Are you ready to dig in to Memphis Black Restaurant Week?

Memphis-area Black-owned restaurants are prepping special menus and deals for their biggest week of the year.

Memphis Black Restaurant Week runs March 7-13 and is supporting 21 Black-owned businesses this year. Hungry diners can order special deals from restaurants located all over the Memphis area.

As a pandemic precaution, this is the first year that no dine-in meals will be served as part of the promotion. Delivery and/or curbside pickup will be available, depending on the restaurant.

Independent Memphis restaurants have struggled and some have even shuttered over the past year because of the decline in sales caused by the pandemic. Many have applied for federal funding only to be denied. MBRW is a fun annual event that always brings a welcome bump in sales, but this year it could even save some small businesses from closing their doors.

“Typically, restaurants see their sales triple during MBRW, along with gaining new repeat customers,” said Cynthia Daniels, creator of the event.

Daniels is the event planner and marketing consultant who is also responsible for Black Business Friday, the Black Health Expo, Black Beauty and Bridal Expo, and more events geared toward Black Memphians.

She said participating eateries may not have the advertising budget to reach customers on their own, so MBRW brings much-needed visibility. That boost often lasts longer than the publicized event week.

“Some patrons also come after the week is over as they strategically want to go down to the list to eat at every participating restaurant,” Daniels said.

The City of Memphis Office of Business Diversity and Compliance is the title sponsor of the event and will be providing employment resources to business owners. Other community partners include the Memphis Grizzlies and 88.5 FM.

This is Memphis Black Restaurant Week's sixth year of promoting minority-owned eateries. Daniels said the response has grown quickly over the years. In 2016, its first year, 3,000 patrons participated. Last year, participation had grown to 20,000. She expects even more patrons this year because of the focus on pickup and delivery orders.

Join the crowd—check out the list below and find yourself a new neighborhood favorite. 
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Read more articles by Sarah Rushakoff.

Sarah Rushakoff was raised in Memphis and is a graduate of White Station High School and the University of Memphis. She is a longtime member of Our Own Voice Theatre Troupe and works professionally as a graphic designer, writer, and photographer.