Ruthie Hawkins, BlackDoctor.org Contributor
It’s going down in Chitown!
On the heels of African American communities across the nation taking part in #BankingBlack, Chicago follows up with Black Chicago Eats Week (BCEW), asking the community to put their money where their mouth is. In recognition of Black Business Month and to celebrate the official launch of www.BlackChicagoEats.com, the event running from July 29 – August 12 provides local foodies and tourists the chance to explore the Windy City’s rich, culinary diversity.
Organized by Toure Muhammed, veteran journalist and publisher of the independent newspaper Bean Soup Times, Black Chicago Eats Week was born out of challenge given to him last summer. “I’ve always been an advocate for patronizing Black owned businesses and I was challenged to produce a list of Black owned restaurants by two readers of my other website, BeanSoupTimes.com,” Muhammed tells BlackDoctor.org.
The initial list created a lot of buzz. To many Chicagoans’ surprise, the list featured a whopping 95 Black-owned places to eat. Even more shocking to Muhammed was the amount of messages he received from eateries upset they had been excluded from the list. According to Muhammad, that interest was enough to keep it going.
With the launch of Black Chicago Eats Week, the community happening is shining a light on the importance of buying, giving and loving the Black community.
- Simply visit the blackchicagoeats.com/directory for participating restaurants.
- Choose a restaurant or two to explore.
- Get social. Post a pic via Instagram with the hashtag #BlackChicagoEats and/or #EverybodyEats.
So far, organizing and media partners including Afrika Enterprises, Real Men Cook, Bean Soup Times, The Black Mall and the BRIJ Embassy as well as several Chicago area shakers and movers have organized pop up “money mobs” supporting Black-owned restaurants, like Mad Tacos located 306 E. 75th Street and at Salaam Restaurant located 706 E. 79th St.
On a health kick? No biggie! There are several restaurants offering “healthier options.” One is Turkey Chop Gourmet Grill, which serves no pork or beef. Muhammed highlights this Humboldt Park eatery not only because of its great food, but also for its bigger service to the community.
Turkey Chop owner, Quentin Love, recently made news after donating half of his $36,000 Food Network winnings to help feed Chicago’s hungry. Each week, Turkey Chop (located at 3506 W. Chicago Ave.) provides free meals to those in need from 1pm to 3pm. In fact, August 1 marked their 75,000 free meal served. Now that’s how you pay it forward!
Up next, Muhammad tells us he is “considering ways to expand beyond Chicago as well.” Here’s to hoping Atlanta, the Big Apple and the City of Angels make that list in the near future.
In the meantime, don’t forget to check out Black Chicago Eats on social media: