Charlotte, NC is ranked sixth place on Forbes’ list for cities where African Americans are doing the best economically. The study factors in home ownership, median income, and entrepreneurship. Conclusively, the restaurant business is booming! In honor of #BlackLoveMonth, here are 7 Black-owned eateries, you should have on your radar!
Owned by reality T.V star Peter Thomas, SportsOne is entering its fourth year of business. Peter saw the need for an upscale lounge in Charlotte where “anybody [could] go to feel comfortable—from a business owner, to a judge, to a banker, or a professional athlete.” SportsOne is "metropolitan" with a "Caribbean flare."
Peter’s father owned a bar in Jamaica, so from an early age, “the importance of taking care of his investment” was instilled in him. Peter “took those lessons” to South Beach Miami, where he opened his “first establishment, then to Atlanta (with BarOne reopening this year), to eventually SportsOne, and later ClubOne in Charlotte. SportsOne is open seven days a week! Check out OneLuv Sundays, featuring authentic Jamaican food prepared by Virgin Islands native, Executive Chef John. Or, if you are in town for the CIAA Tournament, you won’t want to miss day parties Friday through Saturday, and the continuation of the “I Love the 90s Brunch with Moxie Society on Saturday.” Peter has over 100 employees, and 98% of them are African American! Peter always tells his staff: “Preparation + Opportunity = Success.”
2. West End Fresh Seafood Market
West End prides themselves on the slogan: “Fresh From The Sea To You.” They have a “variety of fresh seafood” that they “sell cooked or raw,” and they stand by the values, “if we will not eat it, we will not sell it.” They “prepare it to your taste,” anyway you like it: breaded, cajun, lemon-peppered, garlic, etc…
Owner Bernetta Powell “always wanted a business” but did not know what type of business” to start. Then “one day [she] learned the pharmacy [she] worked at as a teenager was up for sale.” God gave her the idea to start a fish market, since the community did not have one. This birthed West End! Join them now through February 17th for the Valentine Special: Crab/Shrimp Broil For Two. In August, they will celebrate 20 years in business with food, music, and giveaways!
This full service bakery and dessert bar has been around for 7.5 years! They are open seven days a week! You can get a “plethora of different sweet and savory items.” Owner Frankie White says his children inspired his business. “In fact the business carries one of his sons’ names: Bradley White (BW). He passed away from Cancer at just 8 years old. This business pays homage to him as he used to love to be in the kitchen with [Frankie].”
“To [Frankie], being a Black Business Owner means that he has “to work twice as hard to be considered a contender in this market." He elaborates: "there aren’t many Black owned bakeries in the area that have a storefront. The product that comes out of [his] store has to be that much better.”
BW recently opened his second location in December of 2017!
With menu items like the “Chicken and Peach Cobbler (or red velvet) Waffles,” or the “Lobster Mac and Cheese,” it’s not hard to tell why they call themselves Cuzzo's Cuisine! Owner Andarrio Johnson says,“you can taste the love and passion coming from the kitchen.” He describes Cuzzo's as “laid back, family [oriented], and authentic,” where “customer service is key.” Johnson’s main reason for starting his business is because he “didn’t like taking orders from other people.” He believes “working for yourself is like freedom; you don’t have to answer to no one but yourself.”
This soul food restaurant stands out from the rest in many ways. One being that VEGETARIANS can eat their sides! That’s right. They “do not use pork or any meats to season [their] vegetables! They “cook from scratch with fresh ingredients daily.”
Owner Cynthia Davenport opened the restaurant in May of 2016. She worked side by side with her mother in her California restaurant that she operated for over 25 years—until she lost her battle with breast cancer in 2007. ERD’S carries out her mother’s legacy. You can visit their location or order on Uber Eats…and in the future, they will roll out their mobile unit!
Opened since 1985, it’s indeed accomplished as one of Charlotte’s longest-standing black owned restaurants. This restaurant is unique for offering the “taste of the whole Caribbean, not just one island.” They have a line of their own sauces and spices, that they prepare their food in, and they are offered in local grocery stores (Harris Teeter, Food Lion, Publix, and Lowes Foods). Owner Tony Martin’s motto is three words: “Musbe good man!”
STATS is the newest (majority) Black-owned sports bar, minutes away from the University area of Charlotte! Owner Louis Von Rippon opened doors in October of 2017. This 21 and up spot is opened late nights, Tuesday through Sunday, with different specials nightly! They occupy over 11,000 square feet and feature and “outdoor cigar patio.” They have live bands on Wednesdays, 60 cent wings on Thursdays, $5 dollar drinks and live deejays on Fridays, celebrity deejays on Saturdays, and brunch on Sundays. They also host dinners with a celebrity chef once a month. This month, Chef JR Robinson will prepare a 3-course meal for $45 during their Love and Laughter Dinner Party on February 10th!