Chicago Black Restaurant Week Kicks Off Featuring Black-Owned Restaurants, Bakeries and More During Black History Month 2022

CHICAGO (WLS) — It’s Black Restaurant Week in Chicago. The two-week event kicked off on Sunday, and we’re taking you all over town to see what these restaurants are up to.

From Bureau Bar in the South Loop to Surf’s Up in Oak Park to Luella’s Southern Kitchen in Lincoln Square, these business owners are excited to kick off Black Restaurant Week.

“We need everyone to come out and support us,” said Denise Roy of Surf’s Up.

RELATED: Black-Owned Businesses to Support Black History Month

“A lot of people don’t know that there are quite a few black restaurants in the city of Chicago. I’m still discovering new ones every day,” Bureau Bar manager Resse Wilson said.

Most participating restaurants are running specials over the next two weeks to try and attract customers.

“Especially as after the holiday season, January is slow, so that gives us something to look forward to,” said Darnell Reed, owner and chef of Luella’s Southern Kitchen. “There’s a lot of history that can be told through food. I think when people dine at restaurants like ours, they can go and see that.”

Lauran Smith first launched Chicago Black Restaurant Week in 2016, but says the pandemic has made the event bigger than ever.

“Restaurants are hurting enough, but a lot of restaurants in African American communities are hurting because some of them are so small, it’s like a mom and pop situation. So I’m just like let me highlight some of these businesses to just help generate revenue for them so they can sustain and continue to operate,” Smith said.

Many restaurants continue to face a variety of challenges, such as ongoing supply issues and rising cost of goods.

“Food prices, just like when you go to the grocery store, how high the prices are, they’re just as high for us in restaurants. So it’s hard to try to get it, and then every item is not available,” says Roy.

RELATED: The Return of Chicago Black Restaurant Week

“So you have to understand, OK, now I have to change my recipe because some foods you can’t get. Take-out containers have been very difficult for a while,” Reed added.

Many have said that all of this is a hindrance for the entire industry.

“The more challenges we encounter, the more creative we have to be to figure things out. Find a way to overcome that,” Reed said.

That’s why it’s so important to organize events like these to help them get back on their feet as they emerge from the pandemic.

“Why not try something different? You really never know what might be around the corner from your house,” Smith said.

“You know, we’re all in this together and we need your help,” Roy added.

The week will feature cafes, soul food and vegan food, among others; To see the list of participants, click here

Chicago Black Restaurant Week takes place February 6-20.

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