FYI Philly celebrates Black-owned businesses with hosts Sharrie Williams and Gray Hall

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Monday, February 27, 2023
FYI Philly celebrates Black-owned businesses around Philadelphia
FYI Philly celebrates Black excellence with a look at business owners making Philly great, hosted by Sharrie Williams and Gray Hall.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- FYI Philly celebrates Black excellence with a look at business owners making Philly great, hosted by Sharrie Williams and Gray Hall.

Ummi Dee's Burger Bistro offers fresh food in North Philadelphia

Ummi Dee's Burger Bistro is bringing fresh food to North Philadelphia.

Owner Hannah Ahzai described North Philadelphia as a food desert, where fresh ingredients are hard to come by, similar to where she grew up in Southwest Philadelphia.

Her idea for Ummi Dee's was to provide familiar food using fresh never frozen ingredients.

She uses fresh patties for her burger, sources salmon daily for her salmon cheesesteak and uses fresh lettuce, peppers and shrimp in her shrimp egg roll.

The name is inspired by her late mother who lost a battle with cancer 15 days before Hannah opened the restaurant.

Ummi is mom in Arabic and Dee is short for Debbie Dawson, Hannah's mom.

Hannah also credits her mother with learning to use fresh ingredients in the kitchen, making sure she grew up eating that way. Now she is sharing that idea win the neighborhood.

Hannah is also a practicing Muslim so she makes sure all the food is halal in order to serve her community better.

Ummi Dee's Burger Bistro | Facebook | Instagram

2805 North 22nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19132

Chef Tonii Hicks brings her culinary expertise to your kitchen

Philadelphia native, Drexel grad and James Beard Fellow Chef Tonii Hicks has worked in some of the top restaurants in the city, but has always had a love for cooking for people in their own homes.

As a private chef, her services are start to finish, from shopping to clean up, and of course the meal courses in between - all in the home of the client.

Her creations are opulent and the service may seem indulgent, but she says it doesn't have to be, and is perfect for people on the go or for special occasions.

Chef Tonii is also now part of the second season of Jose Garces' chef-in-residency program at Volver - the fine dining spot in the Kimmel Center.

She is currently serving up center stage, with her menu available now through March 19th.

Private Chef Tonii Hicks | Instagram


Jacobs Northwest an event space featuring southern food Philly style

Jacobs Northwest is the new home for chef and owner Tanesha Trippett.

Trippett started catering in 2016, went mobile with her food truck Brotherly Grub shortly after, opened a brick and mortar cafe in 2020 and now has expanded to her current home in Mount Airy.

It has been a busy seven-year stretch for the chef but at the heart of everything is her food featuring a southern style menu with her own "Philly twist."

Tanesha worked in finance before leaving her corporate job, going back to school at age 35 for culinary.

She credits the Georgia roots and southern cuisine served by her mother, grandmother and great grandmother as inspiration.

She has taken those recipes and made them her own at Jacobs Northwest.

The space is known for its award-winning brunch Friday through Sunday. It also serves a daily menu available for pickup and delivery.

They have themed events at the space. Wednesday, they offer salsa and line dancing. Thursday is open mic night. Friday is karaoke. Tanesha plans to add more evening events as she continues to expand.

Jacobs Northwest | Facebook | Instagram

7165 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19119

Poppa's Custard Company makes decadent delights for dessert

Husband-and-wife team Joshua and Christen Johnson started Poppa's Custard Company during the pandemic as a way for the family to be able to do something together.

Now they sell their four-ounce jars of chilled custards at farmer's markets and online.

They use fresh ingredients only and describe the sweet treat as 'what a pudding cup would be if it were all grown up'.

Varieties come in both dairy and plant-based, and the intent is to make an indulgent snack that is just the right size to be satisfying but not filling.

Poppa's Custard Company | Facebook | Instagram


Family-owned BlacOak Tasting Room offers sips, savvy, and socializing

On one of the main shopping streets in Roxborough, you will find a tasting room devoted to Black-owned wine brands, and wine education.

The founder of BlacOak Tasting Room, Ebonie Dukes, established the brand during the pandemic to try and support the niche segment of the billion-dollar wine industry but says she found few options.

