7 PM), Sun (12-4 PM)

Jibril’s Kitchen and Catering* (Halal)
Address: 8555 Seneca Turnpike (Sangertown Square Mall), New Hartford, NY 13413
Menu Recommendations: Birria tacos, sambusas and plantains.
Hours: Tues-Sat (11:30 AM – 7:30 PM), Sun (11:30 AM – 6 PM)
*Jabril’s is a fairly new restaurant and they are working hard to provide the best possible service and quality food. Please be kind and understanding as they open!

Island Breeze Bar & Grill (Caribbean & American)
Address: 517 Mandeville St., Utica, NY 13502
Menu Recommendations: Oxtail, pepper steak, and jerk chicken.
Hours: Tues-Sat (10:30 AM – 9 PM)

What do you think? Would Keith Lee approve of these Utica restaurants?

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Gallery Credit: Dave Wheeler

26 Restaurants In Utica New York You Need To Try At Least Once

This following list is a great resource if you’re looking for some new places to try, or if you’re just looking for some place to start. This list is strictly restaurants in Utica New York. Not the Utica area or surrounding towns, but Utica New York. We took submissions from all over social media to build this list. We will have other lists for other parts of our region to showcase next. But right now, let’s focus on Utica:

Gallery Credit: Dave Wheeler

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Is there no more classic match than spaghetti and meatballs? Where in the Utica and Rome area of New York can you order the best spaghetti dishes? Here’s 21 spots.

Gallery Credit: Dave Wheeler

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