How to Spend a Day in Austin Supporting Black-Owned Businesses

From local tour companies to renowned food trucks, it’s time to spread the love.

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Soul Popped Gourmet Popcorn - Soul Food-Inspired
Soul Popped Gourmet Popcorn

When much of the country thinks about Austin, they often picture a few key things: live music, big dog parks, and good food options. But many people are unaware of just how deep Austin’s cultural roots run—and, unfortunately, the historical significance and modern-day influence of Austin's Black community, in particular, is all too often overlooked.

Austin is one of the few major cities with a growing overall population but a dwindling Black population, with the share of the total population dropping from 8% to 7% over the past decade. Some businesses, however, have made great efforts to recenter Austin’s Black community in the stories we tell about the city, and companies like Black Austin Tours, run by Austin native Javier Wallace, have made that its central mission. Elsewhere, community organizations such as Six Square work to celebrate the artistic legacy of East Austin, which has traditionally been the home of Black Austinites.

Despite it all, Austin’s Black community is still here. From bookstores to spice shops, here are 15 proud and prominent Black-owned local businesses to support year-round in Austin.

Information listed here may be subject to change depending on the developing situation with COVID-19's Omicron variant. Please check for the latest updates available or contact each establishment directly for more info.

Black Austin Tours

Multiple locations
Black Austin Tours offers curious locals and visitors alike a fresh and intensely knowledgeable perspective on the city. As mentioned, the company is helmed by celebrated storyteller and Austin insider Javier Wallace. He articulates his know-how and personal connection to the city via three different, ultra-engaging guided tours. Stretch your legs, see the city in a whole new light, and gain a greater understanding of Austin’s ever-thriving local Black community.
How to Support: Book a tour online.

Black Pearl Books

Black Pearl Books

Black Pearl Books is a well-loved independent and community-oriented bookstore. Originally a pop-up and online shop only, it now also carries the latest and greatest releases at its brick-and-mortar store. Its expertly curated collection is sure to have something for readers of all stripes. To boot, teachers and librarians receive a 15% discount when ordering in-store.
How to support: Stop by for in-store shopping or order online.

Nana's Prayers Tattoo Studio

Nana's Prayers Tattoo Studio

North Lamar
Founded by artist Imani Tatum, Nana’s Prayers Tattoo Studio is a wonderful place to check out if you’ve been pondering a new way to express yourself. It has a close-knit team of talented artists who can hook you up with some great new ink, all while expressly focusing on creating inclusive spaces for BIPOC folks in Austin.
How to support: Contact via Instagram for booking information.

Jp's Pancake Company

JP’s Pancake Company

West Campus & Oakhill
JP’s Pancake Company has long been a popular University of Texas hotspot. Proudly self-described as Austin's first pancake food truck, JP's offers tasty treats that you aren't likely to find elsewhere. Choose from its list of "Certified Bangers," like the Strawberry Banana Babe (white chocolate chip pancakes topped with strawberry syrup, strawberries, and bananas), or build your own from a variety of bases and toppings. The idea proved so successful that it opened a second location earlier this year in Oakhill.
How to support: Stop by for counter service.

Awkward Auntie

Awkward Auntie

Awkward Auntie makes beautiful, hand-dyed home decor guaranteed to lighten up even the drabbest of spaces. Owner Sarah Miller—an auntie to seven lucky kids—creates charming and gorgeously crafted items, like skull- and heart-shaped planters and crystal-accented soap dishes. It’s the ideal place to track down a housewarming gift or a new item to spruce up your own living room.
How to support: Browse and order via Instagram.

Luv Fats Ice Cream

Luv Fats Ice Cream

Multiple locations
Some vegan ice cream companies struggle with hitting the right texture, but Austin’s beloved Luv Fats Ice Cream hits the mark and then some. Using avocado and coconut milk as a base, these innovators serve up creamy and rich scoops that are hard to beat, and incorporate a ton of local ingredients into their unique, seasonal combinations. Past flavors include Caramel Rosemary, Kenyan Coffee, Sourdough Toast and Peach Jam, and umami-loaded Soy Sauce. Follow Luv Fats Ice Cream on Instagram for the latest on new creations and local availability.
How to support: Stop by your nearest vendor or preorder online for pickup at the Texas Farmers Market at Mueller.

