Restaurants prepare to boost sales during Black Restaurant Week


Black restaurant owners across the Bay Area and nationwide are gearing up for Black Restaurant Week, which begins Friday and lasts until May 22.

The celebration is designed to help black restaurateurs earn a living by promoting their craft.

In Alameda County, Kingston 11 Kitchen in Oakland, Karibu Wine Lounge by Wachira in Alameda, Cali Alley in Berkeley, Home of Chicken and Waffles in Oakland, Kimmie’s Kitchen in Oakland, and Nell’s House in Oakland, among others, are participating.

Participating San Francisco restaurants include Boug Cali, a West Coast Creole shack, El Nuevo Fruitlandia, serving Puerto Rican and Cuban food, and Terenga, African cuisine, among others.


“We’re super excited,” said Black Restaurant Week co-founder Derek Robinson, who along with Warren Luckett and Falayn Ferrell launched Black Restaurant Week in 2015 in Houston.

Following their success there, they expanded to two weeks and began serving restaurants in Atlanta and the Bay Area. This year they are helping black businesses in 15 locations.

Black Restaurant Week also includes support for other food businesses, such as food trucks and caterers. It also supports bartenders.

Last year, 1,200 black-owned businesses received support at the celebration, which boosted sales by an average of 15%.

“We are seeing an increase in business,” said Kingston 11 chef and owner Nigel Jones, who is participating for the third year.

Jones said traffic was growing and people of all races and ethnicities visited his Jamaican-focused restaurant, influenced by cultures from around the world, including France and Latin America.

“We have everyone in there,” he said, including Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and Governor Gavin Newsom. Kingston 11 has been in operation since 2013.

Jones said it was important to him to support Black Restaurant Week and gain support as well. During segregation in the United States, black business owners only did business with black people.

An extra level of attention is needed in some areas, and this is one of them, Jones said.

November through February is typically the slowest time for restaurants, he said. That’s why cities typically hold food-service weeks during this time, he said.

“A little extra support helps,” Jones said.

Manna Tkie, co-owner of Southern Italian restaurant Marzano in Oakland, said Black Restaurant Week has been great for her business.

Marzano is a neighborhood business, and unfortunately that means few people outside the neighborhood knew about us. That changed when they took part in Black Restaurant Week.

“It really put us on the map,” Tkie said.

Now people come from places as far away as Sacramento and Fresno to eat at Marzano.

“We couldn’t have done it without this exposure,” Tkie said.

She and co-owner Robert Holt are participating for the third year. The first year they participated was in 2020, at the start of the pandemic.

Tkie said sales were up 20-25% thanks to Black Restaurant Week.

Companies can still register to participate. Visit https://blackrestaurantweeks.com/.

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Copyright © 2022 by Bay City News, Inc. Republication, redistribution, or other reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

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