NEW YORK - At Cafe Moca in Queens, there are new faces stopping by to try the vegan delicacies.
Co-owner Jennypher Urena says she’s excited to take part in Black Restaurant Week, a national campaign to showcase African American, African and Caribbean cuisine. A foodie herself, Urena is a fan of the city’s semiannual restaurant week; and says this event is a way to include a more diverse range of food options.
“I have a tradition with some of my friends that we go every winter and every summer for the past eight years. When I found that there was such a thing as Black Restaurant Week, I jumped at the opportunity,” Urena said.
What You Need To Know
- Black Restaurant Week is a national campaign to showcase African American, African and Caribbean cuisine
- 2020 is the first year that the New York tri-state area participated in Black Restaurant Week
- It is not just restaurants — food trucks, caterers and bakeries are also offering food specials
Black Restaurant Week got its start in Houston, Texas back in 2016. It has since expanded to other cities across the country. Organizers are excited that for the first time, New York and the surrounding region are taking part.
“We learned a long time ago that Black food is more than soul food. It’s more than barbecue. We are always impressed with the creativity we see when it comes to food in our communities,” said Falayn Ferrell, the campaign's managing partner.
There is no shortage of options in the city, with more than 125 businesses participating in the five boroughs. It is not just restaurants—food trucks, caterers and bakeries are also offering food specials.
“The Black culinary landscape is so diverse. We have everything from Italian to Caribbean. If you are just a diehard foodie, there’s something for you to eat,” added Ferrell.
It is a much needed boost for small businesses that are trying to make up for losses because of the pandemic. It’s also an incentive for first-time visitors and loyal customers.
"My favorite food item is the avocado toast and my favorite drink is just the plain coffee," said one customer at Cafe Moca.
The event runs until this Sunday, but the directory of restaurants is available year-round at BlackRestaurantWeeks.com.