Photo courtesy of Soul Popped

Soul Popped

Westlake Hills
Getting its start via small stands at the Central Texas Farmers Market, Soul Popped Gourmet Popcorn transforms your favorite Southern flavors into snackable form. Indulge in crowd-pleasers like Heavenly Macaroni & Cheese, Big Momma's Fried Chicken, and Buttered Corn Off-the-Cob. You can also get down with a whole mess of flavors thanks to its create-your-own option.
How to support: Stop by the Barton Creek Mall location or order online.

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Photo courtesy of Sans Bar

Sans Bar

East Austin
This spot is perfect for those looking for a welcoming bar environment—just minus the alcohol. Founded by former substance abuse counselor Chris Marshall, Sans Bar is Austin’s only fully non-alcoholic bar. Known for its wide range of booze-free beers and artisan mocktails, folks across the sobriety spectrum here are welcomed with open arms. It’s also frequented by people supporting their non-drinking friends as well as those who simply feel like drinking less and socializing more.
How to support: Stop by for first come, first served seating or sign up online to learn about special community events.

Caribreoso Flavour Boutique

The Caribreoso Flavour Boutique

Multiple locations
The Caribreoso Flavour Boutique has been assisting home cooks in wowing their friends with brilliantly spiced dishes since 2017. This shop marries Caribbean, Creole, and Southern inspiration to deliver a range of expertly crafted seasonings, sauces, and coffees. Many of its signature creations are intentionally salt-free, allowing innovative chefs to focus on flavor first while adjusting the salt level to their liking.
How to support: Browse and order online.

Hoover's Cooking

Hoover’s Cooking

Hoover’s Cooking comes to us courtesy of native East Austinite and fifth-generation Texan, Hoover Alexander. The renowned, award-winning eatery has offered to-die-for menu options for the last 20 years, like southern fried pork chops and catfish po’ boys. There’s not much else to say—it’s just good, old-fashioned cooking done right.
How to support: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order takeout online.

Dope Crochet

Dope Crochet

Austin is anything but consistent when it comes to temperature. Dope Crochet helps you prepare for any occasion with its wide selection of cute, custom products, ranging from crocheted beanies to knit bikinis. Earrings, ties, home decor—if it can be crocheted, this shop likely has it.
How to support: Browse and order online.

Me & the Bees Lemonade

Me & the Bees

Multiple locations
Me & the Bees is a true Austin favorite. Founded by now 17-year-old Mikaila Ulmer, this upgraded lemonade stand is known for signature bottled lemonades available in many major retailers. Check out the Prickly Pear and Black Cherry flavors, or go big with a variety pack.
How to support: Stop by your nearest vendor or order online.

Jazzy Chica Boutique

Jazzy Chica Boutique

Jazzy Chica Boutique is a place for statement pieces. If you’ve been struggling to put together the perfect outfit, this might just be the answer to your prayers. Aside from new ’fits, it also stocks stylish clutches, rings, purses, and other accessories that help add extra flair to your wardrobe. Find a great gift for a friend—or save the good stuff for yourself.
How to support: Browse and order online.

Winston's Kitchen

Winston’s Kitchen

Sunset Valley
Winston's Kitchen is a well-loved Jamaican restaurant. You're in for a real bang for your buck here, considering its generous portion sizes of fall-off-the-bone jerk chicken and other island classics. Winston has racked up more than 40 years of experience serving up quality eats, so gear up for a hearty comfort meal to remember.
How to support: Stop by for counter service.

New Awlins Cajun Cafe

New Awlins Cajun Cafe

Barrington Oaks
A bit of a hidden gem—not to mention another great spot to leave you full and satisfied—is this mouthwatering, Louisiana-influenced joint. It serves all your Cajun favorites, from gumbo and seafood pasta to a killer crawfish étouffée.
How to support: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order takeout and delivery via DoorDash and Chowbus.

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Jade Fabello is a contributor for Thrillist.