Black Restaurant Week has come a long way in five years. From its local roots, the event has gone national, with 11 events taking place across the country — including first time stops in New York City and Washington, D.C.
Held from July 10 - 19, this year’s roster features over 50 restaurants, caterers, and food trucks serving a diverse range of cuisines. Even though restaurants are only operating at 50-percent capacity for dine-in, many are offering their menus for to-go.
BRW organizers are doing their part to promote the participating businesses by offering an online bingo card with prizes available for people who submit receipts demonstrating they’ve completed at least one row. Instead of the usual cocktail event, BRW has partnered with Maker’s Mark for a virtual competition that will give away a $5,000 grand prize. In addition, this year’s website will remain online in the future to serve as a guide for anyone interested in supporting Black-owned businesses year-round.
Beyond marketing, one of BRW’s founders cites the strengthening of bonds within the Black restaurant community as one of the event’s biggest accomplishments.
“This sector of the industry was never connected around one table. That’s what we’ve tried to do,” Falayn Ferrell tells CultureMap. “Restaurants owners are calling each other and asking for advice. We’ve created a network that’s sustainable and supporting each other.”
In honor of BRW, CultureMap has identified nine restaurants that mix some of our favorite Black-owned establishments with a few intriguing newcomers. Find the complete list on the event’s website.
The recently relocated, Memphis-style barbecue joint has BRW specials for both carnivores and vegetarians. Meat eaters may opt for dinner plates with one or two meat and two sides ($13.99 and $15.99), while those looking for plant-based options should consider the barbecue cauliflower and chick pea salad. Either way, saving room for cobbler is mandatory.
The Upper Kirby restaurant serves a two-course, $45 menu that also includes a glass of wine. Start with Parmesan chicken bites, collard green and artichoke dip, or fried shrimp with sweet Thai chili sauce. Entree choices include fried chicken with garlic mashed potatoes and collard greens, Creole salmon with grilled shrimp, and curry-roasted chicken.
This food truck offers up three plant-based versions of a classic American cheeseburger including a patty melt and a Western-style take with fried onions named after Bun B. Follow it on Instagram for hours and location.
Island1515 Kitchen & Rhum Bar
This downtown restaurant stands out for its extensive BRW offerings that include a two-course, $25 menu, a three-course, $35 menu, and a host of weekly specials. Whether snacking on shareables like jerk duck wings and oxtail fries or deciding what cocktail to pair with an order of calypso shrimp, the menu offers a range of options to suit any taste. Happy hour specials make it an appealing after-work destination.
The Southern-inspired restaurant in the Museum District is serving both a two-course, $25 lunch menu and a three-course, $45 menu. Lunch options include fried green tomatoes, watermelon salad, a hot chicken sandwich, and the restaurant’s signature shrimp and grits. At dinner, start with Caesar salad, watermelon salad, or roasted butternut squash. Entree options include shrimp and grits, catfish and grits, or a bone-in pork chop.
OMG Seafood To-Go
As the name implies, this seafood restaurant with locations in Third Ward and Southwest Houston serves up boiled, fried, and sauteed seafood to-go. BRW options include a seafood dinner for two (six fish strips, 12 shrimp, two blue crab, and two sides, $29.99) and the Seafood Bayou Bag that comes with a half-pound of shrimp, a snow crab cluster, corn, potatoes, and two eggs ($24.99).
Rosalie and Main
Recently opened in Midtown, this restaurant adds Mexican touches to its Cajun-Creole menu, as in the Pasta Yakini that’s served with a tequila cream sauce. Other BRW specials include blackened drum, Cajun grilled lamb, and risotto jambalaya with shrimp, chicken, and sausage.
Taste of Nigeria
Featured in the Houston episode of Marcus Samuelsson’s PBS series No Passport Required, this restaurant in the Galleria area offers diners a range of West African specialities. Staples like jollof rice, savory pies, and beef suya provide a starting point for a meal, but the friendly staff will offer guidance to anyone who’s still learning about this cuisine.
Trez Art and Wine Bar
Not only does this restaurant near Washington Avenue serve an eclectic menu of globally-inspired dishes, its wall display works from local artists. Weekly specials include Tapas Tuesdays (a bottle of wine and two tapas for $25), Wine Down Wednesdays (pizza and a bottle of wine for $25), and Take Flight Thursdays (cheese board and wine flight for $25). At brunch, choose from options like jerk lamb chops, chicken and waffles, or avocado toast; pair them with a mimosa or sangria.