Madison Black Restaurant Week was started by longtime activist and publisher of Umoja magazine Milele Chikasa Anana in 2016. Held this year from Aug. 8-15, the event in its sixth year is bigger than ever, shining a spotlight not just on the more visible restaurants and food carts but also specialty food producers and caterers.
Twelve restaurants, seven food carts, 11 caterers, five small producers and four bakers are participating in Black Restaurant Week this year. Cuisines represented include American soul food, barbecue, Jamaican, West African, East African, Togolese, Ethiopian and vegetarian, along with good old pizza.
In addition to encouraging customers to patronize these businesses, Black Restaurant Week will hold a special “Food Tasting Jamboree” event at the FEED Kitchens commercial kitchen, 1219 N. Sherman Ave., on Sunday, Aug. 15, from 2-5 p.m. Small plates will be available for purchase for $5.
The Madison Black Chamber of Commerce organizes Black Restaurant Week. Chamber President Camille Carter tells Isthmus the Jamboree lineup is “still evolving” but that “it will be an uplifting community event and we want to keep it safe from a public safety standpoint.” Not every participant in Black Restaurant Week will be serving in the Jamboree, but Carter cites La Casserole, Keur Fatou West African Cuisine catering, JD’s Soul Food, Sista’s Chicken & Fish, Granny’s Kitchen, Sweets by Sweet desserts, Palate Pleasures and Just Veggiez.
In a 2019 interview, founder Anana told Isthmus that as far as she had been able to determine, Madison’s was the first Black Restaurant Week in the country, and the number has been increasing nationwide.
For the full list of food businesses participating in Madison Black Restaurant Week, see the Madison Black Chamber website: madisonblackchamber.com/brw2021.