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A Roundup of Guides to Support Black-Owned Bay Area Restaurants

All the apps, lists, and guides you need to lend your support

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As America makes its way through what might be the its most significant civil rights movement of last 40 years, many folks are left wondering how they can help causes of racial equality and support the Black and Brown communities. To that end, several publications and writers, both local and beyond, have developed to guides to Black-owned bars and restaurants in the Bay Area.

Below, you’ll find a guide to those guides, but before you order takeout this weekend and call it a day, remember that support, change, and ally-ship is a marathon, not a sprint. These guides are ones you should consider every time you’re thinking about grabbing a bite, even after those Black squares become a distant Instagram memory.

Soleil Ho’s directory of Black-owned restaurants, pop-ups and caterers in the Bay Area

The SF Chronicle’s food critic says that she was inspired to create her spreadsheet by a similar one launched by Kat Hong, an LA-based food writer. It’s a remarkably comprehensive document, and it includes each spot’s Instagram handle — a great way to keep these restaurants on your radar as time goes on, You can see Ho’s spreadsheet here.

Katherine Wu’s cuisine-grouped guide to Black-owned restaurants in SF

Wu uses collaboration tool Airtable to track Black-owned restaurants across SF, which she then groups by style of food. She took care to add information like opening times and pictures of the restaurant’s most popular dishes, she tells Eater SF, saying “my friends and family have told me that they found this list very useful in knowing what food cuisines are available and deciding where to eat.” You can see Wu’s list here.

Sarah Han’s list of Black owned restaurants in Berkeley and Oakland that are open for takeout

The editor of Berkeleyside’s Nosh vertical has pulled together city-specific list of restaurants in the cities of Oakland and Berkeley, as well as a list of “caterers, pop-ups, wholesalers and farmers markets vendors.” Each restaurant’s website is linked and its full address is provided — and Berkeleyside is accessible for all, and loads quickly and easily via mobile, making it a good resource when you’re on the go. See Han’s full list here.

BANG’s Black-owned East and South Bay restaurant list

The Bay Area News Group (the company behind the San Jose Mercury News, the East Bay Times, and the Marin Independent Journal) has a running guide to spots in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties open for delivery and takeout. You can see it here.

The Six Fifty’s list of Peninsula restaurants

As noted in the above tweet, the Six Fifty, a Medium-based publication that covers Silicon Valley food, arts, and entertainment, spoke with numerous Black restaurant owners in the area for a feature-style report. Keep scrolling, and you’ll find a list of restaurants owned by Black folks, each with a descriptive paragraph. Read the article and see the list here.

Get on Yelp

Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman has announced that the oft-fraught recommendation app has launched a tool to allow owners of Black-owned businesses (including restaurants, service providers, and retail establishments) to self-identify as such. The spots are then highlighted with their own category when users open the app. There’s also a specific collection of Black-owned businesses that Yelp has curated, which can be refined by type of business and location.

SF Gate’s list of Black-owned farms and CSAs

If you want to take a break from eating out, there are several Bay Area Black-owned farms and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) boxes to check out, several of which are actively working with social justice programs to support the ongoing civil rights movement. You can see SF Gate’s list of those farms and boxes here.

VegOut’s list of Black-owned vegan restaurants

While all of these guides include vegetarian and vegan spots, VegOut’s is the only one with a specific focus on plant-based spots owned by Black folks. It covers all the major veghead players in SF and the East Bay, including pop-ups and meal prep services. VegOut’s full list is here.

The Bay Area Organization of Black Owned Businesses (BAOBOB) directory

Activist and mentor Yavette Holts says she founded her Oakland-based group in a response to the failure to indict Darren Wilson, a former Ferguson, MO police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in 2014. To download BAOBAB’s directory, visit its site and fill out the contact form on the right. Via email, you’ll get a comprehensive list of Black-owned businesses across the region that you can even — if you’re feeling retro — print out and save.

Five Fifths

This website seeks to be “the largest list of black-owned restaurants and businesses on the internet,” site co-founder Kyle Umemba tells Eater SF, with categories for business verticals and a database searchable by city and region. “The purpose of the site is to empower those who have up until this point been systemically overlooked,” Umemba Businesses that want to be added to the list can submit a link here, and the full list of lists is here.

The Shea’d app

South Bay native Ibrahim Conteh launched Shea’d, a app that lists over 100 Black-owned businesses across the Bay Area, after deciding to “to center [his] personal mission around pursuing projects that are focused solely on accommodating Blackness.” In addition to listing restaurants, the app can help you find bars, nail salons, gyms, and bookstores, with information on current services and hours of operation during the pandemic. You can download Shea’d here.

SF’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development Black-owned businesses guide

The city agency has created a guide of “Black-owned businesses offering goods and services to the general public from an accessible storefront location,” and it’s being updated constantly — links can be added via this form. There’s a categorical list (restaurants are here) and a very nifty map function here.

Looking for more apps that direct you to Black-owned businesses beyond the food world? Mashable has a roundup of the top six here.

The EatOkra app

EatOkra is a location-based app that lists Black-owned restaurants near you, and breaks them down by cuisine and style. It includes hours, distance, and a mapping function. Checking the app from the Outer Sunset, it’s not the most comprehensive option on this list, but the app works fast and — if they continue to add spots — could be incredibly useful when you’re wondering “where should I eat tonight?” You can download it here.

Wanderlog’s Black-owned restaurants list

Wanderlog is a San Francsico-based vacation and trip planning app, but it looks like they’re also dipping their toes into the guide game. They’ve pulled together a list of their “favorite Black-owned restaurants and businesses in SF.” It’s a curated guide broken out into restaurants, dessert spots, and markets with a definite focus on the eastern half of the city. You can see their guide here.

Look for specific lists within Postmates and Uber Eats

When you can, it’s always better to order your food directly from a restaurant instead of via a delivery app: The apps frequently take a significant portion of the order cost as a commission, and if your goal is to support social justice, working with companies that allegedly exploit delivery drivers might impede that goal. But if you must, Postmates and Uber Eats have both created in-app features in many of the cities they serve that highlight Black-owned businesses, the Daily Meal reports.

Check out a curated list

It’s true, lists can leave hungry diners spoiled for choice, scrolling and scrolling, overwhelmed by the options. If you need a little more guidance, here are some specific, curated pieces that can help you make great dining decisions for days, weeks, months, and years to come.

  • How to Support the Black Community in SF Right Now [Thrillist]
  • Drinkers are supporting Black-owned wine businesses right now. Will it last? [SF Chronicle]
  • How to Spend a Big Fat Weekend in Oakland, California [Bon Appétit]
  • Black-owned, drag-infused meals to-go [Bay Area Reporter]

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