EatOkra, by Anthony, is a meaningful name (via Thrillist). He explained, “The name comes from the okra seed, which is cut in half. Okra was a seed that was imported during the slave trade. Originally we wanted the app to be simply called “Okra”, but that was taken. He added that they chose EatOkra because it is a food app. But how does he connect people to black-owned restaurants? According to an article by Protocol, the app highlights restaurants that are commonly missed by other foodservices and lists search categories that aren’t typically included, such as “Soul Food,” “Caribbean Cuisine.” and “African cuisine”. Additionally, when one of these restaurants works with a delivery service like Seamless or DoorDash, the app “explicitly directs users to” them.
By today, the app has grown by leaps and bounds, and in 2020 downloads have grown to over 300,000 from 40,000. This has helped the EatOkra brand get noticed. Additionally, the brand’s website says its database included more than 9,500 listings last year. Users can download the app or explore listings on the company’s website to find a black-owned restaurant in their city.
According to Today, Anthony and Janique now want to do more to support black-owned restaurants: They’ve started working on an “e-learning platform to provide business development resources, financial support and webinars” to help restaurants grow further.