15 Essential Black-Owned Restaurants You Should Know in San Diego

Support these spots during Black History Month and beyond.

February is Black History Month, when we remember the history of the African diaspora, honor the achievements of Black Americans, and pursue the goal of racial justice and equity. Supporting BIPOC-owned individuals and businesses is one of the most effective ways to make real, ongoing progress as we move, however slowly, along what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called the long “arc of the moral universe” that “bends towards justice.” 

To help you get started, we’ve done the work of compiling a list of our favorite Black-owned restaurants, breweries, and bars in San Diego, for you to enjoy not only during Black History Month, but all year long.

Rhythm's Chicken and Waffles
Rhythm's Chicken and Waffles

Rhythm’s Chicken and Waffles

Pacific Beach
This former food truck turned Pacific Beach brick-and-mortar took a simple chicken and waffle sandwich, upped the ante by loading on bacon and cheese, and the rest is history. You can still get the original, or opt for chicken sliders or tenders, a variety of sandwiches, loaded fries, burgers, and hot dogs. Their Rhythm Poppers, deep-fried chicken, and waffle bites topped with syrup and a flurry of powdered sugar, are just about the perfect mid-afternoon snack.
How to order: Order at the walk up window, call ahead at (858)246-6276 or order online via Grubhub, DoorDash or UberEats

Coop's West Texas BBQ
Coop's West Texas BBQ

Coops West Texas BBQ and Da Chicken Coop

Lemon Grove
It’s a terrible dilemma that you’ll face every time you drive into the parking lot at Brad “Coop” Cooper’s restaurants—do you want melt-in-your-mouth slabs of brisket and Texas-style, dino-sized beef ribs, or tender, buttermilk-dredged, crispy-pebbled fried chicken, catfish, and whiting with salty, screaming-hot fries and fried okra? Why choose? They’re literally steps from each other and you’ll thank us the next day when you spy those leftover chicken wings in the fridge. Delivery is a tad more complicated if you’re ordering from both, as third-party services treat them separately. 
How to order: Stop in or call (619) 589-0478 for pickup or check their website for third party delivery options.

Louisiana Purchase
Louisiana Purchase

Louisiana Purchase

North Park
A trip to the Big Easy for Mardi Gras probably won’t be in the cards this year, but Louisiana Purchase has you covered with lemon pepper wets, gator bites, a savory alligator-andouille cheesecake in crawfish cream, and all the requisite sides for your own personal Fat Tuesday celebration. Pair your dish with earthy saffron-infused gin and passionfruit in a Fleur-de-Lis or a spirit-forward Oaxacan on Sunshine, featuring Abasolo Corn Whiskey, espresso balsamic, and a mezcal rinse. 
How to order: Open for outdoor dining and takeout, or order online for pickup via Toast.

Rock Steady Jamaican Restaurant

Grant Hill
Oxtails slow cooked with white beans, brown-stew chicken, and curried goat are the standouts at this Grant Hill favorite. Be sure to stop by on Saturdays, when they serve up long-simmered beef and red kidney beans with spinners, a dense, torpedo-shaped Jamaican dumpling. 
How to order: Stop by or call (619) 431-5937 for takeout, or order for pickup or delivery via Yelp.

Support Locals SD

Surf & Soul Spot

La Mesa
On Mondays and Tuesdays—the restaurant’s designated “Surf Days”—you’ll find classic catfish, shrimp, and wing baskets with fries and garlic toast, blackened shrimp and crab rolls, and popcorn shrimp and grits. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday switch to “Soul Days” featuring comfort plates of catfish, wings, or pork chops alongside smoked turkey collard greens, baked mac and cheese, or bay rice with smoked turkey gravy. It comes with cornbread and dessert from the ever-rotating lineup: keep your fingers crossed that the classic pineapple upside-down cake is on the menu. Follow them on Instagram for daily specials and updates.
How to order: Stop by or call (619) 439-8801 for takeout.

Hannah’s Gourmet

University Heights
Chef Hanna Tesfamichael has been a mainstay of the Adams Avenue culinary scene for more than a decade, bringing you recipes from Poland one week, Tunisia the next, and later in the month perhaps Georgian cuisine. These days, you can still get her beloved prosciutto and caramelized apple tortellini, Moroccan chicken and meat lasagne, along with a large selection of soups (the creamy tomato bisque is highly recommended), stews, and salads. Do splurge on dessert: carrot cake enthusiasts won’t want to pass up Hanna’s special version. 
How to order: Order online by Thursday for pickup on Sunday between 2-6pm.

Chula Vista Brewery

Chula Vista Brewery

Chula Vista
US Navy veteran Timothy Parker and his wife, Dali Parker, opened Chula Vista Brewery nearly four years ago, winning awards and the hearts of beer drinkers across the county. The tap list includes hazy, West Coast, double and session IPAs, chocolate porter and a handful of ales, including their bronze medal winning Browner Than Ivan American Brown Ale. 
How to order: Join them on the patio for a pint (food purchase required), stop in for carry out or order online for pickup or delivery via Toast.

