20+ Black Owned Restaurants in New Orleans – Where to eat during Essence Fest!

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I know you hear me talk about Los Angeles and Paris so much that you probably think I can’t possibly enjoy another city. Well, I have a not-so-secret love for New Orleans, and a huge part of that is the FOOD. While perusing Facebook I stumbled upon a post that mentioned the fact that Essence Fest is right around the corner, and the poster went on to list plenty of amazing places to eat. What stood out was that these are Black owned restaurants in New Orleans and the perfect places to eat not only during Essence Fest, but all year round.

Allison Rucks, maker of natural and organic haircare products for ALL hair types at Allie’s Natural Hair Community, pointed out the fact that “some restaurants in the Quarter would rather ‘close for repairs’ than serve you during Essence Fest.” We really shouldn’t be surprised. According to Allison, “Essence Festival brings $300,000,000 in revenue to New Orleans and less than 4% of that revenue is directed to BOB’s (Black owned businesses).” She asks that we give our beloved French Quarter a rest as far as patronizing those particular restaurants and check out nearby areas such as Bayou St. John, Treme, Mid City and Central City. Umm, I think we can do that if we know good food is waiting. They’re just a short Uber/Lyft ride away and many are accessible by streetcar.

Without further ado, here’s Allison’s mega list of Black owned restaurants in New Orleans that you shouldn’t pass up during your visit:

  1. The Munch Factory $$-$$$

This restaurant comes highly recommended by visitors and locals alike. They’re serving up delicious Creole inspired dishes such as Nola Cakes and Gumbo, but also yummy east like Tuna Tacos and Sweet and Spicy Shrimp.

2. Cafe Dauphine $$

3. Neyow $$

4. Bennachin $-$$

This restaurant is perfect for trying something new while in the Big Easy. Vegetarian friendly AND West African cuisine? I’m there.

5. Dooky Chase $$

So, President Barack Obama ate here. That’s all I should have to say. This famous restaurant opened its doors in 1941 and has been serving tourists and locals ever since. It’s the perfect place for creole favorites such as po’ boys, Shrimp Clemenceau, and Chicken Creole.

6. Boswell’s Jamaican Grill $

7. Big Shirley’s $

8. Willie Mae’s Scotch House $$

9. Court of Two Sisters $$$

10. Dirty Dishes $

Believe it or not, as much as I love soul food, I’ve never been here for grits. Like ever. It wasn’t until a friend recently cooked me brunch that I found out what the hype was all about. So imagine how much my mouth is watering by just looking at this masterpiece whipped up by the Dirty Dishes chef. This restaurant is also the very first I’ve seen with a solid 5 star rating and rave reviews. The people know what’s good.

11. Pepperoni Rays $

12. Ma Momma’s House of Cornbread, Chicken & Waffles $

13. Sassafras $$

14. Red Rooster $

15. Pelican Bay $

To be honest, if the mac n’ cheese doesn’t look like this, I DON’T WANT IT. The owners of Pelican Bay were born and raised in New Orleans, aka they know a thing or two about Nawlins cuisine. You can find everything from fried pickles to a friend catfish supper on the menu.

16. Lil’ Dizzy’s $

17. Cafe Rose Nicaud $

18. The Gumbo Shop $$

19. 14 Parishes $

Jamaican in New Orleans? Me thinks YES.

20. Cafe Abyssinia $$

When traveling, there are some foods I just have to have no matter where I am in the world. A lot like when I enjoyed Jamaican food in Malta of all places, I’m sure plenty visit New Orleans and crave Ethiopian. I personally am not judging you. Here’s where to go for it.

21. CupCake Fairy $$

22. Krewe du Brew – Coffeehouse $

23. The Praline Connection $$

24. Loretta’s Pralines $

According to Allison, Loretta’s has “the BEST EVER crabmeat beignets.” I didn’t know people were out here stuffing already delicious beignets with anything, but I.AM.HERE.FOR.IT.

And if that wasn’t enough, here are some amazing FOOD TRUCKS you need to flag down if you see them:

  1. Rolling Fatties
  2. Ms Jackie’s
  3. Ms Linda Green
  4. Bittle With the Vittles
  5. Diva Dawg’s
  6. Black Swan Food Experience
  7. Afrodisiac

Let me know if you’ve been to any of these places and what you thought! And be sure to check out Allison’s Natural Hair Community and support yet another much needed Black owned business. Bon appétit!

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