Midwest Black Restaurant Week is here, and no matter what side of the state you live in, you can find a place to celebrate here in Missouri.
This year, Black Restaurant Week is putting on events in 15 cities and regions, with the Midwest iteration starting Fri., July 23 and running through Sun., Aug. 1. The organization aims to celebrate flavors of African American, African and Caribbean cuisine, along with other restaurants that are Black-owned. And after a tumultuous year, managing partner Falayn Ferrell says that the work they are doing to help support restaurants is more important than ever; according to a study from the University of California Santa Cruz, 41 percent of Black-owned businesses have shuttered since last February, compared to 17 percent of white-owned businesses.
"It's really called 'No Crumb Left Behind' this year because our goal is to help at least 1,000 businesses across the country," she says. "We really want to help create sustainability, and get some money back pumping through the local communities and the small businesses that feed them."
It is free for restaurants to participate in Black Restaurant Week, thanks in part to the support of corporate sponsors of the program. After registering on the organization's website, they are provided with marketing materials and more; they're only asked to provide some sort of special during the week to further entice people to come in the door. But all of the profits go right back to the restaurants.
"All of the dollars that are earned or any sale that is made within that community pretty much stays in that community," Ferrell says. "They're able to reinvest it back into their business, hire new people, expand to new locations, things like that."
New participants are being added to the Black Restaurant Week website every day, but both Kansas City and St. Louis residents have plenty of options to celebrate the occasion. Kansas City participants include Soiree Steak & Oyster House, Devoured Pizza Pop-Up, Queen of Cones, Gates BBQ, KC Daquiri Shop and Niecie's Restaurant, among many others. On St. Louis' list, you'll find Kitchen 4AM, Creole With a Splash of Soul, Steve's Hot Dogs, Tasty Treats Snack Shop and Alibi Cookies participating.
For a full list of participants and other ways to celebrate the week, visit Black Restaurant Week's website.