Black Restaurant Week returns with more eateries, more deals

Long Beach’s Black Restaurant Week returns for the second year beginning Sunday, with nearly double the number of food businesses participating.

Featuring more than 30 Black-owned culinary businesses, chefs and food products, the week (Jan. 22-29) will offer customers special discounts, food samples and speciality menu items at dine-in restaurants as well as at online food businesses listed on the event website.

While most of the week’s restaurant specials will be offered at participating locations, Tuesday and Thursday will be reserved as pop-up event days dedicated to solely showcasing catering services and small online food vendors who conduct their business out of their home, otherwise known as cottage businesses.

Customers will be able to walk around tables and purchase items at Tuesday’s pop-up outside Trademark Brewing (233 E. Anaheim St.) from 4:30 p.m. to close. Tuesday’s vendors include: Miller Butler, Smokin’ Crackers, Comfortwingz, KAT’s Gourmet Cookies, StrongBeach Lemonade, Filthy Rich Banana Pudding, Caketails, Loving Keiya’s Tacos, Chef Melissa Ramsay (Fresh Off the Yacht Catering) and Mimi’s Cotton Candy.

On Thursday, guests can expect an indoor and outdoor pop-up experience at The Cove Hotel (200 E. Willow St.) where they will be able to make purchases and sample products. Thursday’s vendors include: Axiom Kitchen BBQ, The Boujie Crab, Smokin’ Crackers, Comfortwingz, KAT’s Gourmet Cookies, StrongBeach Lemonade, Mr. Fries Man, Filthy Rich Banana Pudding, Caketails, Loving Keiya’s Tacos and Chef Melissa Ramsay (Fresh Off the Yacht Catering).

The event was founded and organized by Terri Henry through her nonprofit, Long Beach Food & Beverage, in order to expose people to different types of food as well as support the small food businesses in Long Beach that she says did not fare as well as corporate restaurants during the pandemic.

“I want people of all walks of life to enjoy the amazing food that Long Beach has to offer,” Henry said, “and in particular, support Black-owned businesses which were disproportionately affected due to so many of them being mom and pop businesses.”

Thrilled to be organizing a second Black Restaurant Week, Henry said 12 of the Black-owned businesses that participated in the event last year have returned this year.

With over 25 years of working in the food and restaurant marketing industry, Henry is using her experience to fuel small food businesses and “put butts in seats” at restaurants with the hope of encouraging unity through the partaking of Black Restaurant Week.

“I’ve traveled around the world, and it seems like when you’re sharing a meal with somebody from different cultures,” Henry said, “differences seem to melt away over food. I find that it’s a great unifier. So I hope people come out and support others while enjoying their food.”

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