Black Restaurant Week kicks off Friday, September 4, in Atlanta, and more than 50 area restaurants are expected to participate in the annual event, including Lake and Oak Barbecue, APT 4B, Fellaship Cigar Lounge, TasteBuddz ATL, and the Atlanta Food Truck Park. The week also sees the debut of Tekeya Priester and chef Keon Garrett’s new Douglasville restaurant Table25 Fork + Wine, opening Sunday, September 6.
The week-long festival features Atlanta restaurants offering specials, prix fixe brunches and dinners, and new dishes hitting menus. Due to the ongoing health crisis, a greater emphasis is being placed on takeout and delivery over dine-in service. This year, the organization partnered with newly launched delivery service Black and Mobile in Atlanta to deliver food from participating restaurants.
Founded by Warren Luckett, Falayn Ferrell, and Derek Robinson in Houston five years ago, Black Restaurant Week has expanded to eight cities since its inception. The annual restaurant event is meant to shine the spotlight on African American, African, and Caribbean foods and foodways from chefs and restaurants across the country.
The motivation behind creating the organization and its culinary and educational events was due in part to the police killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown six years ago in Ferguson, Missouri, along with a “host of other black lives lost,” Luckett told Eater. Luckett, Ferrell, and Robinson hope the week helps spark much-needed conversations with people around the table and showcase the “abundance of cultural cuisines” found at Black-owned restaurants in America.
“We wanted to create a platform as young black millennials that would share a narrative that allowed us to shape the conversation of such unfortunate and unfair events. I grew up eating dinner with my family, and that’s when we had our best conversations — shared opinions, discussed politics, religion and news topics — at the dinner table,” Luckett said. “From there, we wanted to utilize Black Restaurant Week’s platform to continue to have important conversations about what occurs within our community while celebrating the diversity within the black community.”
This year’s participation fee for restaurants is being waived in light of the significant financial losses that have crippled restaurants across the country, following months of statewide shutdowns and capacity restrictions in dining rooms caused by the pandemic.
Black Restaurant Week plans to host a number of virtual events for people to participate in throughout the week in Atlanta, including the Black Plate Awards (where diners vote for their favorite restaurants,) restaurant bingo, and an online cocktail competition involving bartenders from across the United States.
Check the Black Restaurant Week website for more details and a full list of participating Atlanta-area restaurants.