How to Celebrate Black Restaurant Week in NYC
Support these Black-owned businesses around the city.
From Friday, November 13 through Sunday, November 22, Black Restaurant Week will take over NYC’s dining scene. The initiative, which originally started in Houston, was founded by marketing partners Falayn Ferrell, Derek Robinson, and Warren Luckett, who is the Chief Operating Officer of Branwar Wines, out of a necessity to showcase the Black culinary community to a broader audience.
With local restaurants, cafes, bakeries, and more participating from multiple boroughs, 2020 marks the first time Black Restaurant Week will be hosted in NYC. And due to COVID-19, the event will look a bit different in comparison to the in-person festivals and celebrations that occurred in other cities in the past.
“A lot of the restaurants in the industry have just been hit really hard with COVID-19,” says Falayn Ferrell. “I think New York is just starting to open up as far as indoor dining. Restaurants have been doing a lot of sidewalk dining but with the temperature starting to drop, it’s important for us to continue to pump dollars into our local community.”
On average, Black-owned businesses receive less funding and financial support from bank lenders, placing an even larger burden on Black-owned restaurants. And since the pandemic began, 41% of Black-owned businesses in America have closed, which remains the highest rate of any racial group in the country.
Since the spring, many of the restaurants on this list have risen to the occasion of helping their local neighborhoods by donating food, time, and money to various relief efforts for COVID-19. And by buying Black and supporting these small businesses this week (and every week), you’ll be doing your part to return the gratitude.
This year’s participants of Black Restaurant Week offer a variety of cuisines, including West African, Italian, Caribbean, and Asian fusion, so don’t be surprised if you discover your favorite new restaurant (or two). Check out the full list of spots taking part here, and please wear a mask and social distance responsibly when dining out.
Black Nile Seafood & Soul Food
Like the name suggests, you can have the best of both worlds at Black Nile when you order any of their signature made-from-scratch soul food or seafood dishes. Here, owners Hasson and Fanerra Dupree take pride in only serving Halal meat and poultry. Honey glazed salmon, grilled or fried catfish, and shrimp po’ boys are just a few of the entrees you can choose from. Just make sure you save room for dessert and try some of their glazed blueberry cornbread.
Cost: Appetizers start at $3, entrees $7-31
Order this: Black Nile shrimp scampi and a side of herb butter smoked corn
How to order: Via UberEats
The Bun Hut
There are tons of fusion restaurants in town, but since opening earlier this year, The Bun Hut’s take on merging Asian and Caribbean fare makes it a standout worth visiting. As co-owner and chef behind the spot’s Caribbean-infused bao buns, Kermit “Ray” Mackey’s menu features a variety of flavors like Bahamian coconut shrimp, West Indian curry goat, and island spiced pulled jackfruit. Don’t leave without trying a big glass of their rum punch, which really does pack a punch.
Order this: Coconut curry chicken bun with chill day hibiscus lemonade
How to order: Open for outdoor dining or order via their website
At this family-owned destination in Ridgewood, Cafe Moca’s menu specializes in vegan and vegetarian items. Choose from plant-based BLTs, chickpea-tuna salad sandwiches, avocado toast, and smoothies in options like velvety peanut butter. Their version of a lox bagel, made with smoked carrots, onions, dill, and tomato is a delightful play on a NYC classic, and the vegan DANK pumpkin bread waffle, served with maple-cinnamon butter, is also a must-try—with both items only available on weekends.
Cost: Bagels start at $4, sandwiches start at $10
Order this: Figgy bacon bagel
How to order: Outdoor seating is first come, first served. Order takeout and delivery via Grubhub, UberEats, or Seamless.
Creme and Cocoa Creamery
Just because it’s getting colder doesn’t mean your days of ice cream eating have to end. Located just 15 minutes away from Prospect Park, family-owned Creme and Cocoa Creamery not only serves classics like vanilla and chocolate, but also flavors native to the Caribbean like soursop ice cream, hibiscus sorbet, and boozy peanut punch. If you’re looking to take your love of ice cream even further, check out their ice cream making classes where COVID-19 safety guidelines will be followed.
Cost: $10 per pint
Order this: A scoop of Not so Grape or Nut ice cream or a pint of rum raisin
How to order: Pints available for pickup on their website or order delivery through DoorDash, Postmates, and UberEats.
Hooray! James Beard Award-winning Chef JJ Johnson’s iconic FIELDTRIP is getting two more locations this month in Long Island City and Rockefeller Plaza. But in the meantime, stop by the original Harlem location for a signature rice bowl in options like salmon, crispy chicken, veggies, gumbo, and more—all served alongside heirloom grains. Chef Johnson believes that rice is central to every culture’s cuisine and in each bowl you’ll find rice unique to various parts of the world, including North Carolina, China, and West Africa.
