ATX Black Food Week: Celebrating Black restaurateurs in Austin’s culinary past and future

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Austin (KXAN) — From July 22 through August 3, Black-owned restaurants in Austin are being celebrated through special events designed to highlight their role in Austin’s culinary scene.

ATX Black Food Week will actually run two weeks long this year.

The goal is to inform the community about Austin’s longstanding Black-owned restaurants as well as newer operations started by Black culinary pioneers.

Sassy’s Vegetarian Soul Food is one of the restaurants featured in ATX Black Food Week (KXAN Photo/Alyssa Goard)

Austin Justice Coalition, Austin Area Urban League Young Professionals, Black Foodies of Austin and #ATXinColor are working together on the events during ATX Black Food Week to drum up support for local minority-owned businesses

This will be the second Black Food Week in Austin.

You can RSVP for events during this week here.

hoover's restaurant_1532621516262.JPG.jpg
Hoover’s Cooking Restaurant on Manor Road. (KXAN Photo/Alyssa Goard).

Many of the names listed are legacy restaurants like Hoover’s Cooking and Sam’s BBQ that Austinites have been enjoying for decades. But there are also some very new businesses on the list, many of which are putting a new twist on some classic dishes.

Austin Justice Coalition executive director Chas Moore explained that the purpose is, “to show how diverse the food culture is within the black community. To pay respect to the long-standing black restaurants and also, you know, give a chance to shine a spotlight on the new ones, where I’m pretty sure if the food stays the way it is will become these long-lasting staples just like Hoover’s and Sam’s as well.”

“Austin is a food destination place, people always think of the great food we have in Austin, and we feel that sometimes the black-owned restaurants get left out of that conversation,” Moore explained.

From Pizza…

One of the featured restaurants is Da Slice LLC, which was created two years ago. Owner Bryan Mitchell explained that he started a web video series with a group of artists and comedians who would talk and eat pizza together. Eventually, people started messaging him, asking how they could get some of the pizza in the videos.

At the time Mitchell was working for a tech company, he and his buddy came up with a recipe for a Chicken and Waffle Pizza, inviting people over to enjoy it. People liked the pizza so much, they held another event. He started putting posts out on social media, saying the Chicken and Waffle Pizza would be available for a couple of weeks.

Chicken and Waffle Pizza made by Bryan Mitchell. (KXAN Photo/ Alyssa Goard).

“My inbox exploded,” he recalled.

He decided to leave his tech company job and work in the food business full time.

Currently, they operate out of a commercial kitchen and don’t have a dine-in facility yet, but they can deliver to anywhere in Austin. They also offer catering for events. He’s focused a lot of his efforts on serving pizza and support to communities in East Austin and Northeast Austin.

Bryan Mitchell, owner of Da Slice LLC, cooking at his house. (KXAN Photo/Alyssa Goard).

Long term, he would like to have a brick and mortar location, but in the immediate future, Da Slice will open a trailer on 12th and Chicon.

Mitchell believes Da Slice is the only Black-owned restaurant that serves pizza from scratch in Austin.

“I’m honored to be part of Austin Black Food Week, particularly because I feel like with the way Austin has been changing, I think it’s important to shed a light on black entrepreneurs here in the city in general,”Mitchell said. “But particularly in the food business because everyone has to eat and we have a lot of very talented entrepreneurs here in the food industry whose work should be recognized. “

To a twist on soul food…

Andrea Dawson opened her food truck, Sassy’s Vegetarian Soul Food in November of 2018 on the corner of 12th and Chicon. Dawson used to be a blues and jazz singer, the name Sassy came from her days where music was the center of her world.

Sassy’s Vegetarian Soul Food is one of the restaurants featured in ATX Black Food Week (KXAN Photo/Alyssa Goard)

She decided to focus on soul food, “that was the type of food I wanted to put in my belly.”

Dawson believes what she cooks is healthy, though she admits it’s not the healthiest. She uses different types of substitutes for butter and aims to use spices rather than salt wherever she can.

