New website helps diners find Black-owned restaurants

With the popularity and general necessity of food, one might wonder, why there aren’t many more Black-owned restaurants. (photo courtesy of <iStockPhoto/NNPA)

More than 2,000 Black-owned eateries are featured on the new Internet-based restaurant locator <eatblackowned.com>, which launched June 21 intending to support Black-owned restaurants.

“There’s only one thing that everyone in this world has in common: we all love great tasting food,” creator Edward L. Dillard said. “We have soul food, vegan, BBQ, Caribbean, seafood and more listed on the site.

“I believe that if people have a place where they can find all the minority-owned restaurants in this country, more of us will start to support these small businesses. Ninety-three cents of every dollar spent by Black consumers produces no economic benefit for the Black community, as the dollar only circulates in the community for six hours.”

A professional truck driver for a company out of New Jersey, Dillard has been on the road for 15 years, and travels across the country four or five days of the week.

“I didn’t like the direction of the country,” he said in a recent phone interview.

“I wanted to do more to support Black-owned businesses, but I was always gone. I don’t spend money on clothes, accessories or shoes. The majority of my money was going to food. I decided to spend it in different restaurants.”

He noted that the Internet was of little help. “The problem was only the major cities and only real popular restaurants would come up in my search. The really small ones wouldn’t come up.”

There already are some existing websites promoting Black-owned businesses in general, but they don’t have a lot of restaurant listings.
But Dillard was inspired.

“I had a vision in mind but didn’t have the experience in designing a website,” he said. “Luckily, there’s Google and You Tube. They pretty much teach you everything. I realized there was a small chance that I might be able to make this happen.”

Dillard spent nearly five months conducting research for his project, collecting the names and addresses of more than 2,000 restaurants in the U.S. Then, he completed the website design.

“It took me a long time to design a website,” Dillard said. “What surprised me is that I got the job done.”

Working as a one-man show, Dillard then collected the restaurant pictures and website links to complete the project for launch. So far, the site includes 94 restaurants in New York, but only 35 within a 25-mile radius of downtown LA.

“African Americans make up only eight percent of restaurant owners and managers in the U.S.,” said Warren Luckett, co-founder of BRW in a recent Forbes feature. “Our mission is to provide a platform that calls for inclusion in the industry and exposes and elevates black-owned businesses. Visit for a list of participating BRW restaurants.”

With the popularity and general necessity of food, one might wonder, why there aren’t many more Black-owned restaurants?

“Access to capital,” said Veronica Hendrix, who participated in a panel discussion on food at a recent LA chapter meeting of the National Association of Black Journalists, “takes a lot to start a restaurant, in terms of finding a location; working with the leasing company agreement; and overhead costs.

“I think that’s why so many of them are choosing alternative ways of creating a presence in the community. Food trucks, pop ups, becoming personal chefs, cooking for small groups—just looking for alternative ways of raising capital.”

“I hope this website will get more people to support Black-owned businesses,“ Dillard said. “There’s a huge racial wealth gap in this country. We need to do everything we can to build ourselves up.

Hopefully, someone will find a new eatery they never tried and go get some great tasting food.”

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