Representation Matters: Celebrating Black-Owned Restaurants, Bars, & Vendors
Representation is especially important in the restaurant industry. As our nation continues to confront a deep-seated history of racism and systemic oppression, Evergreen (fka Taphunter) remains committed to driving change in our industry while continuing to stand united in support of the Black community.
In an effort to bring more awareness to establishments with Black owners, we’ve compiled a brief list of selected Black-owned restaurants, breweries, and vendors from across the country. Whether they’re bringing Black perspectives to historically white sectors or celebrating traditionally Black cuisine, these establishments offer up excellent service to their customers and communities—and they deserve our support.
Whatever you’re craving, this Black-owned restaurant has you covered. Their menu is quintessentially American, featuring everything from streetcar-style dogs to lobster rolls. While you’re there, consider donating to Pay It Pho-Ward, a donation-matching program for the Hook Hall Helps initiative, which supports restaurant industry workers left unemployed due to COVID-19.
New Orleans, LA
Willie Mae’s Scotch House started as a Black-owned bar in 1957 and grew into an award-winning Southern comfort food restaurant. It’s been recognized by the Food Network and the Travel Channel as having “America’s Best Fried Chicken,” and founder Willie Mae Seaton was honored with a prestigious James Beard award in 2005.
Slutty Vegan is a 100% Black-owned restaurant that will make you reconsider your notion of vegan food. Their chefs have reinvented American staples like cheeseburgers and po’boys using all plant-based ingredients. This business is also dedicated to giving back to the community through register-to-vote events and The Pinky Cole Foundation, a nonprofit organization aimed at building generational wealth for people of color.
San Diego, CA
Offering a mix of classic and innovative artisan donuts and bagels, Nomad Donuts is a San Diego staple. This Black-owned bakery has a history of collaboration with the local brewery scene to create artisan donut and craft beer pairings. Owner Brad Keiller is as much of a community fixture as his business, advocating for the homeless and working to help at-risk youth.
Starting as a humble food truck in 1985, this Houston fixture has been serving up barbeque, Cajun, and soul food dishes for over thirty years. In 2011, founder Rayford S. Busch achieved his dream of opening a brick and mortar location. Now, he and co-owners Maxine Davis and Herb Taylor pay their success forward through monthly charitable giving.
Family-owned and operated Sweet Potato Sensations was born of Cassandra Thomas’s 1976 Thanksgiving compromise: sweet potato cookies instead of candied yams. Those cookies form the core of this iconic Detroit bakery’s menu, which has since expanded to include a variety of both sweet and savory baked goods. This business is also a Detroit fixture, supporting local farmers markets, gardeners, and helping to reinvigorate the historic Redford Theater district.
Brotherly Grub brings Southern comfort food “with a Spanish twist” to the Delaware valley. With ingredients sourced from local businesses and urban farms, this food truck is a major community presence in Philadelphia. Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, they’ve utilized their mobility to provide meals for local healthcare workers.
Black-Owned Bars, Breweries, and Vintners
New York City, NY
Harlem Hops is Manhattan’s first 100% Black-owned craft beer bar. On tap is a massive selection of niche craft beers from across the world, including those sourced from local Black-owned breweries. Owners Kevin Bradford, Kim Harris, and Stacey Lee graduated from historically black colleges and universities, and now offer those same opportunities to Harlem youth through their nonprofit Harlem Hopes.
Abbey Creek Winery founder Bertony Faustin went from blending mixtapes in NYC to becoming the first recorded Black winemaker in Oregon. Founded in honor of his late father, a first-generation Haitian immigrant, this unpretentious winery promotes an atmosphere of “Hip-hop, Wine, and Chill.” In addition to blending wine, Faustin seeks to tell the stories of other vintners of color in his documentary Red, White & Black.
Founders Kofi Meroe and Amado Carsky’s unique heritages are reflected in Sankofa’s one-of-a-kind craft beers. This Black-owned brewery brings West African ingredients like hibiscus and cocoa to American and European mainstays like IPAs and stouts. Keep an eye out for their Black is Beautiful collaboration with Saint’s Row; all proceeds will go to support ACLU Maryland and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
Lillie’s of Charleston started out selling family recipe sauces and spice rubs to the Charleston community, and has since grown to become a nationally-distributed brand. Lillie’s also celebrates the local Gullah community through its sauce names and educational outreach. Their motto is “may you never feel unwanted, unloved or hungry,” a sentiment we can get behind.
Des Moines, IA
Blk & Bold is the first Black-owned nationally distributed coffee brand. Founders Pernell Cezar and Rod Johnson have made social impact part of their business model. Their coffee and tea is all Fair Trade or direct-trade sourced, and 5% of all profits are donated to national charities supporting at-risk youth.
Supporting Black-Owned Restaurants & Establishments
This list is just a small sampling of the diversity of black-owned establishments across the United States. We hope that next time you’re hungry, you’ll try out one of your local Black-owned restaurants. Please share this list with friends and family to help us spread the word.