Though the name of the food truck says vegetarian, Dawson explained that all the ingredients at Sassy’s now are actually vegan. This culinary decision was inspired by Dawson’s own decision to change her eating habits (she is vegetarian, leaning toward becoming vegan, but admits that cheese is hard to part with). Even though she doesn’t use meat products or dairy, it doesn’t stop her from coming up with soul food alternatives like a new Mac and Cheese with Vegan Shrimp.

Vegan Shrimp? Yes, you read that right, it’s a mix of soy and seitan that are flavored and colored to look like shrimp. Dawson said that people love the taste of them too.

Vegan Shrimp from Sassy’s Vegetarian Soul Food truck on 12th and Chicon. (KXAN Photo/ Alyssa Goard).

She explained that one of the highlights of working at this food truck is, “seeing older people come to the truck that are sort of hesitant about doing vegetarian soul food, but they’ll be like ‘my doctor said my blood [pressure] is high so it’s time for me to change the way I eat, so I’m gonna try some of your vegan greens.”

“So they’ll eat it and they’ll be like “these is good!” Dawson laughed. “And that’s a huge like feather in my cap because these people been eating soul food all their life.”

“It means everything,” Dawson said of being featured during Black Food Week. “I am so busy doing the truck that I don’t do a lot of promotion, I don’t know who exactly who all my audience is, so for them to say we recognize you and we’re going to be here is tremendous.”

Each of the featured restaurants will also offer “Eat and Greet” social hours on an assigned day.

Monday July 22
Mr. Catfish & More
1144 Airport Blvd, Austin TX 78702
“Eat and Greet”: 5pm – 8pm

Tuesday July 23
Big Easy Bar and Grill
1806 E 12th St, Austin TX 78702
“Eat and Greet”: 8pm – 10pm

Wednesday July 24
The Gossip Shack / Gossip Shack II
22709 Rogge Ln, Austin TX 78723 / 1615 Grand Avenue Parkway, Pflugerville
“Eat and Greet”: GS 1 4pm – 7pm / GS II 5pm – 8pm

Thursday July 25
Hoover’s Cooking
2002 Manor Rd, Austin TX 78722
“Eat and Greet”: 3pm to 7pm

Friday July 26
Sassy’s Vegetarian Soul Food
1819 E 12th St, Austin TX 78702
Tony’s Jamaican Food
1200 E 11th St, Austin 78702
J. Leonardi’s Barbeque
1124 E 11th St, Austin TX 78702
“Eat and Greet”: 5pm – 10pm

Saturday July 27
Sam’s BBQ
2000 E 12th St, Austin TX 78702
“Eat and Greet”: 4pm – 8pm

Sunday July 28
Winners BBQ Austin
800 W Pecan St, Pflugerville TX 78660
“Eat and Greet”: 12pm to 4pm

Monday July 29
Country Boyz Fixins
4140 E 12th St, Austin TX 78721
“Eat and Greet”: 3pm – 6pm

Tuesday July 30
Baby Greens
1508 W Anderson Ln, Austin TX 78757
“Eat and Greet”: 5pm – 8pm

Wednesday July 31
Bahadi’s Chicken & Lounge
907 Farm to Market 685, Pflugerville TX 78660
“Eat and Greet”: 5pm – 8pm

Thursday August 1
Da Slice LLC
3505 N Interstate 35 Frontage Rd, Austin, TX 78722

Friday August 2
Emojis Grilled Cheese Bar Domain Food Truck Court
My Granny’s Kitchen Domain Food Truck
Krack of Dawn Kafe Domain Food Truck Court
“Eat and Greet”: 5pm – 10pm

Grand Finale
Saturday August 3
Wild Magnolias
15424 Farm to Market Rd 1825 #240. Pflugerville TX 78660
“Eat and Greet”: 5pm – 10pm

sam's BBQ east Austin barbeque
Sam’s BBQ on 12 Street. KXAN Photo.

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