Cane Patch Kitchen

Cane Patch Kitchen

Liberty Station
Feast on authentic Southern cuisine at Cane Patch Kitchen in the Liberty Public Market, where owners Ebony Broadway and Tony Smalls turn to their family recipes, dating back to the early 1900s, for classics like seafood gumbo, jambalaya, po’ boys, grilled or fried gator, hot links, oyster and catfish baskets and Tony’s trademark sweet potato pie.
How to order: Stop by or order online for pickup or delivery. 

Bankhead mississippi style cookin

Bankhead Mississippi Style Cooking

Spring Valley
Spring Valley’s best kept secret is tucked into a strip mall, but don’t let the modest surroundings stop you. Chicken comes fried, baked, smothered, or BBQ’d, fish is baked Mississippi-style or fried, and all plates come with two sides (think black eyed peas, collard greens, and candied sweet potatoes), cornbread, and a drink. Check their Instagram for specials like gumbo, oxtail stew, and meatloaf. 
How to order: Order online or call (619) 773-7269 for pickup.

Muzita Abyssinian Bistro

University Heights
You’ll love everything you taste at Muzita Abyssinian Bistro, but the stars of the menu are vegetarian and vegan dishes, like hamli, softly sauteed spinach and collards, shiro, Eritrean-style chickpeas, or Mama’s Fool, a dish with fresh fava beans, tricolor peppers, and herbs cooked with temsi, a warm, spiced butter, all served over a soft, spongy sourdough crepe called injera, which also doubles as your plate and eating utensils.
How to order: Join them for patio dining, call 619-546-7900 or order online for pickup or delivery via third-party services

Nomad Donuts
Nomad Donuts

Nomad Donuts

North Park
You know and love their donuts, in globally inspired flavors like ube taro coconut and tamarind banana caramel, but don’t count out their Montreal-style bagels, made fresh daily in their wood-fired oven. Choose from an array of sweet and savory spreads, or use one as a base for an egg or house-cured salmon sandwich. Keep up with current flavors and specials by following the shop on Instagram.
How to order: Walk up, call (619) 431-5000 or order online for pickup.

Spoiled Vegans Cafe

Spoiled Vegans Cafe

East Village
Even dedicated carnivores won’t miss a thing at Spoiled Vegans Cafe, where their plant-based breakfast sandwiches come with sausage patties, breaded chicken or ham slices, JUSTegg folded patties, melted cheese, and air-fried hash browns stuffed inside a bagel, brioche bun, or sourdough English muffin. Not a sandwich fan? You’ll love Let Go of My Diego—a plant-based apple sage sausage, wrapped in a waffle on a stick, with a side of maple mustard dipping sauce. 
How to order: Order in person or online for pickup.

One WorldBeat Cafe

Balboa Park
Balboa Park’s organic cafe has just reopened for curbside pickup and delivery on weekends, making it the perfect stop after a hike or for an impromptu picnic. The all-vegan menu features international dishes like African coconut peanut curry, a jerk rasta burger, and Costa Chica chile, plus fresh-pressed juices, salads, and raw kombucha on tap.
How to order: Call (619) 230-1190 or order online for pickup, or via DoorDash, UberEats or GrubHub.

Shadow Ridge Spirits Company

Longtime homebrewer Sean Hallman, a US Navy veteran, and his wife, Lisa Ireland, are the founders of Shadow Ridge Spirits Company, a small-batch distillery in Oceanside specializing in grain-to-glass bourbon, rye, peated single malt, and American single malt whiskeys that feature specialty grains and malted barley, aged in charred American white oak barrels. They also offer a silver and a barrel-aged rum, and are currently in the R&D phase of development for a gin with hand-selected botanicals. 
How to order: Shop online for pickup at the distillery or delivery within California only.

Hammond's Gourmet Ice Cream
Hammond's Gourmet Ice Cream

Hammond’s Gourmet Ice Cream

North Park and Point Loma
Hammond’s Gourmet Ice Cream offers over 300 flavors of Tropical Dreams super premium Hawaiian ice cream and sorbet, which is the perfect excuse to skip dinner and go straight for indulgence. Having a hard time deciding between chocolate coconut macadamia nut, lilikoi (passion fruit) sorbet, or peanut butter and guava jelly? Opt for flights of your favorites in adorable mini cake or waffle cones, to share (or not). Note: The Pacific Beach location is temporarily closed. 
How to order: Order in person. 

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Mary Beth Abate is a San Diego-based freelance writer by way of Chicago and Los Angeles. Her hobbies include yoga, pickling and fermenting stuff, reading cookbooks and drinking fabulous gin. Keep up with her experiments @MaryBeth_Abate.