Black Restaurant Week is in full swing around Kansas City

Black Rest

A sample of what to expect. // Courtesy of Black Restaurant Week

Black Restaurant Week kicked off July 23 and is in full swing. But there is plenty of time to get out, explore, and support your local Black-owned eateries. The event’s second year in Kansas City features nearly 50 restaurants including food trucks, bakeries, and professional chefs.

This year’s campaign aims to bring about community support and solidarity as the pandemic and societal barriers continue to affect Black-owned businesses.

“The campaign this year is putting an emphasis on reviving and saving the Black restaurant industry during the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Alycia Hightower, Black Restaurant Week’s national food and beverage manager.

As the pandemic continues into its second summer, restaurant and small business owners continue to struggle to stay afloat. What’s more, a recent study shows, 41% of Black-owned businesses have shuttered since February, compared to 17% of white-owned businesses. A statistic that echoes the historical struggle of Black and minority business owners in the United States.

“Most black-owned businesses, no matter the industry, don’t have the marketing budget to promote themselves properly and locally,” says Hightower. “Thus, Black Restaurant Week, LLC. was developed to shine a light on minority-owned businesses.”

Originally founded in 2016, Black Restaurant Week LLC., has since grown to host events and work with businesses and professionals worldwide. And in 2020, the organization supported 670 Black-owned culinary businesses across the United States and generated an average of 34% sales increase.

Participants at this year’s event have already been encouraged by the support being shown throughout Kansas City.

“Before the pandemic began and even before the tipping point of social unrest in America, Kansas City has been heavily supportive,” says Chris Goode, the founder, and CEO of Ruby Jeans Juicery.

Black Restaurant Week is hoping to build on this momentum to allow business owners an opportunity to collaborate and build strong connections within the community.

“I love it because it draws business into my stores, but in general I love it because my fellow Black business owners get a chance to showcase their product and showcase their service,” says Isaac Collins, a Black entrepreneur, and owner of a Yorgutini in KC. “We’re all able to grow together.”

The campaign offers an interactive bingo card that allows restaurant-goers to explore different establishments and a national cocktail competition featuring Kansas City native, Tamara Mcconnell.

Black Restaurant Week continues through Sunday, August 1.

Categories: Food & Drink