This week kicked off the inaugural Baton Rouge Black Restaurant Week, founded by Gary Chambers (Rouge Collection) and Geno McLaughlin (Abstract Concepts).
” One of the reasons I thought it was good to bring BRW to Baton Rouge was to help highlight and grow black small businesses. Far too often black chefs don’t get the credit for their mastery of cuisine, and this gives us a chance to check out their spots and support them,” says Chambers. ” I got a text from a restaurant owner this morning expressing gratitude for the exposure. He said they had new people who didn’t know about them come by and check them out. That’s what this is about for me, helping connect people with people for good.”
In celebration of Black Restaurant Week, we will profile a few establishments to not only get a taste of local cuisine, but also get insight from owners regarding motivation to establish and ability to maintain a restaurant.
“The conversation needs to be had that while the Black community are so often the cooks, the chefs, & caterers, very rarely are we the restauranteurs, having ownership of an eatery,” said McLaughlin. ” There is so much talent among our community and not enough platforms for them to showcase their skill set. So why not have a cross-cultural exchange where we simply ask patrons from across the capital area to support what we do have, while acknowledging the need for more. And hopefully when an investor is looking to turn their next concept into a reality, they will also consider this pool of qualified culinary artist.”
Cedric Briggs, owner of Pappa’s Soul Food, has been operating in Baton Rouge since 2000. Pappa’s serves lunch daily from 10:30AM-3:00PM, and also offers catering services. Menu items range from red beans and rice to crawfish etouffee, which you can wash down with their specialty blend of lemonade-tea. Pappa’s Soulfood is located at 8386 Airline Hwy, Baton Rouge, La 70806. They also accept call-in orders via phone at (225)201-1048.
Empire Wingz started as a marketing idea to increase drink sales at Victor Smith’s, local nightlife events. Over time, Victor and his partner Derrick Revish created such a buzz, it was only natural that they open a restaurant! Smith talks to us about the responsibility he feels as an entrepreneur to show the youth observing his success they to can pursue dreams/goals beyond their perceived limits and current situation. Empire Wingz serves its customers daily from 11:00 AM to late nights. When you stop in, you have to try the BBQ/Ranch fries! Empire Wingz is located at 8032 Scenic Hwy, Baton Rouge, LA 70807. You can call in an order at 225.388.5281 or order online on the Waitr app.
Stay tuned for more check-ins with the local restaurants featured this year.