CHATHAM — Supporting black-owned restaurants and bakeries just got easier thanks to a new website created by a Chatham resident.
Toure Muhammad, 46, said a friend saw a similar website for New York City and challenged him to create one for Chicago. Muhammad said his love for food and unwavering support for black businesses made it easy for him to start working on Blackchicagoeats.com.
The website not only lists black-owned Chicago-area restaurants, but also includes short articles on the restaurant’s history and an "editor’s pick" section where Muhammad shares his favorite spots. Soon, the site will have video and audio content, along with reviews.
This sort of online directory was needed because there are a lot of hidden gems that only a community knows about, Muhammad said. He said a lot of small black businesses aren’t marketing to a wider audience and he wanted to help change that by offering essentially free advertising.
“I love Chicago and the idea that on any given day we can say, ‘Hey, I want Thai food,’ and we know where to go in Chicago to get good Thai, but black restaurants are so diverse,” he said. “We’re more than just Soul Food, but we didn’t have a central directory.”
The site is in its beta phase, but it officially launches Aug. 12. So far Muhammad has been able to find 125 restaurants. He said he wants the list to expand so welcomes recommendations. People can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I’m encouraging folks to go to the directory, pick out a restaurant or two and bring a group of friends to experience it,” he said, adding that he wants people to use #blackchicagoeats so “we can find it and we’ll share it and keep the word going.”
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