Philadelphia Black Restaurant Week kicks off with a bang

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- More than 20 local Black-owned restaurants and food vendors are participating in this year's Philadelphia Black Restaurant Week.

The nationwide free marketing campaign started in Houston and now has expanded to most major cities.

The founders created this event to draw more attention to Black-owned establishments.

Most of these establishments often lack the budget for public relations and marketing.

Booker's Restaurant and Bar in University City kicked off Philadelphia's Black Restaurant Week with a packed house.

The initiative started Friday, June 4, and goes on through Sunday, June 13.

The owner of Booker's says she participated ever since Black Restaurant Week launched in Philadelphia in 2018.

"Most restaurants get overlooked because there's so many in this city. We're in a neighborhood versus Center City, so this gives us an opportunity to get highlighted," said owner Saba Tedla.

Booker's Kitchen Manager Jeremy Page says there is a huge need for an initiative like this because it allows new customers to support Black-owned businesses all over the city.

"We need this just like we need the Black section in the bookstore," Page said, "We need to be highlighted because we haven't been able to be integrated."

The restaurant is known for its soul food cuisine and southern specialties.

It goes the extra mile for Black Restaurant Week by offering a three-course dinner for $45.

Tedla adds this year, the timing of Philadelphia Black Restaurant Week is crucial, given that many businesses are trying to recoup from the pandemic, and there's also a nationwide staffing shortage in the restaurant and hospitality industry.

"It's definitely challenging to get the right staffing. I think being able to collaborate with friends and family, that's how we continue to survive," Tedla said.

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