A two-week long celebration of black-owned businesses is hoping to serve some food for thought. ATX Black Food Week kicks off July 22 to provide a full slate of delicious meals and spark a conversation about diversity in Austin’s burgeoning dining scene.
The event was founded in 2018 by grassroots organization Austin Justice Coalition to give locals a chance to support the Capital City’s minority-run restaurants. This year, it is expanding to two weeks with a special emphasis on longstanding eateries.
Grant Loveless, a community and policy fellow at the coalition, says one of the main goals of the event is to recognize the black-owned restaurants that are often left out of Austin’s culinary conversation. To whit, the dinners are framed as Eat and Greets, so guests can learn more about the host businesses.
“Austin is often referred to as a place with great food on a national level; however, the cultural, and in some part, historical aspect is overlooked and kept out of the discussion,” he says. “On occasion, Austinites forget that the city holds a taste of culture, a season of inclusion, and an aroma of empowerment, and that our contribution as a Black community is here to stay.”
Supporting community is especially important when it comes to economics, says Ishia Lynette, AJC’s social media manager. She says Black Food Week raises consciousness of where money is spent.
“Most businesses in a black community aren't black-owned, she says. “Therefore, it makes it easy for the black dollar to be spent somewhere else.”
Of course, Black Food Week is also an opportunity to try out some of the Austin area’s tastiest restaurants. The lineup this year highlights the diversity of black-owned concepts. Participants include iconic barbecue Sam’s BBQ, salad shop Baby Greens, grilled cheese truck Emoji’s, Pflugerville New Orlean’s kitchen Wild Magnolias, artisan pizzeria Da Slice, and Tony’s Jamaican Food.
See the full slate of restaurants and RSVP for dinners here. ATX Black Food Week runs from July 22 to August 3. Admission is free, but guests are responsible for food costs.