25 Aug The 15 Black Owned Restaurants to Try This Summer Season
Summer is here and we are outside. Whether that means going out, hitting the beach, firing up the barbeques, or gathering together. Music festivals focusing on Black culture are everywhere, featuring jazz, blues, and hip-hop. Black film festivals also feature some compelling storytelling. The last of the block parties are a great way to close out this hot, hot summer. This is the season that brings out some of our favorite foods, and where better to patronize than some of America’s finest Black-owned eateries?
The rich gastronomical traditions Black culture has gifted to the nation come out in full force as we wave goodbye to summer and look forward to labor day. Let’s face it: Creole cuisine, American Soul Food, Caribbean dishes, and adopted African favorites are forever a part of the American culinary experience.
So let’s take a bite out of the best Black-owned eateries in the United States while the weather cools down. Here are fifteen of the best Black owned restaurants for you to try while we wrap up summer and head into fall!
Best Outdoor Experience: KAMP (Houston, TX)
We’re kicking things off with this excellent spot for chillin’ outside. KAMP is known as a brunch spot, but every day of the week, the menu kills it. And the outdoor space is like being in an awesome living room under the sky from the fire pit in the center to the huge TVs playing sports. As for the food, it’s everything from Creole to Soul Food to BBQ: fried chicken salad, smoked ribs and sausage, and grilled jerk shrimp roles. House cocktails rock here, too; you gotta try their Henny-Thing-4-You. Fun under the sun is the bane of the game at KAMP.
Best Seafood and Upscale Rooftop: Michael’s Restaurant (Birmingham, AL)
Michael’s Restaurant’s proprietress, Dr. Bernadine Birdsong, is a legend in the Birmingham area. For years, she ran a famous local wellness center, and now she has brought that customer service focus to this stunning Alabama institution. And what a way to be served, with upscale elegance on a rooftop overseeing the city skyline. Start with a refreshing summery strawberry salad, then follow it up with the Salmon Rockefeller or a Delmonico rib cut.
Best Chic Rooftop: Oeste Bar & Kitchen (Oakland, CA)
Over in California’s Bay Area, another kind of rooftop experience awaits. Enter this atmosphere lined with succulent plants. Latino-infused Southern fusion dishes are served along with next-level cocktails, with a perfect view spot for sunsets. Oakland’s Oeste Bar & Kitchen is run by three passionate Black ladies offering tasty treats like red beans and rice with smoked turkey and cheesy shrimp & grits.
Rooftop eateries are all the rage these days, and during the summer, diners flock to these places. But it’s tough to beat the experience at Washington, D.C.’s The Delegate. Their New American cuisine and craft cocktails are second to none. Located in the Downtown Marriot Residence Inn, you can see the city skyline down to the Capitol Dome. Menu items include fired lobster tail, blackened salmon, catfish and grits, and chocolate peanut butter pie.
Best Patio and Brunch Vibe: Bar 5015 (Houston, TX)
Brunch time is the best time, especially in the summer! Enjoying that special Sunday meal in a patio vibe makes all that gorging and booze-soaking that much better. Bar 5015 does that scene right. Hit their backyard space and quench your thirst with their mega Mimosas teeming with orange wedges. Whether you’re in the mood for the crab cake bowl with poached eggs or the delicate brioche French toast, you will leave with a happy tummy!
Best American Fare & Rooftop: The Woodlawn (Chicago, IL)
The Woodlawn is a proud community space in Chicago’s historic Avon Park that serves as a gathering place for all sorts of cultures. There are popup restaurant facilities, a podcasting studio, an educational space, and much more. Inspiring murals and artwork representing the Black experience grace the walls. The rooftop restaurant space offers up savory favorites like jerk chicken flatbread. Come for the food, hang out for the vibe and good people you’ll meet.
Best Caribbean Patio Vibes: Ms. Icey's Kitchen & Bar (Atlanta, GA)
Hot island atmosphere, cool outdoor vibes – sounds good already, right? Miss Icey’s Kitchen & Bar in Atlanta’s North Decatur neighborhood delivers those goods. If you’re in a savory mood, dig into their Grandma’s oxtails topped with caramelized carrots. But the real deal here is the homemade cornbread served up in its own pan, topped with bourbon brown sugar butter and blueberry jam. Between the décor and authentic Caribbean spices filling the air, this is the getaway eatery you need right now!
