George Floyd is just the latest reminder that police brutality continues to plague the black community in America. The threat has not disappeared, nor has it been seriously addressed. Whether you agreed or disagreed with the protests across the country, one can only hope that they inspired us to have the necessary conversations to help us take action and grow as a nation. As we step away from normalcy, it’s crucial to remain focused on supporting the black community politically, emotionally, and financially. If for no other reason, but to celebrate their lives by showing gratitude to the people who have contributed a great deal to American culture, including our cuisine.
Here are a few black-owned restaurants in Brooklyn we believe you’ll enjoy. As Biggie once said, “spread love, it’s the Brooklyn way.”
Hasson and Fanerra Dupree are the owners and chefs of Black Nile Seafood & Soulfood. Located in Crown Heights, the couple prides itself on serving unique Southern-style dishes with Halal meat and poultry. Their signature seasonings and sauces are prepared with fresh herbs to deliver tantalizing flavors that transform side dishes, like their Coconut Yams and Seafood Mac & Cheese, into main attractions in their own right.
Former fashion industry veteran and Brooklyn native, Latisha Daring is upholding family tradition with her plant-based take out spots in Crown Heights and Bed-Stuy. Belonging to a long line of chefs, Daring now offers healthy options inspired by African, Caribbean, and Southern delicacies. You can’t go wrong with their Oyster Mushroom Po’ Boy, a buttery fried mushroom dish with red cabbage and carrot slaw, chipotle red onions, and jalapeños. During the pandemic, they have been consistently sending meals to seniors and frontline workers in the community, as well.
This fast-casual eatery lets you “experience lobster rolls the Brooklyn way.” CEO and founder Rodney Bonds made noise in the fall of 2019 when he unveiled the Golden Lobster Roll. For $100, you could experience eating a lobster wrapped in 24 karats of edible gold. For much less, you can customize the Brownsville Roll with two choices of either jerk sauce, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, signature BK sauce, or Italian dressing.
A few years ago, Malissa Browne brought Negril BK, a Caribbean-inspired restaurant, to 5th Avenue in Park Slope. Negril BK brings authentic island flavors to your taste buds with a penchant for innovative Caribbean cuisines and rum cocktails. Known for traditional Braised Oxtail and Jerk Salmon dishes, you can now order direct with their own Negril BK app.
Co-owner Liyuw Ayalew helped open Bunna Cafe intending to celebrate a couple of treasures Ethiopia has to offer: coffee and food! What began as a few pop up coffee events grew into a relaxed destination for Ethiopian plant-based cuisine in Bushwick. Beyaynetus are their specialty, known as The Feast on Bunna’s menu, a combination of several dishes on injera, a flatbread traditionally used as your utensil. By the end of the meal, you’ll be craving for more berbere.
Mornings in Bed-Stuy can start with a Matcha Sunrise at Brown Butter Craft Bar & Kitchen. The orange juice infused Japanese green tea is one of many specialty drinks found on the menu. Owner Myriam Nicolas didn’t just want a “run-of-the-mill coffee shop” for the neighborhood, so after her successful cupcake shop Brooklyn Baby Cakes, she wanted to offer a cafe with a healthy spin. Avocado toast anyone?
Brooklyn’s only French Fry specialty shop sits on Fulton Street. Owner Forrest Greene, a Howard graduate, keeps it simple for patrons who love fries. With a three-step build-your-own option, you can choose your potato base, seasonings, and veggie and meat add-ons to your order. Their menu offers noteworthy combos with an ode to pop culture like The Fresh Prince, loaded with natural cut fries, steak, grilled onions and peppers, jalapeños, and cheese sauce.
Wine connoisseur and author André Hueston Mack walked away from his position as a beverage director at Midtown’s Per Se to open a ham bar in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. You can have your pick of Casellas, an 18-24 month aged prosciutto, or the sweet and smoky Hamery from Tennessee. The spotlight on American ham is also shared with domestic wines and cheeses.
Legendary Queens rapper Nas made his foray into the restaurant industry with his investment in this American comfort food chain. In 2013, Sweet Chick opened in Williamsburg and has since expanded to five locations, including two in Brooklyn, with the help of Nas. With its main staple being chicken and waffles, Sweet Chick also offers chicken sandwiches, waffle fries, and a modern take on New York’s infamous nutcracker: a street cocktail popularized in the early 2000s.