Memphis Black Restaurant Week is on for 2021. Here’s what you need to know. – Commercial Appeal

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The sixth annual Memphis Black Restaurant Week kicks off March 7.

This is a perfect week to try a new restaurant or revisit one you haven’t been to in awhile.

The list of restaurants is eclectic and diverse in menu offerings and parts of town. The common denominator is that they are all minority-owned establishments.

Cynthia Daniels, a Memphis event planner, founded Memphis Black Restaurant Week to “bring awareness around the hidden treasures in the Memphis community.” Her mission has evolved into a dining week that Memphians (and participating restaurants) look forward to each year.

“I wasn’t going to do it this year because of the challenges,” Daniels said. “But then I knew I had to make it happen.”

This year, as with most things, Memphis Black Restaurant Week will look a little different.

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The focus will be on takeout this year. Because many dining rooms are still closed due to the pandemic, Daniels is encouraging Memphians to place orders for pickup or use delivery services if dine-in is not an option.

Another thing missing will be the dining “deals” that normally come with the week’s promotions. “I didn’t want this week to be stressful for the restaurants,” Daniels said. “Instead I just wanted us all to be able to say, ‘We just want to support you.'”

Daniels also felt it was important to include more restaurants this year. Traditionally, the weeklong event features about a dozen restaurants. This year, 21 restaurants spread throughout the city will participate.

Downtown restaurants include Chef Tam’s Underground Café, Sage and Sugar Shack.

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Tamra Patterson, chef and owner of Chef Tam’s Underground Café, has participated every year since she opened her restaurant in 2017. “The first year I participated in Black Restaurant Week I did so sheepishly not really sure what I was getting into — in essence, I cut my teeth on Memphis Black Restaurant Week,” she said. “I continue to participate because it is the vital resuscitation businesses need following the cold dreary winter.”

Uncle Lou’s Fried Chicken, Smooth Living Health Food and Eggxactly Deli & Breakfast are a few of the Whitehaven restaurants taking part.

Eggxactly Breakfast & Deli owners Wendell and Adrena Jackson are excited to participate this year. “We are strong supporters of local restaurants. This is especially true this year as so many struggle to survive amidst the pandemic,” Adrena Jackson said. “Cynthia Daniels has created a family environment that creates success and excitement within the Memphis community.” 

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Farther east, restaurants like Bones & Yam in Cordova and Big Momma’s & Granny’s in Bartlett are on the list.

It will be the third year for Sage restaurant in Downtown Memphis to participate.

“It is great exposure for our industry,” said Sage owner Charles Nwankwo, adding that during Black Restaurant Week he always sees new customers coming from other parts of the city.

Memphis Black Restaurant Week 2021 runs March 7-13. A full list of participating restaurants is available at blackrestaurantweek.com. Check each participating restaurant’s social media for menus and hours.

Jennifer Chandler is the Food & Dining reporter at The Commercial Appeal. She can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @cookwjennifer.

At a glance

Memphis Black Restaurant Week

When: March 7-13

Where: 21 participating restaurants

Online: blackrestaurantweek.com

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