Washington’s Black Restaurant Week starts this Sunday, and there will be plenty of dining deals. But the event is about more than just discounted restaurant meals. Look for panels, a cocktail competition, and next Saturday, a day-long conference at UDC.
The founders—bar consultant Andra “AJ” Johnson, Georgetown University professor Erinn Tucker, and restaurant vet Furard Tate–created the event to shine a spotlight on the area’s black chefs and black-owned restaurants. They also want to spark conversation about how to get those chefs and restaurants more attention going forward.
“Within the past year I’ve read all these articles asking, ‘Where are the black chefs? Where are the black managers?'” Tucker says. “After a while I was wondering: what do you mean, where are they? They’re everywhere! The DMV has such great talent that there must be a disconnect.”
Here are Tucker’s recommendations for the week’s coolest events—plus, a list of dining deals.
Panel: Legacy of the Black Chef: Why aren’t black chefs getting more local, national, and international attention? This panel will explore that question. Saturday, November 10 at 10:45 AM. UDC Student Center, 4200 Connecticut Ave., NW
Black People in Wine: Panelists will discuss wine-industry stereotypes and their personal experiences. Saturday, November 10 at 2 PM. UDC Student Center, 4200 Connecticut Ave., NW
R.R. Bowie Cocktail Competition: Root for your favorite drink slinger at this Battle of the Bartenders at Service Bar. Tickets are $15 per person. Monday, November 5 at 5:30 PM. 928 U St., NW
Cocktails and Conversations at the Wing: The last of three “Cocktails and Conversations” events will be held at The Wing in Georgetown. The talk will center on the difficulties of being a black women in a competitive and testosterone-heavy industry. Invitation only. Thursday, November 8. 1056 Thomas Jefferson St., NW
Women Leading the New School of Cooking: Chefs Elle Simone (you may have seen her on the Food Network), Catina Smith of Baltimore hotel The Ivy, and Nichole Mooney, founder of non-profit Black Girls Cook, will lead a talk on how black women can be leaders in the culinary world. Tickets are $45. November 8. 1056 Thomas Jefferson St., NW
Calabash Tea & Tonic is offering a 15 percent discount on all food and drinks.
DCity Smokehouse discounts their Big Snoop–a half smoke topped with pulled pork, slaw, and crispy onions–from $10 to $8.
FishScale is taking 10 percent off, and offering a few specials throughout the week.
On The Rocks is extending their happy hour menu to 9 PM all week–that means $6 appetizers and house cocktails, $8 signature cocktails, and $5 wines and beers.
Po Boy Jim will offer three specials: a Bourbon Street steak; pan-seared redfish with lump crab and carrot rice pilaf; and chicken-sausage-and-shrimp jambalaya.
Matchbox is going big with not one, but two three-course meals. Their lunch fixed price meal includes a minestrone soup, a choice between a 10 inch pizza, bistro burger, and crispy chicken, and three different types of desserts. Their dinner menu has everything from tacos to ribs to shrimp and grits.
Other participating restaurants: American Tap Room, Cheers at the Big Chair, Hen Quarter, Culture Coffee Too, Appioo Bar and Grill, the Caged Bird, Halfsmoke, Queeta’s Palace Chateau Remix, Smith Commons, Wicked Bloom, 1230, and the Bukom Cafe.
Blue Waters Caribbean & Seafood Grill will put out a $25 three-course menu. Choices include Downtown Kingston chicken soup, jerk chicken, oxtails, and rum cake.
Ruby’s Southern Kitchen is offering a 10 percent discount on food and drinks.
Other participating restaurants: Kitchen Cray Cafe, Hen Quarter, American Tap Room, SoBe, Matchbox, and ZestyZ.
Ben’s Chili Bowl is taking 15 percent off food and drinks.
Other participating restaurants: Hen Quarter.
Catering participants: Torch, Taylored Taste, Reese’s Catering, and D’lish Dish.
Allied restaurants (restaurants that aren’t black-owned but support the cause): Anxo Cidery, Busboys & Poets, and Unconventional Diner.
This post will be updated with additional participants and their offerings as the information is available.