502 Black Eats Week Features Louisville’s Black-Owned Restaurants – 89.3 WFPL News Louisville

A variety of black-owned restaurants in Louisville are offering discounts in the coming days as part of 502 Black Eats Week.

Dozens of participating food vendors across the city will offer the promotion to customers who mention 502 Black Eats Week.

The initiative aims to increase awareness of restaurants and other food industry businesses owned and operated by Black residents.

Tiandra Robinson created the week-long event in 2020. She called it a sister to 502 Black Business Week, which attempts to highlight other types of black-owned establishments.

Robinson, owner of T. Marie Consulting, wanted to try and recreate the success of Black Business Week in response to how the pandemic was affecting the food industry.

“In 2020 when everything was shut down, of course, you know, it was really tough on the restaurant industry, so it made it twice as hard for black-owned restaurants,” he said. Robinson.

A report from the Brookings Institution who used Federal Reserve data found that black-owned businesses reported financial hardship associated with the pandemic more than any other race.

In addition to facing more hardship during the pandemic, the study also said the wealth gap between Blacks and other races contributes to the general lack of Black-owned businesses nationwide.

“The black community is very underrepresented,” said Tatiana Cartwright, general manager and event coordinator at 502 Black Eats Week attendee. Bon Ventre Bistro. “We have fewer resources than our white counterparts.”

The report says that of nearly 5.8 million businesses with more than one employee in 2019, 2.3% were black-owned. However, black people make up 14.2% of the population of the United States.

According to the study, there are 51 black-owned businesses in Lexington, or 1% of the city’s total businesses. To reflect Lexington’s black population of 13.5%, an additional 1,525 black businesses are expected to open.

Robinson said that in Louisville, black-owned businesses make up 2.4% of the city’s total businesses, although black residents make up 24% of the population. She said that means it’s even more important to get the names of these places out to the public.

Each year, Robinson issues a call to area businesses in July to begin preparing for the week. Those selected pay a fee to participate and must offer some sort of discount to customers who mention 502 Black Eats Week.

She said that by attending these events, owners have the opportunity to market their business outside of social media.

“For a lot of black-owned businesses, they don’t have a lot of money to invest in marketing their business,” Robinson said.

Happy Belly Bistro is one of many returning attendees for this year’s 502 Black Eats Week. Cartwright, the general manager, said those who came to the restaurant because of the event left happy.

She said it was a great way to expand Happy Belly Bistro’s reach.

“It’s really important to let people know that, hey, we’re here and we’ve got some great products, come try us out,” Cartwright said.

The complete list of participating restaurants is available on the 502 Black Eats Week website. The event runs from Sunday to October 8.

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