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Detroit Black Restaurant Week brings awareness to Black-owned eateries

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Detroit Black Restaurant Week returns for the fourth time and focuses on black-owned Metro Detroit restaurants.

Detroit Black Restaurant Week 2021 features two weeklong promotions.

The first starts on Friday and lasts until April 18th.

Kwaku Osei-Bonsu, co-owner of EastEats in the Jefferson Chalmers area, is the founder of Detroit Black Restaurant Week.

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“We have some amazing events that cover the vegan lifestyle, collectible items, special events, guest chef pop-ins, and more,” Osei-Bonsu said in a press release. He added that this year there is also a partnership with Pepsi that “will allow us to do some amazing things.”

There will be restaurant menus online; Curbside and contactless service; and COVID-19 guidelines are followed.

Baobab Fare owners Hamissi Mamba (right) and Nadia Nijimbere in their Detroit restaurant on April 4, 2021.

This year, more than 30 restaurants have signed up for Black Restaurant Week – three times the number since its first event in 2017.

“We’re promoting awareness and business towards restaurants during Black Restaurant Week,” said Osei-Bonsu. “The thought for 2021 is that we will hold two (events) to make up for the lack of one in 2020, one in spring and one in fall.”

In 2020, the event was suspended while Osei-Bonsu was busy opening EastEats, an outdoor venue that cooks in the nearby BlackCloud.Kitchen. The kitchen also serves as a place for chefs who do not have a stationary restaurant. EastEats made its debut last October to offer covid-friendly food. There, guests can create social distance in geodesic domes that are set up on platforms on a side plot.

Sweet Chili Wings with Parmesan Fries served at City Wings in Detroit on April 4, 2021.

Previous black restaurant weeks, like many others, offered special menus and discounts. While there are no specific Prix Fixe menu offerings, some restaurants have added different menu items. This year, Osei-Bonsu said there is no fee for joining restaurants.

“We want to give a boost at the beginning of the warm season so that the restaurants get back on track,” said Osei-Bonsu. “In the fall we will give another boost for the fall and winter seasons.”

As in the past, there will be both food trucks and caterers, said Osei-Bonsu.

“It’s a boost in awareness of what we’re hoping to turn into dollars for restaurants,” he said.

Registered restaurants include Baobob Fare, which recently opened in the New Center on Woodward Avenue and serves East African cuisine. City Wings, also in the New Center on West Grand Boulevard, participates in a variety of its chicken wing specialties.

Quiana Broden, owner of Cooking with Que at her restaurant on Woodward Ave in the New Center in Detroit on April 4, 2021.

There’s also Cooking with Que’s kitchen. The 42-year-old owner Quiana Broden opened the demonstration kitchen almost two years ago and shared the culinary space on Woodward in the New Center. The place is where “vegans and meat eaters could coexist,” according to the website. Broden’s goal is to teach about meals or give them a healthy twist and introduce more herbal options into daily meals.

“It’s a cool thing and you can support local businesses,” said Broden. “Here you can see the black-owned companies. We have a week to celebrate each other and our successes.”

A dish called The Works, a hamburger with an egg that will be unveiled during the upcoming Black Restaurant Week in The Kitchen by Cooking with Que on Woodward Ave at the New Center in Detroit on April 4, 2021.

Broden will offer discounts on cooking classes and menu specialties, she said. One item will be The Works, a hamburger with an egg.

Other restaurants include Max Hardy’s Coop in the Detroit Shipping Container and Jed’s Detroit, his pizza and wing company, which opened on the East Seven Mile in December. Outside Detroit, participating restaurants include Le Crepe in Royal Oak and Duo in Southfield.

EastEats also plays a key role in Black Restaurant Week with guest chef pop-ins and virtual cooking classes. The guest chefs pop-ins are with the chefs who cook from BlackCloud.Kitchen and are delivered to the EastEats Dining Club at 1018 Navahoe, Detroit. Guest chefs include Nik R. Cole and Chi Walker, who present specialties from fried chicken and caviar. Washington, DC, Juck at Nite, Denville “Dee” Myrie and Kadeem Todd bring Caribbean dishes to EastEats.

Two virtual cooking classes are broadcast by EastEats. The Imani Battle of Nourish Ramen will lead a class on Sunday between 6pm and 8pm. Another chef to be announced will present a class on April 18th between 6pm and 8pm.

Anyone can sign up for the free online virtual cooking classes. You can cook along with the demonstration if you wish. An ingredient list of the recipe to be demonstrated and instructions are available in advance.

“When you see the people behind these restaurants and the efforts that persist in a financial climate like this, a health climate like this, and society … and making it possible, there is a deeper connection,” said Osei-Bonsu.

Osei-Bonsu hopes to convey to people that this is not just an economic situation, but also how it affects people’s lives and what experiences people have.

Here are the restaurants participating in Detroit Black Restaurant Week:

  • Make baobab
  • Burger Grille Detroit
  • Central kitchen
  • City wing
  • COOP
  • Delphines Jamaicans
  • Detroit Pepper Company
  • Detroit Taco Bar
  • DUO restaurant and lounge
  • Durdens Catering
  • Floods
  • Golden Wingz
  • Good times on the ave.
  • Griot Music Lounge
  • Jamaican Pot (two locations)
  • Every Detroit
  • Kai’s loaded bakery
  • Kola restaurant and lounge
  • Le Crepe (Royal Oak)
  • Soul of Detroit Restaurant
  • Spud Headz
  • Sweet potato sensations
  • The block
  • Que’s kitchen
  • The pasta bowl
  • Vicki’s Grill
  • Yoshi Hibachi Grill
  • Yum Village
  • IVY cuisine and cocktail

Information about Detroit Black Restaurant Week can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/DetroitBlackRestaurantWeek

Contact Detroit Free Press food writer Susan Selasky for food and dining news at: 313-222-6872 or [email protected] Follow @SusanMariecooks on Twitter.

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