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Chicago Black Restaurant Week

Everything you need to know on Black Restaurant Week in Chicago.

Mar 03, 2024 Eat & Drink

Chef Erick Williams prepping ingredients at Virtue Restaurant.

Chicago Black Restaurant Week serves as a dynamic platform dedicated to celebrating and promoting the rich tapestry of Black culinary excellence within the city. This event is meticulously curated to highlight and uplift Black-owned and operated restaurants, chefs, and culinary businesses through discounts and other events to foster a sense of community and appreciation for their contributions to Chicago's vibrant food scene.

What is Chicago Black Restaurant Week?

Chicago Black Restaurant Week is an event that sees black-owned restaurants collaborating with each other to raise awareness for their businesses and create a broader customer base. Restaurants register for the event and then curate exciting food and beverage deals and specials that highlight what they do best. 

How did Chicago Black Restaurant Week Start?

Lauran Smith created the event back in 2015 as a way to elevate Black-owned businesses and provide a spotlight to show the world their contributions to the food scene in Chicago. It falls on the second week of February as a way to commemorate the legacy of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who created “Negro History Week” as a way to celebrate the achievements of the Black Community back in 1926.

A woman holding a hotdog in front of the Lexington Betty Smokehouse.
Lexington Betty Smokehouse

Importance and Influence of Chicago Black Restaurant Week

Many smaller Black-owned restaurants in Chicago don’t get the recognition and marketing they deserve. Chicago Black Restaurant week is important because it recognizes these owners and businesses and puts a spotlight on their contributions to the culinary make-up of the great food city of Chicago. It allows those who may not have known about these restaurants to discover them and become regulars. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Tips and Tricks for Making the Most of Chicago Restaurant Week

Plan Ahead:

Review Menus:

  • Take the time to review the menus offered by participating restaurants. Look for diverse options and select places that offer dishes you're excited to try.

Brunch vs. Lunch vs. Dinner:

  • Many places will offer different options throughout the day. Find out which meal they’re offering the best deals on so you get the best bang for your buck.  

Bring Friends:

  • Share the experience with friends and family. If you all fall in love with it, you’ve found a new place to enjoy together. 

Look for Deals Beyond Meals:

  • There could be deals for cocktails or other items besides food. Inquire about these offerings too! 

Follow Social Media:

  • Follow participating restaurants and @chiblackrestaurantweek on social media platforms for any last-minute deals, announcements, or special events during Black Restaurant Week.

Be Open to Surprises:

  • Some restaurants may offer off-menu specials or chef's creations during Restaurant Week. Be open to surprises and ask the server for recommendations.

Check Reviews:

  • Read reviews or ask for recommendations from friends who have visited the restaurants before making reservations. This can help you make informed decisions about where to dine.

Tip Generously:

  • The whole event is a great way to boost Black-owned businesses, make sure you help support them and their employees.

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