Best Tavern: Rustik Tavern (Brooklyn, NY)
Brooklyn’s Rustik Tavern is one of those “everybody knows your name” places. Cozy and welcoming, this Bed-Stuy standby is hyper-focused on hospitality and staying engaged with community artists and charities. The artsy, inclusive good vibes find their way to original creations like the shrimp avocado tostones and the Spencer steak and eggs. Rotating beer drafts and solid cocktail offerings round out the tavern feel, so be sure to come and stay a while!
Best Self-Serve Wine Bar: Serenity (Baltimore, MD)
Enjoying fine wine over at Baltimore’s Serenity wine bar is a local rite of summer. This is a self-serve spot where you get a card, then wander to the wine dispensers for a pour. With its café vibe, you may almost forget there’s a full menu – but don’t! Friendly table service is available; you only have to get the wine yourself! Give their crab pretzels a try or hit up on the BBQ chicken pizza. And if you need a little food for the soul, check out the open mic poetry nights.
Best Live Music: Dukunoo (Miami, FL)
Funkifying your feast with a little music can make for an unforgettable experience. Dukunoo adds the spice of live music to its amazing food like nobody else. This Jamaican kitchen South Florida mainstay serves up plates of Rastaman pasta and yard-style fried chicken that will take you back to Kingston. And the house DJ keeps the Reggae, Soca, Dance Hall and Hip-Hop bumpin’ while you eat. It’s a feast for the ears as much as for the mouth!
Best for Games & Activities: Pin & Proper (Atlanta, GA)
When it comes to fun and games to pair with your food and drink, Pin & Proper in Atlanta ain’t playin’ around! Once you’ve chewed your way through their epic burgers, chicken and waffles, and Greek gyro nachos, it’s time for some amusements. Try out their “Pinfall” game which is bowling only using a football to knock pins down! There’s also giant Janga, Connect Four, and more. Libations include cocktails with evocative names like The Queen and Big Poppa. Something for everyone in every which way!
Best Frozen Drinks: KC Daiquiri Shop (Kansas City, MO)
Brain freeze is one of those things that tells you summer is definitely here! And there’s no better way to make it happen than with one of KC Daiquiri Shop’s delectable frozen drinks. Think Kansas City cool when you face their kaleidoscope of colorful slushy boozy offerings. As for the food? Cajun/Creole all the way. Fill up on Po’ Boys, chicken gumbo, and of course, fried okra. Festive and fun, this is one of those places that’ll make adults feel like kids again, and that kind of rejuvenation is what summer’s all about, right?
Best Live Music & Renovated Patio: Pips on La Brea (Los Angeles, CA)
Los Angeles always has to be the top dog when it comes to all things entertainment. And so it is when it comes to live music in eateries. Jazz lovers have been flocking to Pips on La Brea for over a decade now. The renovated patio makes for the perfect summer stage for groovin’ to live jazz with your grub. The made-to-order pizzas are a local favorite, or you can get all fancy with some linguini pescatore. Music venue vet Derrick Pipkin brings the noise while Chef Luis keeps things delicious.
Best Sweet Shop: Braud's Funnel Cake Café (Las Vegas, NV)
As if there wasn’t enough temptation in Las Vegas, here comes Braud’s Funnel Cake Café to reel in your sweet tooth! Think of this as a sort of crepe shop with all the varieties you can imagine, only with funnel cakes and everything else dessert. Although there are toppings like bacon and chicken fingers available alongside all that whipped cream! Jump between the Billion Dollar Banana and the Red, White, and Blueberry selections. Enjoy but don’t tell your dentist what you did here!
Best Wings and Things: D’Bos (Memphis, TN)
Ready to set your mouth on fire? Then take a road trip down to Memphis and chow down on D’Bos’ famous hot wings. These folks dreamed up their three-alarm special Buffalo wing sauce way back in 1988, and the Home of the Blues has never been the same. You can go boneless or not, and party packs are available. Burgers and seafood are also on the menu, with all shrimp served up New Orleans style (garlic butter). Leave the diet at home, this place is too delicious not to indulge!