Memphis Black Restaurant Week founder Cynthia Daniels said the 2020 version of the annual event has been beneficial for participating restaurants, the challenge of the coronavirus notwithstanding.
“People came out and supported them in spite of the uncertainty of this coronavirus,” said Daniels. “For the fifth straight year, we took one week to highlight black restaurants and recognize the importance of patronizing them beyond this time.”
Black Restaurant Week runs through Sunday (March 15). Daniels said most proprietors reported no significant decline in business compared to last year’s activity.
“We start a huge promotional campaign on Valentine’s Day, and the response has always been enthusiastic. People say, ‘Well, I’m not going to wait for Black Restaurant Week to patronize these businesses.’ Our message is that we all benefit when our community supports black businesses, not just for a week, but all year around.”
The Four Way Grill is one of the participating restaurants. Owner Patrice Bates said the Four Way’s level of cleanliness was added assurance to loyal customers and new ones that it is a safe place to dine.
“Even before the virus had spread so widely, we had been disinfecting and cleaning more than usual over the past three or four weeks because my employees have been out sick with the flu,” Thompson said. “So we bought up extra supplies of wipes and hand sanitizer to disinfect a table after each customer. We were blessed because this week was especially well attended.”
Similar precautions were taken by the other restaurants to maintain a comfort level of cleanliness, Daniels said.
The eateries participating in Black Restaurant Week were: The Waffle Iron, The Four Way Grill, The Office@Uptown, Chef Tam’s Underground Café, Robusto by Havana Mix, BallHoggerz BBQ, Flava House, Curry N Jerk, Mahogany and Phillip Ashley Chocolates & Café.
Gallery: Photos by Gary S. Whitlow/GSW Enterprises