Restaurant Week showcases black-owned businesses, chefs

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

Correction: The incorrect street name for YumVillage’s food truck location appeared in an earlier version of this story. 

Next week, a new restaurant promotion will launch that aims to promote and highlight black chefs and black-owned restaurants in Metro Detroit.

The Metro Detroit Black Restaurant Week kicks off Monday and runs through Aug. 27. The list of participating restaurants is still growing, and will include a diverse selection of cuisine — soul food, Caribbean, French, Jamaican, Japanese, American, etc. — among 15-20 casual and fine dining establishments.

Co-organizer Kwaku Osei-Bonsu says the promotion is an opportunity to highlight chefs and owners, not necessary black patrons. Like many “restaurant week” promotions around town, this one’s goal is to entice foodies of all kinds to try someplace new, and to be able to taste an appetizer, entree and dessert for one solid price.

“I think it’s important for this to be happening because as the story of Detroit progresses, a lot of times there’s concern surrounding the idea that people of color will be left out of the narrative,” said Osei-Bonsu, who runs the Black Metro Eats website with his Restaurant Week co-organizer Lauren Bates. “We’re doing this week in hopes that we can kind of write our own story and make sure that we’re part of the narrative of Detroit’s progress, as well.”

The first restaurant to sign up was Le Crepe (317 S. Washington, Royal Oak), which will serve a three-course lunch ($25) or dinner ($35) during the dining promotion. Choose a soup or salad for course one, followed by three options for an entree — house-marinated chicken, rib eye steak and a Monte Cristo sandwich are among those choices — and two options for dessert.

The newly opened River Bistro (18456 Grand River, Detroit) will also serve this type of fixed-price menu next week. Helmed by private chef Max Hardy, who recently moved back to his native Detroit to open three restaurants, this Caribbean and soul spot opened Sunday with an affordable menu and very limited seating.

For Metro Detroit Black Restaurant Week, River Bistro will serve a wedge salad, crispy chicken sandwich with cottage fries and churros with coconut caramel for lunch ($25). For dinner ($35), start with a summer salad with tangerine vinaigrette. Course two is a choice between jerk chicken or citrus-glazed salmon. Rum pound cake with vanilla bean ice cream is for dessert.

Though River Bistro just opened Sunday, it’s not even the newest restaurant participating in this promotion. Brix Wine & Charcuterie Boutique (7968 Kercheval, Detroit) will have a soft opening Thursday, and will offer a wine flight and charcuterie board for their promotion.

And ima Japanese restaurant (2015 Michigan, Detroit) will serve a three-course dinner for $35 that has a vegan and a vegetarian entree option, plus meat-y choices. 1917 American Bistro (19416 Livernois, Detroit) is also part of Black Restaurant Week; the menu is to be announced.

Casual restaurants are also in the mix. Both locations of Detroit Vegan Soul (19614 Grand River and 8029 Agnes, Detroit), Kuzzo’s Chicken & Waffles (19345 Livernois, Detroit), Sweet Soul Bistro (13741 W. McNichols, Detroit), YumVillage food truck (parked at 1428 Van Dyke, Detroit 5-10 p.m. every Friday and Saturday), City Wings (2896 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit) and the Jamaican Pot (14615 W. Eight Mile, Detroit) will offer a entree, two sides and a soft drink for $15 during Restaurant Week. Jamaican Pot is carry-out only.

YumVillage chef and owner Godwin Ihentuge says it’s important to highlight inclusion when talking about Detroit’s “budding restaurant scene,” but clarifies himself.

“It’s not entirely accurate to say ‘budding’ as Detroit has always had good food,” he says. “But in a city that is over 80 percent people of color, it is important to have access and a platform. I’m glad to be a part of Detroit’s prolific evolution.”

Other black-owned business — many that aren’t restaurants — are participating in Metro Detroit Black Restaurant Week, too. Live Cycle Delight (8019 Agnes, Detroit) is offering Restaurant Week customers a chance to burn off their meals with five workout classes for $50. This offer was good for only new customers, but will be open to all next week.

Good Cakes and Bakes bakery (19363 Livernois, Detroit) will create a special cupcake for the occasion, and the Block restaurant (3919 Woodward, Detroit) will serve a Black Restaurant Week cocktail. Bring a receipt from any participating restaurant to the Lip Bar pop-up store (also at 8019 Agnes) and get 10 percent off any matte lipstick.

Visit for an updated list of participating restaurants, menus and to make reservations (where applicable). Follow @black_metro_eats on Instagram for the latest additions and news.

(313) 222-2402

Twitter: @melodybaetens