Black Restaurant Week, the nationwide culinary tour featuring Black-owned dining spots, is now underway in Alabama. The campaign, which kicked off on Oct. 20 and runs until Oct. 29, will showcase restaurants, pop-ups, and food trucks in the Birmingham, Montgomery, and Mobile areas. Eateries include Underground Vegan and O’ My Turkey Leg in Birmingham, Island Delight at Dexter in Montgomery, and Taste of Heaven Cafe, LLC in Mobile.
This tour is part of Black Restaurant Week’s third annual campaign in the Gulf Coast Region which includes New Orleans, Mobile, Montgomery, Elberta, Baton Rouge, and Jackson.
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Black Restaurant Week was created in 2016 by Warren Luckett, who is based in Atlanta, and Houston-based Falayn Ferrell and Derek Robinson. The experience began as a one-city food event in Houston where participants could dine in or order from a litany of Black-owned restaurants in their city. The group’s mission was to provide complimentary marketing and PR services for the business under the BRW campaign, educate consumers on the abundance of cultural cuisines within their neighborhood and share the disparities faced by minority-owned businesses.
In eight years, the organization says it has supported more than 3,000 restauranteurs, bartenders, chefs, caterers, and food trucks.
Another goal of the Black Restaurant Week website is to function as a directory for patrons to locate Black-owned businesses in the campaign area.
“We realized our website had to be more than a marketing tool,” Luckett said during a meet and greet at Michael’s Restaurant in Birmingham. “There’s a business development aspect that we wanted to embrace as well.”
In 2020, Black Restaurant Week established the Feed the Soul Foundation, an organization which by providing resources to culinary industry entrepreneurs across the United States. The foundation’s core initiatives include business education, scholarships, community outreach and industry research.
Bernadine Birdsong, the owner of Michael’s Restaurant, also offers business development resources for up-and-coming eateries. She plans to use Bar Sebastian, the rooftop bar above Michael’s Restaurant, as an incubator where food trucks can test their products with customers.