Atlanta stands as a city that embraces diversity and culture. Black Restaurant Week will highlight the diversity and culture of the city’s culinary industry. Presented by NOSH Culinary Showcase at State Farm Arena, the event kicks off in Atlanta on Aug.12.
Warren Luckett, co-founder of BRW, and Joe Schafer, Senior Executive Chef for Levy at State Farm Arena, recently shared their thoughts on Black Restaurant Week and what it means for the city of Atlanta.
Let’s start by talking about Black Restaurant Week in Atlanta. What makes Atlanta a special place to host this event?
Warren Luckett: We have over 100 participating restaurants in the greater Atlanta area that’ll be offering specials. What makes the event special is that we know that the culinary industry is more than just restaurants. And so during Black Restaurant Week, we love to host our signature events that really targets and highlights some other aspects of the culinary industry. On August 12, we will be hosting our national culinary showcase at the State Farm Arena. And we’re so excited that they’re going to showcase these amazing chefs, caterers, and even food trucks. It’ll be an all you can eat affair.
Why was it important for State Farm Arena to host this event?
Joe Schafer: It was brought to my attention by one of my superiors within Levy at State Farm that it has been something Levy has done with a couple of other properties around the country prior to this. But at the end of the day, it’s another thing for the Hawks to connect with the community and showcase some businesses that might not otherwise get this kind of spotlight.
What makes Atlanta’s culture different when it comes to food?
Luckett: Atlanta has its wings, as you very well know. We’re excited to not only see that, but also just to see what other culinary creations that chefs and creators are going to make. Within Black Restaurant Week, we we look to highlight the whole diaspora and so that’s food coming from Black Americans, Africans, and even the Caribbean.
There are several Black-owned restaurants in State Farm Arena. What has it been like to offer those choices at the arena?
Schafer: It’s been great, we currently have three Black-owned restaurant partners at the arena on the food side. And they all have been with us since the changeover and renovation with the arena. It’s been a great ride…We want our food choices to be reflective of the community and maintaining our sort of true to Atlanta identity. We do focus on Black-owned businesses, they make up a large percentage of the businesses in the city of Atlanta and they don’t often get the highlight that they deserve. It is about providing some variety and showcasing a lot of different talent levels across the city.
What kind of experience can they expect from Black Restaurant Week?
Luckett: One thing we asked of attendees is for them to come hungry. We ask that you hold off on eating to make sure that you have the appropriate appetite necessary to enjoy all these wonderful delicacies that are going to be on display. I think what folks should expect is going to be the variety of foods. When we talk about Black culinary food in this country, sometimes we get put into a box. This event is going to provide opportunity to showcase the diverse foods within the Black diaspora.