Eat local for KC’s 2021 Black Restaurant Week

Blue Nile Cafe is one of the participating restaurants in KC's Black Restaurant Week 2021//Photo from Black Restaurant Week

Black Restaurant Week’s second annual run in Kansas City began last Friday, but there’s still a full week left to support your favorite Black-owned spots. More than seventy restaurants in both Missouri and Kansas are participating this year.

The campaign highlights local Black-owned restaurants, food trucks, chefs and caterers and aims to drum up community support.

“Most black-owned businesses, no matter the industry, don’t have the marketing budget to promote themselves properly and locally,” says Alycia Hightower, Black Restaurant Week’s national food and beverage manager.

Hightower hopes the campaign gives the participants a platform and a financial boost to invest back into their businesses.

Black Restaurant Week is a bigger call to action during the pandemic as many restaurants received little federal relief, Hightower says. Forty-one percent of Black-owned businesses closed in Spring 2020 compared to seventeen percent of white businesses, according to a study from University of California, Santa Cruz.

But Hightower has also seen new businesses pop up, such as KC Mac N’ Co. and Wing Studio KC. “[Because of the pandemic] now they have the opportunity to focus on things they’ve been putting off for so long, and now they’re thriving,” Hightower says. “But they still need our support.”

The campaign offers a bingo card of multiple restaurant types to encourage people to try new foods. Completed cards can be submitted for a chance to win $500. Black Restaurant Week is also holding a nationwide cocktail competition in which you can vote for the best Black bartender. Kansas City native Tamara Mcconnell is a finalist

The campaign began in Houston in 2016 and has since expanded to fifteen markets in the nation. The Midwest campaign, which includes Kansas City, St. Louis and Chicago, runs July 23 through August 1.

A full list of every participating eatery is available on a website directory.

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