Juneteenth is an important occasion for celebrating and uplifting Black communities. On June 19th, let's support Black-owned restaurants, such as these incredible local hotspots and hidden gems.
Although it has been celebrated by African-American communities since the 19th century, it wasn't until last year, on June 17th, 2021, that Juneteenth became an official federal holiday in the United States. The day marks the effective end of the practice of slavery in the country when, on this day in 1865, Union troops entered Texas and officially freed the last 250,000 enslaved peoples in the Lone Star state.
Within Black communities, the colloquially-known “Juneteenth” became an unofficial holiday and cause for both celebration and remembrance. For many people of all backgrounds, Juneteenth stands for freedom and liberty, as well as a reminder of the long struggle, both historical and ongoing, for true systemic justice.
One of the best ways to observe and honour this important day is to celebrate the Black-owned restaurants and eateries in your community. Not sure where to start? We've put together a list of some of the best Black-owned restaurants in some of North America's largest cities.
The Windy City is home to some of the finest restaurants, delis, and cafes in the world. Many of which are also Black-owned and serve as a testament to the incredible African-American culinary traditions found in the United States.
Part chicken shack, part barbecue joint, Crazy Bird Chicken is a legendary local hotspot among Chicagoans. Chef Larry Tucker is best known for his passion for homestyle cooking, while also not backing down from experimentation. For starters, Crazy Bird's duck bacon truffled poutine is just one signature creation you won't find anywhere else.
Offering up soul food par excellence, this Black-owned restaurant is one of the midwest's finest. Between their hot and heavy stick-to-your-ribs offerings or their lighter sides and salads, there's a little something for everyone at Crazy Bird. This Juneteenth, consider popping in for a bite.
Need a quick pick-me-up? Chicago's Fruvé xPress Juicery is a Black-owned juice bar located in the city’s West Loop, South Loop, and Hyde Park neighbourhoods. A local institution, FxJ serves up a fresh assortment of acai bowls, organic cold-pressed juices, and superfood-dense plates of all kinds to keep you feeling great throughout your day.
Whether you need a mid-afternoon energy boost or a rejuvenating raw juice cleanse, the health food fanatics at Fruvé xPress Juicery have something in store just for you.
From Harlem to South Brooklyn to Jamaica, Queens and everywhere in between, the Big Apple is home to some of the finest cuisine on the planet. As a longstanding hub of African-American culture, there's no shortage of mind-blowing dishes from the world's top Black-owned restaurants.
Nestled in the heart of Midtown Manhattan is Voilà Afrique, which translates from French to “there is Africa.” Offering a huge variety of authentic African cuisine, Voilà Afrique has it all. Whether you're in the mood for coconut fried rice, East African ugali, or Ghanian banku, there's something for every taste at Voilà Afrique.
As an African-owned restaurant, head chef Margaret ensures that every dish is made with healthy, fresh ingredients and is prepared true to its African roots.
Located at 109 Malcom X Boulevard, Harlem's very own Fieldtrip is a you've-got-to-eat-here type of restaurant on any day of the year, but especially so on Juneteenth. This restaurant specializes in nutritious bowls and salads that use ethically-sourced, heirloom grains and are always freshly milled and never enriched.
Fieldtrip is a celebration of global cultures and cuisines. By incorporating a diverse array of rice-based dishes, head chef JJ Johnson seeks to tell the story of how rice—a simple yet powerful grain—unites the cuisines of the world as a nutritious and beautiful staple food. Come here for a braised beef bowl, shrimp gumbo, or a delectable blue crab pocket.
Canada's largest city is one of the most diverse and cosmopolitan in the world. With nearly 400,000 Black-identifying people in the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area, the city is thriving with excellent Black-owned businesses and restaurants.
While most Black Torontonians are proudly of Carribean origin, many of Toronto's Black population are African-Canadian slave descendents. We can honour their contribution to Canadian culture and heritage by trying out some of their incredible restaurants.
The original Jamaican-inspired Real Jerk restaurant is located in Toronto's trendy Leslieville neighborhood. If you're on the hunt for the best jerk chicken in Canada, the Real Jerk ranks among the very best. Known for their oxtail and signature blend of jerk seasonings, owners Ed and Lily Pottinger are two of Toronto's best-known restaurateurs.
For an authentic Carribean-Canadian culinary experience, look no further than the Real Jerk—which has now expanded into Scarborough and even London, England.
In the mood for something different? Toronto's Enat Buna is an authentic Black-owned Ethiopian fusion restaurant that pulls no punches in the flavour department. A masterclass in innovation, Enat Buna adds its own progressive flare to traditional African dishes such as bayanatu with Berberé sauce and firfir to create original dishes you won't find anywhere else.
Spicy meat dishes served with injera flatbread is the main attraction at Enat Buna, if not its delicious sweets. For lighter fare, Enat Buna specializes in wraps of all kinds, including vegan and gluten-free options. Wash it down with rich and flavorful Ethiopian coffee and you've got yourself an unforgetable mid-day meal.
For an electic bite, why not try SugarKane in Toronto’s Danforth? This scintillating Cajun and Caribbean fusion restaurant provides a unique spin on colorful, sweet and spicy dishes, as well as bold and mouth-watering saltfish cakes, shrimp tacos, and more. As a proudly Black woman-owned business, this lively restaurant is an excellent choice for an outing on Juneteenth.
There's certainly no lack of options if you want to experience fine Black-owned restaurants, juice bars, and cafes this June 19th. So, why stop yourself at just one?
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On Juneteenth, use Ritual to order from the best Black-owned restaurants. Prepare for Juneteenth today by downloading the Ritual app for free.