So she, her brothers, and her husband got together and founded the BlacOak Wine Club.

The tasting room is their base for tastings and classes, and the four family members come from a solid knowledge base - they each hold the distinction of a sommelier.

The growing brand has events around town, wine festivals during the year, and sponsors trips - all of which come at a discount when you become a member.

But the tasting room is open to anyone in the community who wants to learn more about wine.

BlacOak Tasting Room | Instagram | Facebook

6139 Ridge Avenue


The next wine festival is March 25, 2023

This is Pennsylvania's first and only Black-Owned distillery

Introducing Mishka Vodka, Pennsylvania's first Black-owned distillery

Russell Scott Fletcher found his passion for distilling in 2009 when he started making wine.

"What I learned really early in the wine game is that if you don't own a vineyard all the way out, you can get squeezed out of the market really, really fast. That ended up happening," says Fletcher.

So he started distilling vodka instead.

He dubbed his Vodka 'Mishka Vodka which means small bear or cuddly bear in Eastern European languages, paying homage to his Ukrainian wife.

His Vodka went on to win double gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Currently, he makes a Honey vodka, a classic vodka and cranberry vodka.

His distillery is located in Allentown, Pennsylvania making him the first and only black distiller in the state.

"When people hear that they're like, 'wait a minute, that can't be true; you're telling me we only have one black-owned distillery?!'" says Fletcher.

Museum of American Revolution opens "Black Founders" exhibition

The Museum of the American Revolution is showcasing a new exhibition called "Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia" through Nov. 26.

As you enter the exhibition, one of the first things you'll encounter is a Forten family tree, spanning from the American Revolution to the Civil War.

You'll meet James Forten first. Born in Philadelphia as a free African American in 1766, he was just 9-years-old when he heard the Declaration of Independence read aloud.

"James Forten heard the words, 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal...' and he referenced those for the rest of his life," says Adrienne Whaley, Director of Education and Community Engagement for the Museum of the American Revolution.

The exhibition follows Forten's journey as he set sail at the age of 14 on a privateer ship as part of the Revolutionary War. Afterward, he returned to Philadelphia and became a sail-making apprentice.

James and his wife, Charlotte, created a home that became a center for anti-slavery and abolitionist causes in Philadelphia.

"There are some amazing artifacts in the space, including the last remaining United States Colored Troops Regimental flag anywhere in the United States of America," says Whaley.

You'll also see artifacts that have never been publicly displayed, and many of them haven't been in Philadelphia since the late 1700s.

Museum of the American Revolution | Facebook | Instagram

101 S. 3rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106


Philadelphia Orchestra brings 'Black Panther' soundtrack to life

The performance will enable audiences to see and hear Marvel Studios' 'Black Panther' like they've never experienced it before; with the Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall transformed into a movie theater.

"You'll see the film on the big screen, but below the big screen will be the entire Philadelphia Orchestra performing the score live," says Leslie Patterson-Tyler, Vice President of Program Communications and Partnerships with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Kimmel Center, Inc.

The Grammy and Oscar-winning score is performed by a 100-piece orchestra.

"It is a special experience for fans of the film because you can actually hear the intricacies and complexities in the music," she says.

Marvel Studios released the first 'Black Panther' film in 2018, basing it on a Marvel Comics character of the same name.

Since then, it's become a cultural phenomenon.

The Kimmel Cultural Campus is donating a portion of ticket sales to the Philadelphia Office of the United Negro College Fund, the largest provider of scholarships for students of need across the country.

The Philadelphia Orchestra will perform Marvel Studios' 'Black Panther' Live in Concert March 17-19 in the Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall.

Marvel Studios' 'Black Panther' Live in Concert | Tickets

Verizon Hall on the Kimmel Cultural Campus

300 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102


Friday Saturday Sunday was named a semifinalist for Best Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation.

Friday Saturday Sunday | Facebook | Instagram

261 South 21st Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Pizza Jawn reaches the finals for Good Morning America's United States of Pizza contest.

Pizza Jawn | Facebook | Instagram

4330 Main Street, Philadelphia, PA 19127

South Street Headhouse District provides a self-guided tour of Black history, culture, and community in the neighborhood.

Black History on South Street | Facebook | Instagram

Map of points of interest