ATX Black Food Week Supports Black-Owned Restaurants
The celebration, organized by Austin Justice Coalition, continues
By Emily Beyda,
2:15PM, Fri. Jul. 26, 2019
As we approach the end of the first week of ATX Black Food Week 2019, we gear up for the beginning of the second week. The event celebrates Austin’s vibrant community of black-owned restaurants, organized by the folks at the Austin Justice Coalition.
Through Sat., August 3, AJC will be celebrating minority-owned businesses in Austin, and encouraging the community to come out and support their delicious efforts.
“Black Food Week started off as an idea to support black-owned restaurants which are often overlooked in the Austin foodie culture,” shares AJC social media manager Ishia Lynette. “But it turned into so much more. It turned into a community affair where we found ourselves not only giving support, but also educating people on the importance of spending their money within the black communities.”
Community and policy fellow Grant Loveless says that he hopes Black Food Week will offer Austinites an opportunity to connect with each of the featured businesses and the family who runs it. “I hope Austinites can grasp a piece of culture with them when they enter into every room, walk out of every door, eat every piece of food, and network with the amazing individuals who own and contribute themselves into each restaurant,” Loveless says. “I hope they can take away the meaning of family, community, and fellowship and its importance to the Austin community as it is expanding and growing and how we need more equity and unity than ever.”
Event manager Gaubrielle Pritchard agrees: “The importance is not only keeping these establishments and businesses around, but having inspiration for new businesses to be started. We are featuring newer businesses this year so the next generation knows that we’re here and we can do it. Gentrification isn’t the only answer. This spirit can continue by talking to your neighbors about what’s new, intentionally inviting friends and family to these businesses, and genuinely spending your dollars within the community you want to see grow. If the food is good and it’s a good time, people will come.”
The process of organizing the participants for Black Food Week started with a list of minority-owned restaurants and food trucks in and around the Austin area, compiled by AJC founder and executive Chas Moore, with the assistance of the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce. “I was in search of fan favorites like Mr. Catfish and Gossip Shack then I was in search of new discoveries like Sassy's Vegetarian Soul food which makes soul food healthier, which is very innovative and creative,” says Loveless, who helped compile the list of participating restaurants. “That is what I looked for in all restaurants; creativity, innovation, culture, and, of course, soul.”
This first week, participating restaurants have already included Mr. Catfish & More, The Gossip Shack and Gossip Shack 2, Big Easy Bar and Grill, and Hoover's Cooking. Starting Friday, July 26, they’ll feature Sassy's Vegetarian Soul Food, Tony's Jamaican Food, and J. Leonardi's Barbeque. And rounding out the weekend are Sam's BBQ on Sat., July 27, and Winner’s BBQ Austin on Sun., July 28.
Next week will roll out as follows:
Country Boyz Fixins – Monday
Baby Greens – Tuesday
Bahadi's Chicken & Lounge – Wednesday
Da Slice LLC – Thursday
Domain Food Truck Court (Emojis Grilled Cheese Bar, My Granny's Kitchen, Krack of Dawn Kafe, and The Rolling Rooster) – Friday
The grand finale celebration party will be held on Sat., August 3, with an Eat and Greet Social Hour at Wild Magnolia’s.
“I'm excited about Wild Magnolia's,” says Chas Moore. “I haven't been since he opened up the brick and mortar. His food truck was always on my must-eat spots when he was still on the Eastside. If you love cajun food you can't really go wrong with any dish here, so I guess you can say I'm excited about it all.”
For Ishia Lynette, Black Food Week is all about the delicious opportunity to connect with a community she loves. “I think the most exciting part about putting Black Food Week together is realizing how many restaurants there are in Austin that are black-owned,” she says.
“It really uplifts the spirit. Food is such a sacred thing in the black family, and for many of us who arrived in Austin as transplants, going to some of these restaurants is like sitting at Grandma’s table or attending a family reunion. You feel a warmth in the food that hits you straight in the heart.”