The founder of Black Restaurant Week, Terri Henry, has sold the event to Qiana and Ian Mafnas of Axiom Kitchen Smoked Meats & BBQ.
The Mafnas’ barbecue pop-up has quickly grown in popularity and critical acclaim the last few years, and now they’re taking on responsibility of organizing Black Restaurant Week, which celebrates and promotes Black-owned restaurants in the city.
Generally, restaurant weeks offer customers special menus and deals to encourage patronage at restaurants during less profitable times of the year.
Henry announced she would sell the trademark application, graphics, website, logo, media contact lists and more related to the event on her nonprofit business’ Facebook page at the end of August. She also announced the sales of Cambodian Restaurant Week and Long Beach Burger Week, which Henry also founded.
The contract has yet to be drawn up so the sale will be finalized in a few weeks, but both Henry and Qiana Mafnas confirmed the agreed price for the sale would be $1.
“I want people to know this is a fresh start,” Qiana Mafnas said. “It may be with a concept that was previously conceived, but in new hands and hopefully going forward the focus can be that this is about Black restaurants and that’s it.”
Earlier this year, Henry, who is white, came under criticism for saying the n-word. She plans to work with Mafnas to ensure a smooth transition of the event before moving out of state.
“I’m not running from anything, I’ve been planning to move out of state after my mom’s passing,” Henry said. “[Black Restaurant Week] is a labor of love and I want to see it be successful.”
Mafnas has the third week of January in mind for the next Black Restaurant Week, but that date is tentative. January is historically one of the slowest months for restaurants.
The Mafnas family is in the early stages of planning, but ultimately the goal of the week will be getting more exposure for Black restaurants in our city because they are very underserved, Mafnas said.
“This is a huge opportunity,” Mafnas said. “I’m really excited for January because I have a lot of ideas.”