LOS ANGELES – As protests over the death of George Floyd spearheaded by Black Lives Matter and other activists continue around SoCal, a list compiling black-owned restaurants in L.A. has been circulating. The list has gone viral, with other cities creating their own versions.
Mark Walker, owner of Comfort LA, says it's important to support black-owned restaurants and businesses. Walker says Comfort LA serves as a gathering place for people of all ages, colors, and genders to have open discussions in a comfortable environment, while celebrating African American culture without bias or negativity, just love.
“The collard greens, the candied yams, mac and cheese, all those things are culturally African American experience, the southern experience,” said Walker.
As a black restaurant owner with a location two blocks from Skid Row, he knows the hardships often associated with maintaining a business. He says minorities often don’t have the money to open locations in busier, notable areas that draw more attention.
“Black-owned businesses are at a huge disadvantage, because often time the access to capital is not there, so you can’t afford to be in a prominent area where you have the accessibility to many patrons, because it’s just not feasible,” said Walker.
This is why he's happy to see the list circulating on the internet showcasing black-owned restaurants in L.A. He says it's already introducing delicious food and compassionate owners to new diners.
“With a list like this then forcing people to say, ‘Oh, this is available. Let me go out and try this, I haven’t tried this before.’ It’s bringing more customers,” said Walker.
The original document was created by Editorial Assistant at The Infatuation, Kat Hong.
She said this was the one thing she knew how to do and was a way for her to show her support during the week of Black Lives Matter protests. Hong says many of restaurants have sold out of food this week and the outcome was beyond her wildest dreams.
But Walker says it can’t stop this week and that this should be part of everyone’s daily life.
“Understand that if you try something and you like it, give it a shot, come back, go visit the restaurant, add it to your list and that’s how they restaurants will have a longevity,” he said.
Even though Comfort LA is a successful restaurant, Walker says they experience this each year during Black History Month. Big companies hire them to cater for that month only. But he feels it shouldn’t be an isolated movement during a single month, or a week of protests.
“We ought to think consciously, how do we support that business on a regular basis. Then collectively those businesses can grow and as a society if the intent is to all coexists and to create this equal environment, then that’s how we will get there,” said Walker.
Check out the list for yourself if you'd like to try something new and support a black-owned restaurant in L.A.