“There’s a lot of magic.” 8th annual Black Restaurant Week set for August 13-20

A barbecue offering from a previous Black Restaurant Week.

A whole week of good food and community building is coming back as Black Restaurant Week is set to return mid-August.

Organized by the Madison Black Chamber of Commerce (MBCC), Black Restaurant Week is coming back for its eighth year. A weeklong, city-wide event, Black Restaurant Week will feature over 20 participating restaurateurs to promote local Black owned businesses. Food options range from Jamaican, African, vegan, soul food and many more options.

“There’s a lot of magic that happens around Restaurant Week,” said MBCC CEO Camille Carter. “It is really an opportunity for the community to understand throughout Madison in the Dane County region that we have very capable hard-working restaurants and food carts and caterers and purveyors, farm farms that are available to provide services for our community,”

The mission of MBCC’s Black Restaurant Week is to uplift local, Black-owned businesses by connecting them with each other and the Madison community — one of the cornerstones of the organization’s broader mission. Black Restaurant Week in Madison is the first in the nation to do this type of celebration. Many cities have followed Madison’s lead, but MBCC prides itself on being the first to help uplift Black owned restaurants like this.

“We are not competing with Chicago or DC but we’re right up there with them,” said Carter.

The exposure and the increase in sales hold a lot of importance for the restaurants throughout the week. The hope is that it will translate to new customers and year-round business with them as Madisonians discover new restaurants to try out. 

For House of Flavas, it’s an opportunity to get its name and food out there in its second year in business.

“It gets the word out to a lot of people that don’t know about us and that’s what I hear throughout the year like, ‘Oh, I didn’t know you guys were here,’” said Jodie Jefferson, owner of House of Flavas. “So Black Restaurant Week is important because it seems like it’s bigger than last year… it’s gonna get more exposure because I had a lot of customers who became family after the last one.”

Jodie Jefferson of House of Flavas catered the Black Restaurant Week kickoff event yesterday. Photo by Omar Waheed.

Jefferson started the restaurant two years ago after leaving her job. She found her passion cooking and started a restaurant where her children help out.

Participating restaurants throughout the week have plans for potential special events, pop ups, in-restaurant specials and online offers. There are currently four firmly planned events throughout Black Restaurant Week.

The first event, and the one to kick everything off, will be the Soul Food Brunch hosted by the Artists Collective. The event will be the fifth Soul Food Brunch hosted by the group where food and drinks will be served at a variety of prices. The brunch will be held at Robinia Courtyard, 829 E Washington Ave., from 2:00-8:00 pm on Aug. 13.

The MBCC will be hosting additional events at multiple locations throughout the city with varying hours the entire week. Events can be found MBCC’s Facebook page.

On Aug. 18, the MBCC will host another one of its Mix and Mingle Networking Events as a restaurant edition. The event is made to connect businesses with other businesses and community members away from the formal store front setting. The event will be held at Olin Park, 1156 Olin-Turville Ct, from 5:00-8:00 pm.

The crowning event, and new this year, will be the Food Taste Jamboree hosted by the MBCC. For just $5, attendees can sample as much as they can from participating restaurants. The jamboree will be held at FEED Kitchen, 1219 N Sherman Ave., on Madison’s North Side from 2:00-5:00 pm on Aug. 20.

A full list of vendors will be posted on MBCC’s website soon as the list is still being finalized.

Black Restaurant Week will take place from Aug 13-20.