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50 Restaurants, 50 States: The Best Black-Owned Restaurants In America

Owning a restaurant is tough. It can be expensive just to get started and most restaurants fail within the first year. Black-owned restaurateurs face even greater challenges like lack of funding and resistance in certain neighborhoods, so when one does become successful, it deserves to be celebrated.

I’ve set out to find the best black-owned restaurants in every state across America, including restaurants that were founded generations ago and many that have opened recently. The restaurants included were selected based on a variety of factors, including historical significance, consistency and quality of the food, the impact the restaurant has had on its neighborhood and the value for the price, but the goal of this list is to serve as a reminder that black people are working hard across the United States to share their legacy and culture through food. Whether it’s through flavors rooted in the American south, cooking techniques from Ethiopia and Jamaica, or new culinary concepts, these black-owned restaurants have all earned support and recognition, and they’ve done so one plate at a time.

#2 Louisiana Dooky Chase’s Restaurant – New Orleans

Like Georgia, it’s impossible to narrow it down to just one restaurant in Louisiana. Dooky Chase opened its doors in 1941, and despite a two-year absence after Hurricane Katrina, it has been a beloved soul food staple ever since.

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#3 Alabama Yo’ Mama’s Restaurant – Birmingham

Known for fried and grilled seafood, this restaurant has won awards for having the best lunch in Birmingham.

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#6 Arkansas Jones Bar-B-B-Q Diner – Marianna

One of the most famous restaurants in Arkansas, the tiny BBQ joint won a James Beard Award in 2012 and dates back to 1910. Many believe it may be one of the oldest black-owned restaurants in the country, and when it comes to BBQ, it’s definitely one of the best.

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#7 California Native – Santa Monica

Nyesha Arrington is one of the most important chefs working in California today and Native is an innovative tribute to the different cultures in Los Angeles.

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