A culinary celebration highlighting African, African-American and Caribbean cuisine and culture is returning to Philadelphia next month.
The organizers of Black Restaurant Week will bring the eight-city celebration to Philly June 9-23. BRW was founded in 2016 in Houston by Warren Luckett, Falayn Ferrell and Derek Robinson to increase support for Black culinary professionals.
“Our really big goal is just to bring awareness and growth to the Black culinary industry,” Ferrell said during a media preview event held at Drexel University’s American Bistro.
“It’s really just a great avenue to really highlight local businesses and that’s really what we’re all about.
During the second annual Philly Black Restaurant Week, participating restaurants are offering casual and fine dining prix fixe menus.
The lineup features places such as Bistro 870, Booker’s Restaurant and Bar, Haute, Rose Petals Cafe & Lounge, 48th Street Grille, Tasties and Star Fusion.
Carl Lewis Sr. welcomed droves of customers to his restaurant 48th Street Grille in West Philadelphia, when he participated in last year’s celebration.
“It was just jammed,” recalled Lewis, who specializes in Jamaican cuisine.
He’s hopeful that a large crowd will turn out again for the second annual BRW to see what he has to offer. His menu features items such as blackened catfish, brown stew chicken, curry chicken and jerk chicken. Lewis is looking forward to interacting with customers.
“The customer always sets the standard,” Lewis said.
“I set the quality. My menu continues to evolve based on customer feedback. It’s all about customer service. I touch every table in my restaurant. I don’t care how busy I am, even if I can just pop out to say hi.”
The culinary celebration also features Aroma — a panel discussion held June 11 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Dorrance H. Hamilton Center for Culinary Enterprises, 310 S. 48th St. A panel industry leaders will focus on culinary product placement and distribution.
Chef Elijah Milligan is slated to host a pop-up dinner featuring a four-course CBD oil-infused meal and cocktail pairing. He is the founder of Cooking for the Culture, a platform for Philly’s Black chefs.
“I just think that it’s really important to see that there are a lot of Black chefs and professionals out there,” Milligan said as he reflected on the importance of BRW.
“There are a good amount of Black restaurant owners as well. We don’t feel like the media attention is really that fair across the board, so I’m all about the push of trying to expand that.”
BRW calls attention to minority inequality in the food and beverage industry and helps farmers of color sustain their lands and combat food scarcity across the nation.
Ferrell says the campaign’s impact goes beyond a two week time frame.
“We always tell people that this isn’t just about two weeks,” she stated.
“It’s about the investments in the businesses and what opportunities that we can bring their way throughout the year.”
Organizers of BRW donate a portion of proceeds from restaurant showcase registration fees to its national nonprofit partner Family Resource Management Services (F.A.R.M.S.) BRW partnered with F.A.R.M.S. to play a role in helping to provide African American farmers financial support which has led to legal assistance for farmers and more than 5,000 pounds of produce donated to help feed communities in need.
BRW occurs in Houston, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Oakland and Dallas.
For information about participating restaurants and events visit https://phillybrw.com/