The first-ever Chicago Black Restaurant Week, featuring African-American-owned restaurants in Chicago and the suburbs, is happening now through February 13. Unlike the fixed-price menus of Chicago Restaurant Week—which just wrapped up last Thursday, three days before CBRW began—this one offers discounted menu items at participating spots. The goal, according to the event’s website, is to introduce people to restaurants owned by African-Americans.
Founder Lauran Smith, a social media specialist, told the hosts of Windy City Live last week that she’s hoping to create more recognition for black-owned eateries. “I felt like we have so many wonderful and amazing eateries on the south side, south suburbs, [and] west side of Chicago that so many people don’t know about. I said, ‘I need to do something to represent them, I need to create something,'” she said during the segment.
There are currently 15 restaurants participating, with more being added daily. They include Bronzeville Jerk Shack, Truth Italian Restaurant, and Peach’s (all in Bronzeville) and Litehouse Wholefood Gril in Hyde Park. It’s a small percentage of the local eateries owned by African-Americans; last fall the website I Don’t Do Clubs, which does roundups of black-owned restaurants in bars in various cities, released a list of 50 in Chicago. And earlier in the year, Bean Soup Times listed 123 black-owned eateries in the Chicago area.