Black Restaurant Week, founded in 2016 by Warren Luckett, Falayn Ferrell and Derek Robinson, is a national campaign to bring recognition to Black-owned eateries. I first wrote about it that year when it kicked off in Houston with just a few participating restaurants. It’s since grown to include six regions, ranging from big cities like Los Angeles to whole chunks of the country, such as the Midwest. I was excited to learn that it’s debuting its Greater Washington DC promotion this Friday, September 18. To give diners a little more than a week, it runs for 10 days, until September 27.
Though most participating restaurants, bakeries and food trucks are in DC or Baltimore, NoVA diners have their fair share of options, too. In Arlington, both locations of Big Buns Damn Good Burgers are part of the fun, as is Big Buns Damn Good Burger Co. in Shirlington. In West Springfield, Austin Grill, a restaurant devoted to Austin-style Tex-Mex, will be serving from-scratch margaritas, enchiladas and homemade salsas. Two chicken specialists in Alexandria are taking part, too. The Rub Chicken & Beer is a pop-up inside Hen Quarter, a more casual cousin to the upstairs restaurant. Hen Quarter is also participating, with a full-service Southern experience complete with its famous fried chicken.
For those willing and able to venture to a number of businesses during Black Restaurant Week, there’s Black Restaurant Week Bingo, a card which has categories like “African meal” and “vegan meal” for diners to check off. Those who fill in a full row by saving their receipts and submit them to My Black Receipt will be entered for a chance to win gift cards and other culinary prizes. I’ve watched Black Restaurant Week grow. This is only the beginning for our region, but diners craving special menus at Black-owned food businesses have a great chance to get in on the ground floor, right here in NoVA.