A Message to Essence Visitors – No Black-Owned Restaurants Yet Again

New Orleans Restaurant Week should be a celebration of the city’s vibrant culinary scene. It aims to motivate locals to patronize local eateries during the slow season. It also introduces people to new dining spots they might not have heard of. However, for the third year in a row, New Orleans Restaurant Week has failed to include any black-owned restaurants. This exclusion is not only baffling but also downright disrespectful.

The Purpose of Restaurant Week

Restaurant Week is designed to boost business during slower times. It offers fixed-price menus to attract diners to try new places. It’s an opportunity to explore the rich diversity of New Orleans’ culinary offerings. Unfortunately, this year’s list, like the previous two years, completely omits black-owned restaurants. This glaring oversight undermines the event’s purpose and highlights a troubling pattern of exclusion.

The Exclusion of Black-Owned Restaurants

New Orleans is home to dozens of fantastic black-owned restaurants. These establishments serve a variety of cuisines that reflect the city’s rich cultural heritage. Yet, they remain absent from Restaurant Week. This is not due to a lack of quality. Black-owned restaurants in New Orleans consistently receive high praise for their food and service. In fact, Dakar won the James Beard award for best new restaurant in the country.  They all deserve the same respect and recognition as other restaurants.

A Call for Boycott

The appropriate response to this repeated slight is clear: boycott all restaurants participating in New Orleans Restaurant Week. Black people should not support businesses that do not support them. The exclusion of black-owned restaurants is a form of disrespect economic exclusion that negatively impacts the city. In fact, with the constant exclusion of Black owned restaurants, New Orleans Restaurant Week serves as an economic tool that amplifies the the racial wealth gap in the city.

This boycott should extend to Essence Festival visitors as well. They should spend their money at black-owned establishments that truly represent the spirit of New Orleans.

Black Owned Spice Company Available in Stores

Supporting Black-Owned Restaurants

Instead of spending money at restaurants that ignore black patrons – as many reduce hours during Essence Fest, we should support those that do. Here are some of the best black-owned restaurants in New Orleans:

  1. Dooky Chase’s Restaurant: A historic institution known for its Creole cuisine and civil rights history. Visit for delicious food and a sense of history.
  2. Dakar: This restaurant was named best restaurant by James Beard.  The restaurant offers the cuisines of the two coastal cities from which it takes its name.  Dakar NOLA highlights seafood from local waters and produce from farmers here in South Louisiana.
  3. Compère Lapin: Chef Nina Compton blends Caribbean and New Orleans flavors, creating a unique and unforgettable dining experience.
  4. Queen Trini Lisa: This spot offers authentic Trinidadian food, bringing a Caribbean flair to New Orleans.
  5. Lil Dizzy’s Café: A family-owned gem serving classic New Orleans dishes. Their gumbo and fried chicken are especially popular.
  6. 14 Parishes: This restaurant offers delicious Jamaican cuisine. It’s a great place to enjoy jerk chicken and other island favorites.
  7. Morrow’s: Known for its casual yet chic atmosphere and delicious food, Morrow’s is a favorite for both brunch and dinner.
  8. The Munch Factory A beloved spot for inspirational Creole dishes. Their Buffalo shrimp or oysters and fried pork ribs are standout options.
  9. Neyow’s Creole Café: This restaurant serves classic Creole dishes with a modern twist. Their charbroiled oysters are a must-try.
  10. 8 Fresh Food Assasin: This spot offers deep fried hen and great lamb chops. It’s perfect for a tasty and filling meal.

Say It Loud

The exclusion of black-owned restaurants from New Orleans Restaurant Week is inexcusable. It’s time for a change. Black-owned restaurants deserve the same recognition and support as their counterparts. By boycotting the participating restaurants and supporting black-owned businesses, we can send a clear message. New Orleans’ culinary scene should reflect its rich, diverse culture.

Related: New Orleans Top 5 Best Black Owned Restaurants 2022 List

Essence Festival visitors, make your dining choices count. Spend your money where it matters. Support black-owned restaurants that embody the true spirit of New Orleans. This isn’t just about food. It’s about respect, inclusion, and justice. Let’s make our voices heard through our choices.

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