Black Restaurant Week enters its third year next week with fried chicken, fried fish, barbecue ribs, pizza and chocolates.
Specials will include a seafood gumbo from That BBQ Joint on Williamson Street and jerk chicken and fufu from Kingdom Restaurant on East Washington Avenue, run by Mahamadou Tunkara, who used to own Burgers and Ethnic Food B-B-Q in the West Towne Mall food court.
From Aug. 12-19, those who live in and around Madison are encouraged to patronize black-owned restaurants, food carts, caterers and specialty shops.
The event, organized by Madison Black Chamber of Commerce, is dedicated to the memory of Bonefish Grill chef/managing partner Rod Ladson, 50, who died from a heart attack last month.
"These chefs have such delicious food and it's authentic food," said chamber member Milele Chikasa Anana, publisher of UMOJA magazine. "All the restaurants are happy and they're having specials and we're moving forward."
Madison's popular "Restaurant Week" dates to 2007, and has been such a success for Madison Magazine that it started holding the events twice a year.
The idea is for diners to eat reasonably priced three-course meals at high-end restaurants for a set price -- starting at $25, before drinks, tax and tip.
With Black Restaurant Week, there are no prix-fixe meals, but each participating food vendor will have a special during the week, Anana said.
The restaurants are: Anointed One, BP Smokehouse (Tomah), Buraka, David’s Jamaican, Falbo Bros. (North Sherman Avenue), George’s Chicken & Fish (Sun Prairie), Jamerica, Kingdom Restaurant, McGee’s Chicken, That BBQ Joint and Wing King.
Food carts are: Cafe Costa Rica, JD’s Soul Food, Jerk Paradise, Little Red Barn, Papa’s BBQ, Rib Masters and Sunrise Fast Soul Food.
Caterers are: Bartender 608, CocoVaa Chocolatier, Curtis & Cake, HMI Catering, Kipp’s Kitchen, Melly Mel’s, Mo’ Betta Butter Cookies and Valice’s Sweet Potato Pies & Cakes.
Tunkara's Kingdom Restaurant opened in January in Capitol Petro Mart, 2702 E. Washington Ave., in a space that used to be a gyro shop. Tunkara said business there is much better there than at West Towne Mall. There's some seating, but it's mostly carry-out.
"We're accustomed to meat and french fries, but now these restaurants have vegetables, which fits in right along with the healthy," Anana said. "They have black-eyed peas and green beans and collards, and all those kinds of vegetables that are such staples in the black community."
Anana can't say enough about That BBQ Joint, 901 Williamson St., run by Clement Henriques and his mother, Maureen White. "You can't beat it. He has the best barbecue in the country -- not just in the city -- in the country. He can stand up to Memphis, Tennessee, and Nashville, and New Orleans and Dallas and all of that."