I know there’s a lot of difficult stuff going on in the world right now, so I’m going to tell you about something that I hope will inspire you and put a smile on your face. Monday, August 21 to Sunday, August 27 is Support Black Owned Restaurants Week here in Portland. The point of this restaurant week is pretty straightforward—support and eat at black owned businesses. And the restaurant week’s organizers have put together some excellent tools to help you decide where to find some seriously good eats in town.
But first a little background. Support Black Owned Restaurants Week is now in its third year and was originally started in 2015 by Bertha Pearl of SizeQueenClothing. The SF Bay Area’s 2014 Black Restaurant Day was her source of inspiration, and she decided she wanted to make something like that happen here, so she worked with a group of volunteers and established a two-day celebration of black owned restaurants in Portland. This year, it’s expanded to a whole week!
Tools For Food + Events
This directory is a helpful overview of the black owned businesses in Portland’s food scene. And despite the fact that the name of the event focuses on restaurants, it goes beyond that—along with numerous sit down restaurants, participants also include food carts and stands, dessert spots and coffee shops, lounges, bars, markets, and caterers.
There’s also a map version of the directory. As you can see, there are some businesses in nearby Washington, too.
There are also some specific events and themes during the week; here’s the schedule:
- Monday, August 21—BLACKOUT solar eclipse specials. So many mouthwatering options, you gotta check it out! That Eclipse Cupcake is callng my name…
- Tuesday, August 22—Theme: Caribbean foods
- Wednesday, August 23—Theme: East African dining
- Thursday, August 24—Theme: Soul Food & BBQ
- Friday, August 25 and Saturday, August 26—Live entertainment! Locations TBD
- Sunday August 27—Patio Party with food and music outside Dub’s St. Johns (9520 N Lombard St, Portland). 6-10pm.
Anticipating a World of Deliciousness
I can’t deny that I’m particularly happy about the access to a plethora of Ethiopian restaurants in this town. Living in Queens, you sort of expect there to be ALL the cultures in that extraordinarily diverse 2.3 million person population, but Ethiopian food was very hard to come by; you had to head to another borough to find it. It’s one of my favorite cuisines and I’m thrilled there are so many successful restaurants in Portland preparing this beautiful, nourishing food. I’m also unfamiliar with Somali cuisine, so the idea of getting to experience that food world is really exciting to me.
Other spots on my radar: 42nd Avenue Fish & Chips, The Big Elephant Kitchen (Fijian-Indian), Chez Dodo (Mauritian), Fat Cupcake (home to that eclipse cupcake), Hashi Halal Market, and the Caribbean Spice Market, which I’ve been eyeing for some time. The map and directory are fantastic resources and of course they can be used year-round. And if you know of a black owned restaurant, food cart, market, etc, be sure to let the restaurant week organizers know by filling out this form.
I hope you will be able to participate in Support Black Owned Restaurants Week this year. It’s a terrific opportunity to get to know local black owned businesses and support them in a way that benefits all involved. Be sure to use the hashtag #supportblackownedrestaurants in your social media posts so they can be aware of your support, too. Here’s to a week of good eating!