Updated: Nov 15
Frequenting Black-owned businesses is an avenue to provide direct support for marginalized business owners who face the same barriers in business that Black Americans face in daily life. As the pandemic exacerbates existing racial inequality and Black-owned businesses are disproportionally affected, our support becomes even more vital.
In this environment, concerted efforts that encourage us to frequent Black-owned businesses and build stronger connections between Black businesses and the community play an important role. Organizations like DMV Black Restaurant Week (DMVbrw) serve as reminders that despite how quickly our lives have shifted to accommodate this new normal, inequality should never be normalized.
As DMVbrw approaches, it offers an opportunity to further align spending with our values, celebrate and enjoy the contributions of Black-owned food and beverage businesses in DC, MD, and VA, and learn more about a central part of the broader region's food scene.
What is DMV Black Restaurant Week?
The third annual DMV Black Restaurant Week begins November 8, 2020. According to their mission statement, DMVbrw aims to "increase the awareness of black-owned restaurants and food service providers by creating an ecosystem to support and sustain the community." Similar to other restaurant week events, participating businesses in DC, MD, and VA, will offer special menus or discounts that customers can enjoy from November 8 through November 15, 2020. That same week, from November 10 through 14, 2020, DMVbrw is also hosting a virtual education conference focused on the power of collaboration during COVID-19. Sessions engage with topics from working with allies to event planning during COVID-19. Registration for the conference is free.
Recommendations For DMV Black Restaurant Week 2020
A variety of DMV businesses are participating in this year's DMV Black Restaurant Week including Black-owned restaurants, cafes, bars, and catering companies, as well as allied businesses. Find a full list of participating businesses on the DMVbrw site.
If you're not familiar with many of the listed restaurants, some of my favorite Black-owned eateries are participating. I offer them below as recommended starting points -- places where the food and service have always been top-notch on my prior visits. Note: pictured dishes are not from DMVbrw menus but from previous orders during the last six months.
All Set, Silver Spring, MD
All Set in Silver Spring serves great seafood and bbq on their regular menu. They also have outdoor seating. Plus, the DMVbrw menu includes three courses for $35!
Choose from the below:
Appetizers include Angus Steak Chili, Apple Walnut Salad, or Skillet Cornbread.
Entrees include Brick Chicken, Mushroom Risotto, Maryland Rockfish, or Maine Lobster Roll.
Desserts include Apple Crisp, Hot Fudge Cookie Sunday, or Sorbet Trio.
Chef Kenny Clay, pick up Friday, November 13th from Ivy City, DC
For his Friday pop-up out of Union Kitchen in Ivy City, Chef Kenny Clay has put together a great DMVbrw menu including a Maryland Crab Soup and Bread Pudding, in addition to his already fabulous offerings.
Pre-order online by Thursday at 6 pm.
Chef Kenny Clay is one of the numerous Black chefs and Black-owned restaurants offering Thanksgiving meals for the coming holiday. Be sure to check out the Thanksgiving menu as well!
The Shell Shack Seafood, Brentwood, MD
The Shell Shack serves intensely flavorful and creative Caribbean-infused seafood. Plus, they're a 20-minute drive from Capitol Hill so it's easy to pick up and make it back to DC while the food is still hot.
Snag their DMVbrw menu, which includes a Whiting Sandwich on Coco Bread, Corn Fritters, and a choice of Tropical Sips beverage (choice of Pound of Passion, Pineapple Ginger, Mango Mayhem, Ghost Lemonade, Guava Goodness, or Hibiscus Tea flavors) for $20.
The Shell Shack is also offering Thanksgiving meals for pre-order.
Fishscale, Shaw, DC
Fishscale serves fresh, delicious fish burgers and cheesesteaks featuring sustainable wild-sourced fish.
For DMVbrw, Fishscale is offering 15% off their incredible cheesesteak sandwiches -- these include the Blue Catfish Cheesesteak and a seasonal cheesesteak that uses rotating wild fish based on what's freshest. A la carte sides are also available.
In addition to the opportunity to try out some recommended favorites, DMVbrw offers a chance to visit previously unknown places. I view DMVbrw as a way to focus on experiencing new-to-me businesses rather than hunting down deals -- a common tactic during restaurant week events. I'll be ordering from Annie Mae's in Capitol Heights, MD, Della J's Delectables in Springfield, VA, and at least one other participating restaurant in DC during this upcoming DMVbrw. No matter how I find their offerings on that first try, a chance to refocus on supporting local Black-owned businesses is a privilege I plan to take advantage of.
Where Can I Find More Information On DMV Black Restaurant Week?
For more information check out DMV Black Restaurant Week on the web or follow along on Instagram. In addition, I'll be spotlighting and sharing about participating businesses on Instagram and Twitter.