ST. LOUIS – If you’ve ever wanted to celebrate the black-owned restaurants across St. Louis, now is your chance.
In an unapologetic expression of culture, St. Louis Black Restaurant Week kicks off Sep. 3-8, this coming Tuesday through Sunday.
Organizer Frank Williamson says the weeklong event was created to highlight black-owned restaurants throughout the city.
“We don’t have anything to represent us for the African-American community,” Williamson said.
In just its second year, Black Restaurant Week is a way to draw in new customers in addition to increasing and promoting awareness of each establishment.
At least eight restaurants have confirmed their participation in the celebration. Among them are JC Supper Club, The River Lillie, TKO Grill, Burger 809, and Prime 55 Restaurant & Lounge, with new restaurants being added every day.
Food lovers can look forward to soul, flair and flavor, plus a combination of different food deals and specials, with prices set by each individual restaurant all week long.
“I feel like [there are] a lot of black restaurants in St Louis, and I just want to represent and put on for my city, especially for the African-American community,” Williamson said.
Maggie Hourd-Bryant, owner of The River Lillie, 1435 Salisbury St., said she wanted to bring a Southern flair to Black Restaurant Week.
Hourd-Bryant and her husband, Stacey, opened their north city restaurant in June 2018. Maggie, a native of Senath, Mo., said she wanted people to know that they could expect to be well taken care of when dining at The River Lillie.
“There’s always a fear factor with coming to our kind of neighborhood,” she said. “We want people to know that this is safe, that we have a diverse group of folks.”
As the only restaurateur participating in the week-long celebration to serve breakfast, Maggie Hourd-Bryant said the majority of the meals she prepared were made from scratch, using only the freshest foods and organic ingredients.
Foodies can expect meal deals starting at $15, including the restaurant’s normal breakfast items such as chicken and waffles, strawberry and blueberry pancakes, and french toast; plus dinner items such as shrimp and grits, dirty rice, fish, smothered potatoes and fried green tomatoes.
“We’re Southern, we’re not soul food,” Hourd-Bryant noted. “If you want fresh, [if] you want things that are organic, [if] you want a vegetarian menu, you come here for that.”
Treating customers with Southern hospitality is something that Hourd-Bryant prides herself on.
“I’m excited … for people to know who we are, to taste the food. I think they’re going to fall in love with it,” she said.
“We’re from the South, we believe in hospitality. So we’re going to make you feel at home. We’re going to give you large portions. We’re going to make sure that when you leave, you’re happy. You’re going to feel like you’ve been in your grandmother’s kitchen.”
Josilynn Jones, an Illinois native, is the daytime manager of JC Supper Club, at 9053 Riverview Dr.
“It’s exciting,” Jones said. “This is going to be our first year participating, so we’re excited to participate and network with other black-owned restaurants and businesses.”
With popular menu items such as the Riverview Chicken Philly, JC Classic Burger, beef polish sausage, buffalo cauliflower, shrimp and barbecue, patrons can expect a dining experience that is both unique and familiar to St. Louis. The restaurant has been open for four years.
“It should be some good deals and good food going on next week,” Jones said.
“Hopefully it’s a great turnout for the community, and hopefully it’s just the beginning,” Williamson added.
More information and a full list of participating restaurants are available at www.stlbrw.com, on Instagram @stlouisrestaurantweekllc or on Facebook at STL Black Restaurant Week.