Every year Black Restaurant Week in Madison has grown in size and in prestige. For the past several years, Madison’s Black Chamber of Commerce has used Black Restaurant Week to highlight the ever-growing diversity in food and culture around Madison, as well as to illustrate the scope of black-owned businesses in Dane County. This year, Black Restaurant week will feature a new event, the first ever Jamboree.
The Jamboree, which will be on Friday, August 9 from 5 to 8 pm at Badger Rock Neighborhood Center, will be an intro to Black Restaurant week by showing off some of Madison’s finest chefs, caterers and food carts.
Anyone attending the Jamboree will get to experience first hand the tastes of the brick-and-mortar restaurants, catering services and local food carts by experiencing samples from each.
The Jamboree is open for families and children. It will feature music in addition to food and will cost $2 to attend.
“This is harnessing the power of black excellence,” Madison Black Chamber Vice President Claude Gilmore told Madison365. “This is just to give people a flavor of what they’re to look forward to all week. We’re excited about it.”
The Friday event serves as a prelude to Black Restaurant Week which officially takes place from August 11-18. Some of the area’s most popular restaurants like Buraka, George’s Chicken and Fish, Kingdom Cafe, The Anointed one, The Wing King and McGee’s Chicken will be some of the brick-and-mortar restaurants featured.
Food caterers like BT Smokehouse, Kipps Cuisine and Melle Mells will be participating as well. The award-winning CocoVaa Chocolatier will be offering samples as will Mo Better Butter Cookies, and Curtis and Cakes.
“For the kickoff, we’re hoping to have a decent array of people come out to sample the cuisine,” Gilmore said. “Just to have people sample the food and know how to reach the catering businesses or where the food carts are. We want to create a buzz. Each of those places will be making a special dish for this week and hopefully generate more business.”
Gilmore said there are currently more than 313 black-owned businesses around Madison. The Madison Black Chamber has found that the food industry is an impactful way to highlight the growing power of black businesses around town.
“Restaurants are growing,” Gilmore said. “People have good culinary skills. But now they want to be able to take it to scale and our job is to help them. This week allows us to do that. The world is very diverse and food is very diverse. So get out there and try those new things!”
Black Restaurant Week has become more popular in each of the 4 years that the Madison Black Chamber has hosted it. Both Gilmore and the Madison Black Chamber as a whole give all the credit for this event to event coordinator Milele Chikasa Anana.
“It’s through Milele Chikasa Anana’s passion for this that we are able to do this,” Gilmore told Madison365. “This is part of what she really believes in and I’m just giving her credit. We acknowledge her contribution.”