Our Black-Owned Food Establishments Need Your Support

We have a melting pot of cuisines in our area that includes soul food, African, Caribbean and many more. Supporting these businesses is a way of standing in solidarity with them.

As they struggle with the many effects of COVID-19 and the persistent racial disparities in this country, many black-owned businesses are hurting. When you’re looking for a restaurant, coffee shop or other food-related business to support, consider these establishments. Call ahead, as some continue to operate on a carryout basis with limited menus. 

Alem Ethiopian Village
Entrées (meat or veg-based) are served on a wafer-thin, spongy pancake made of teff. The beef and lamb stews are especially good. (307 E. Wisconsin Ave., 414-224-5324)

Ashley’s Bar-B-Que
The meat options range from ribs and pork shoulder to chicken and pork chops. Also, catfish, perch and shrimp dinners and sandwiches, including burgers, corned beef and gyros. (1501 W. Center St., 414-372-7666)

Belli’s Bistro & Spirits
Blackened or Southern fried catfish, jambalaya, shrimp and grits, lobster pasta, sandwiches including a mac and cheese burger, house gumbo. Tuesday night crab boil: $30. (3001 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., 414-210-3665)

Blue Star Cafe
This North African restaurant is authentic to its home cuisine but also has a vegetarian bent. Their vegetarian sambusas ($1.5 each) especially blend authenticity and affordability. (1619 N. Farwell Ave., 414-273-9744)

Catfish Lounge
Known for fried catfish and chicken wings. Sunday takeout brunch features catfish and waffles, chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, catfish and grits. Mimosas and bloody marys.  (3646 N. Teutonia Ave., 414-445-3505)

Bradley and Laurie Thurman, owners of Coffee Makes You Black; fried chicken tenders and waffles (Photo by Jarvis Laswon)

Coffee Makes You Black
A café that embraces the culture of the African diaspora. Order ahead by downloading the Clover app. The breakfast menu is served all day and includes chicken and waffles; catfish, eggs and grits; corned beef hash, eggs, and toast; pancakes; omelets, French toast and more. (2803 W. Teutonia Ave., 414-562-5225)

Daddy’s Soul Food & Grille
The special soul food Sunday menu includes meatloaf, fried catfish, fried or baked chicken, smothered pork chops along with collard greens and turkey, mac and cheese, dressing with chicken, black-eyed peas and turkey, peach cobbler, banana pudding, caramel pound cake and more. Other specials are offered daily; and baked or fried chicken is served every day. (754 N. 27th St., 414-448-6165)

Ethiopian Cottage Restaurant
The meat and vegetarian stews served directly on a thin, spongy pancake. Pop for the chicken doro wat and a spicy chicken stew (drumstick included) with hard-boiled egg. The beef tibs are another delicious option for a group. (1824 N. Farwell Ave., 414-224-5226)

Goody Gourmets
Shop that specializes in many flavors of popped corn. Plain, cheese, caramel and cheese, white cheddar, BBQ, pizza, ranch and other flavors. Curbside pickup available Monday-Saturday. (4425 N. Oakland Ave., 414-906-1042)

Irie Palace Authentic Jamaican Cuisine 
Jerk chicken, brown stew chicken, oxtails, curry chicken and curry goat are among the specialties. (8762 N. Granville Rd., Milwaukee, 414-797-2848)

In the Nick of Time
Many choices here, and they may include fish and chicken dinners, hot wings, fried green tomatoes, gumbo and sides such as hush puppies, fried okra, mac and cheese, baked beans and spaghetti. Cake (caramel, German chocolate) available by the slice. Delivery available, too. (9002 W. Silver Spring Dr., 414-544-5367)

Garfield’s 502
Expanded curbside menu served Friday-Sunday noon-8 p.m. Whole wing basket, chicken tenders dinner, catfish and perch dinners; ribs, shoulder and chicken dinners. (502 W. Garfield Ave., 414-374-4502)

Heaven’s Table BBQ
BBQ is the focus here. Beef brisket, pork ribs, smoked chicken, smoked salmon, along with meat platters. You can also order smoked meats by the pound. Sides includes grits, mac and cheese, coleslaw and baked beans. (Crossroads Collective, 2238 N. Farwell Ave., 414-732-7109)

Curry goat and oxtails with double cabbage (Photo by Chris Kessler)

Island Jam
Call ahead. Caribbean-inspired menu including oxtails, jerk chicken, curry goat and curry chicken. (2703 S. Chicago Ave., South Milwaukee, 414-301-4699)

Jewel’s Caribbean
Open for carryout and for delivery by Grubhub and DoorDash. Wings (with many different sauces), jerk chicken dinner, fried plantains. (2230 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., 414-585-0678)

Mr. Perkins Family Restaurant
Check Facebook for updates. Carryout. Serving breakfast items and/or light lunch. (2001 E. Atkinson Ave., 414-447-6660)

On the Bayou
Curbside pickup Tues-Sat 3-8 p.m. Menu includes catfish and shrimp po’ boys, small or large crab boil, Cajun fish platter, catfish platter and signature gumbo. (2053 N. Martin Luther King Dr., 414-539-5432)

Pass da Peas 
Smothered steak, tilapia, catfish, beef ribs with BBQ sauce or gravy, salmon croquettes, meatloaf and other dishes. Tues-Sat 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m. (7870 W. Appleton Ave., 414-393-0992)

Pepper Pot
Catering company known for jerk chicken, Jamaican rice and beans and many other dishes. (4120 W. Capitol Dr., 414-628-7032)

Rise & Grind Café #2
(2737 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Dr., 414-249-3846)

Shindig Coffee (Photo by Sara Stathas)

Sherman Phoenix, a multi-use commercial space built as a catalyst for unity following a fatal shooting by police in the Sherman Park neighborhood in 2016. The small businesses located here offer diverse foods. (3536 W. Fond du Lac Ave.)

Speed Queen
Rib and pork shoulder dinners are what folks like here, along with sides like coleslaw, yams and collard greens. (1130 W. Walnut Ave., 414-265-2900)

Uppa Yard Jamaican Restaurant 
Various island specialties — curry chicken, brown stew chicken, curry goat and jerk pork. (4925 W. Fond du Lac Ave., 414- 871-7138)



Ann Christenson has covered dining for Milwaukee Magazine since 1997. She was raised on a diet of casseroles that started with a pound of ground beef and a can of Campbell's soup. Feel free to share any casserole recipes with her.