Cost: Bowls $10-13
Order this: Crispy chicken bowl with sweet plantains
How to order: Via their website
Located just a block away from Harlem’s main thoroughfare of 125th Street, this eatery’s name alone may make you want to dance, but so will its menu. Their popular burgers can be ordered with Pat LaFrieda beef, turkey, veggies, or Impossible Meat. But if burgers aren’t your thing, you can groove to their hotdogs, chicken sandwiches, salads, and a variety of milkshakes that are a must-try (read: red velvet!). Before you head over, be sure to practice your best pageant wave in case you ever want to be a contestant in their annual Mr./Miss Harlem Shake competition. The winner not only becomes the face of Harlem Shake, but receives a cash prize along with a donation made to their favorite Harlem charity.
Cost: Burgers $8-13, sandwiches and hot dogs $3.80-9.50
Order this: Harlem classic burger with jerk fries and The Harlem Shake milkshake
How to order: Open for indoor and outdoor dining, takeout and delivery via website.
Whether you’re new to the city or it’s been your home for a while, let the food at Red Hook’s Jam’it Bistro be your passport into a vast array of cultures. Here, owner Dawn Skeete’s Jamaican roots shine in a Carribean menu fused with various elements. Whether it’s inspiration from Italian cuisine, resulting in favorites like Jamaican Jerk pasta, or influences from the West Indies or even vegetarian forward dishes, the comfort food options available here are just as diverse as the people who inhabit NYC.
Cost: Entrees start at $10
Order this: Jerk chicken classic dinner
How to order: Takeout and delivery via website, Seamless.
Kokomo opened this summer and is still fairly new to the WIlliamsburg food scene, but judging from how quickly reservations fill up for brunch and dinner, it’s already made its mark. Owned by couple Ria and Kevin Graham, this Caribbean spot is situated just steps away from Marsha P. Johnson State Park and serves one of the best flatbreads available in the city. If you’re going for brunch, don’t pass up on Koko’s Chicken and Waffles, which comes with a sorrel scotch bonnet sauce, house made syrup and coconut whipped cream. And for drinks, go for literally anything on their cocktail menu.
Cost: Brunch entrees $8-32, dinner entrees $14-31
Order this: Rasta pasta flatbread
How to order: Reservations are available on Resy for indoor and outdoor dining. Order takeout and delivery via website, DoorDash, Uber Eats.
LoLo's Seafood Shack
Headed by Guyana native, Chef Raymond Mohan, and Harlem native, Leticia Skai Young, LoLo’s heated backyard is a great spot to sit back and enjoy a seafood steam pot, boil, or their popular Pom Pom Shrimp with a ghost pepper glaze that you’ll want to bottle up and take home. Pair your meal with LoLo’s punch, which contains coconut rum, sorrel, and ginger, or re-live the hot summer days with a refreshing slushy.
Cost: Steampot combos start at $25; baskets start at $12
Order this: Belizean conch fritters with a side of LoLo’s fries
How to order: Call 646-649-3356 to make a reservation in outdoor dining. Order takeout and delivery via Grubhub, Postmates, Seamless, UberEats.
The Nourish Spot
After a career as an executive in financial services, Dawn Kelly changed gears and opened The Nourish Spot, a neighborhood cafe offering health food to Jamaica residents. With a goal to provide better access to food that encourages a healthier lifestyle, stop by and be kind to your body with all-natural juices, smoothies, wraps, salads, and gluten-free items; or boost your immune system with shots of ginger, turmeric, and wheatgrass.
Cost: Juices start at $5, smoothies start at $7.50
Order this: Strawberry Banana Slammer
How to order: Curbside pickup by calling 718-526-2099 or via website. Order takeout and delivery via Caviar, Grubhub, Seamless, UberEats.
The Southern Comfort
If you’re looking for a little southern hospitality and the hearty food to match, look no further than The Southern Comfort in Bed-Stuy. The menu lists a range of southern dishes, including chicken and sweet potato waffles, NOLA-style gumbo, and shrimp and grits. They’re also known to have live music some weekends, so keep an eye out on their Instagram page for any upcoming jam sessions.
Order this: The Obama Burger with codfish fritters
How to order: Open for indoor and outdoor seating or order via Grubhub, UberEats, Postmates
Yvette Leeper-Bueno’s Vinateria brings a piece of Italy to Harlem. The wine list is massive and as the cooler months stroll in, a nice glass of red (or white) wine will help keep you warm. In between sips though, take advantage of their dinner menu, which offers various pastas including lamb sausage rigatoni, black spaghetti, and rosemary pappardelle. Finish your meal off with one of their decadent desserts like the olive oil cake or vanilla bean creme brulee.
Cost: Brunch entrees start at $18.50, dinner entrees start at $15
Order this: Mafalde short rib ragu and a glass of Cuvée Felix de Biac
How to order: Seating for outdoor dining is first come, first served. Order pickup via website or delivery via DoorDash, Seamless, UberEats.
After briefly closing due to COVID-19, Voilà Afrique is up and running again and offering big helpings of African comfort dishes like egusi, pounded yam, coconut fried rice, and an oxtail stew that never disappoints. The duo behind Voila Afrique’s deep West African influences is owner George Quainoo and chef Margarete Duncan, who are from Ghana and Nigeria respectively. Halal, vegan and organic options are also available.
Cost: Rice combos start at $10
Order this: Jollof rice and oxtail stew
How to order: Order takeout via website, delivery via DoorDash, UberEats.