Black Metro Eats Restaurant Week debuted last August and is gearing up for its second year with plans to become an annual event.
By Mary Meldrum
After taking an inspirational walking food tour of New Orleans this past year, Lauren Bates realized that something akin to this event would be a cool addition to the Detroit scene. Brainstorming with her partner, Kwaku Osei-Bonsu last May, the two came up with the idea of Black Metro Eats Restaurant Week and became co-founding business partners in the venture.
Featuring cuisine spanning from French, Caribbean, American, Japanese, West African and more, Black Metro Eats Restaurant Week debuted last August.
“By featuring black restaurant owners and chefs in and around Detroit with Black Metro Eats, we brought minority-generated food and culture to the forefront in and around Metro Detroit,” explains Bates, a self-proclaimed foodie.
Bates and Osei-Bonsu plan to organize Black Metro Eats again next August and make it an annual event. They are looking to recruit more restaurants for next year’s restaurant week, and with more time to plan and one year of experience under their belt, 2018’s Black Metro Eats Restaurant Week should be a much larger affair.
Each participating fine dining restaurant offered an optional three-course lunch and a mandatory dinner menu priced at $25 and $35, respectively. Each of the participating casual dining restaurant provided a $15 one-course (plus two sides and a drink) option to their patrons. With a focus on spreading the love, restaurants were located within the Detroit city limits as well as the surrounding suburbs of Royal Oak, Southfield, Farmington and Redford.
“Restaurant week is about giving people that live, work and play in these communities a chance to try something different and new that they may have never thought of trying before,” Bates says. “It is about enjoying really great food. This is just the beginning.”
The positive feedback has inspired Bates and Osei-Bonsu to dive deeper into planning even more events for the coming year under their business umbrella company, Melan8.
Bates and Osei-Bonsu want to expose people to things they may not have experienced before, especially things that are relative to our country’s rich black culture and heritage.
Bates says she is not a chef, but she is an innovator and a true foodie and has a deep appreciation for the detail and stories that go into food. Born in Texas, she grew up with parents who were originally from Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia and learned Southern cooking as well as the historic, cultural and geographic nuances and importance of certain foods,
“I am very familiar with southern cuisine; I grew up on it and that is how I learned to cook, watching my aunts and grandparents,” she says.
“We are looking to share our knowledge and experience with the world. We are excited to be in the mix of the changes that are coming in Detroit and hope to help bring Detroit back to being better than it ever was,” Bates adds. “Detroit is not as bad as the media sometimes makes it out to be. There is always something new coming out and we are excited to be part of that.”
For the latest events from Black Metro Eats, visit blackmetroeats.com.