Black-owned restaurants stand as transformative hubs in the American culinary landscape as they’ve weaved unique flavors and traditions into the nation’s food scene. From African-American to Caribbean and African dishes, these restaurants have brightened the American palate. Infusing Black cuisine and culture with local flare and flavors these restaurants offer something other places can't- a look into the Black culture!
WGBH noted in a 2023 article on the topic that, "Today, Black chefs and restaurant owners are bringing traditional elements into their recipes and adding their own creativity, as well as sharing recipes from all corners of the globe. But through all the different flavors is the same heart: community."
Loved by locals and sought-after by tourists and visitors, these Black-owned restaurants are worth seeking out when you are in the area. So, without further ado, join us as we explore the top 10 Black-owned restaurants in the United States and reflect on how they’ve become culinary beacons by redefining the ordinary American dining experience.
1. Dooky Chase’s Restaurant – New Orleans, Louisiana
Situated in the heart of New Orleans, Dooky Chase is a cornerstone of Creole cuisine. Led by Leah Chase, this eatery has fed generations of eager diners with their famous red beans and rice and fried chicken. Each dish tells a story of Southern resilience and grit.
2. The Breakfast Klub - Houston, TX
In Houston, The Breakfast Klub transforms breakfast into a soulful celebration. Marcus Davis, the visionary, commits to providing comfort food to the community. Whether it’s their catfish and grits or wings, The Breakfast Klub is bound to excite you.
3. The Grey – Savannah, GA
Housed in a restored Greyhound bus terminal, The Grey is where tradition meets innovation. Chef Mashama Bailey breathes new life into classic Southern dishes, offering a refined take on the region’s flavors. From crab beignets to duck pastrami, The Grey takes a unique approach to Southern cuisine.
4. Red Rooster – Harlem, NY
Chef Marcus Samuelsson celebrates Harlem’s cultural diversity at the Red Rooster. The menu is a mix of local traditions and global influences, creating an eclectic dining experience that resembles the spirit of the Harlem Renaissance. Their seafood festival jambalaya and fried yardbird will leave you speechless.
5. Ethiopic – Washington, D.C.
Ethiopic’s Chef Meseret Bekele commits to authenticity and tradition with every dish, from the injera to the aromatic doro wat. Ethiopic introduces diners to the captivating world of Ethiopian cuisine with a menu full of flavors and dishes that take you on a tour of the great country while you eat.
6. Ben’s Chili Bowl – Washington, D.C.
Since 1958, Ben’s Chili Bowl has been serving patrons in the nation’s capital, making it a living piece of history for the Black Community. Famous for its half-smokes and chili-covered hot dogs, Ben's Chilli Bowl exemplifies the power of good food for the soul and for the body as well.
7. Ezell’s Famous Chicken – Seattle, WA
Ezell’s brings flavorful perfection to those in Seattle with roots in Southern-inspired recipes thanks to the care and attention restaurant owners bring to the creation of every menu item. Their homemade style and beloved flavors continue to attract attention from locals and visitors alike.
8. Nikki’s Place – Orlando, FL
Nikki’s Place is a family-owned sanctuary for Southern food lovers in the Black Community. With its generous portions and traditional dishes such as smothered pork chops, Nikki’s preserves the essence of home-cooked goodness. Nikki's Place is a taste of home for those looking for authentic Black Cuisine.
9. Demera – Chicago, IL
In the heart of Chicago, Demera is another Ethiopian staple, serving aromatic and vibrant dishes. With staples like bayaynetu and traditional messob, you’re bound to experience a range of tastes, dishes, and recipes. Cultural inspirations and flavors are alive and well here at Demera.
10. The Four Way – Memphis, TN
A Memphis landmark since the 1940s, The Four Way continues to serve nostalgic dishes like fried catfish and peach cobbler. Owned by Patrice Bate Thompson, this establishment continues a legacy of good eats for foodies to indulge into and enjoy with friends and family members
Support Black-Owned Restaurants Today
Black-owned restaurants stand as beacons of hope and direction in the ever-evolving American culinary landscape. These establishments do what few others can — weave the various culinary traditions of Black culture and heritage into the nation's vibrant food scene. These establishments have undeniably illuminated the American palate, offering a delightful fusion of Black cuisine and culture enriched with local flare and distinct flavors. What sets them apart is their ability to provide more than just a meal – they offer a captivating glimpse into the rich tapestry of the Black Community with the use of cultural recipes and traditional ingredients.
Adored by locals and sought-after by tourists and visitors, these Black-owned restaurants beckon exploration when you find yourself in their vicinity. Through their culinary mastery and commitment to reinvention, these establishments have become gastronomic beacons, reshaping the ordinary American dining experience into an extraordinary celebration of diversity and flavor. If you are far from any of these amazing locations, do your own digging and find the Black-owned restaurants in your area that you can begin supporting today!