Toyota’s Entreprenurial EnTOURage experience swept through Philly and encouraged us to support a black owned restaurant during our virtual meeting. I decided that one was not enough and created a Philly soul food tour.
What is Soul Food?
According to Delish, it originated in the mid-1960s, when “soul” was a common word used to describe African-American culture. At its core, soul food is basic, down-home cooking that's been passed down through many generations, with its roots in the rural South. It is food that soothes the soul and makes you feel great like according to my daughter, Peggy’s (my mom) Mac and cheese. Whooooo. That stuff is D E L I C I O U S!!!!!!!
Philadelphia is rich in black heritage and culture so it is no wonder that we have some amazing black owned restaurants. With so many dining restrictions due to Covid-19 many are closing, offering take out, or pivoting to stay afloat. I was happy to support these businesses and plan to support more each month.
My tour started at at South Kitchen Jazz Bar, where I was impressed with the curbside pick up and food options. Home to the honey drizzled skillet cornbread and mac and cheese, the restaurant serves up a mixture of soul food and country fare. There is also an array of specially priced cocktails, beer, wine and a 50-bottle bourbon and whiskey program.
Visit South at 600 N Broad Street
Second spot on the tour, Bookers Restaurant and Bar located in West Philly. Brussel sprouts are a favorite of mine to snack on so these were gobbled in the car after I washed my hands of course. The restaurant offers Southern inspired cuisine. Named after Booker Wright, a server who risked and later lost his life for voicing what it was like to be a Black waiter in the 1960s in an all-white restaurant in Mississippi, has been a favorite since its opening.
Bookers is located at 5201 Baltimore Avenue
Veganish was my final destination on the tour. I try to alternate between meat and meatless dishes. As a beef burger guru, I wanted to see how I felt about their burger since so many people love it. It was a different taste but the spicy cutlet and fried fish remain my favorites. And don’t forget to grab some homemade tea.
Veganish is located at 1214 N 52nd street
I learned about Aksum while riding down Baltimore avenue in West Philly and decided to stop by but on a different day. It’s a small quaint restaurant that offers Mediterranean cuisine. The food was delicious and I liked that I could bring my own wine.
As luck would have it, Restaurant week is fast approaching so it is the perfect opportunity to try some new cuisines. I have my eye on a few other black owned spots and will be checking them out. Most offer take out and dine in, I highly suggest making a reservation where possible.
Until September 25th, restaurants are offering multi-course prix fixe menus for $20 lunches and $35 dinners to take home or enjoy at the restaurant.
Beginning September 19th to October 4th, various restaurants are offering three courses for as low as $15.
Black restaurant week is committed to the education and awareness of the Black Culinary Industry in the United States of America. It highlights the diverse cultures of most black owned restaurants. These event happens in most major cities but will occur in Philly, October 16 -25th.
These are a great way support your favorite restaurants or discover a new one.