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A cajun seafood pasta dish. Star Fusion

The Essential Black-Owned Restaurants of Philadelphia

Celebrate these marvelous Black-owned restaurants, bars, and cafes all year long

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Philly’s Black-owned restaurants are a force to be reckoned as spaces that not only serve memorable meals, but provide solidarity and comfort to diverse communities. In Philly, these dining spots help fuel an economy whose population is a majority of color. Such restaurants often use their resources to address sociopolitical issues in the Black community, provide professional opportunities, and expand the culinary palate of a town that’s often known for its cheesesteaks and hoagies.

Black culture has a widespread influence that showcases various cuisines, including fine dining, dishes prepared in the African tradition, and those with roots peppered across the American South. They also prove that Black food is not a monolith but rather inventive, beautiful, continuously evolving, and deserving of celebration all year long.

While several of these restaurants may not always get the recognition they often deserve, they are essential to the foodways of our society.

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Star Fusion

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At Star Fusion, chef Darlene Jones dreams up effortless amalgamations of Thai, Caribbean, and American dishes. The menu includes an eclectic blend of extra-special seasoned wings, scrumptious spring rolls, sizzling beef and wholesome plant-based smash burgers, and larger-than-life party platters. This makes it easy to find something for everyone to enjoy.

Jim’s West

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When co-owner Cortez Johnson purchased and revived this cheesesteak shop with a long-standing history dating back to the 1930s, it may have sparked some controversy, but he has quickly gained notoriety and praise from new and longtime customers. Adding his own flair (their menu now features additional cheesesteak toppings, tasty hoagies, and banana pudding) to this infamous Philly favorite, Jim’s West easily outshines many of the other cheesesteak options in the city.

Cheesesteak with fried onions and peppers. Jim’s West

Toast Cafe

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This brunch-centric cafe offers decadent and inventive takes on classic comfort foods, including French toast flights (past options have included praline, lemon blueberry, and nutty buddy), oxtail and grits (served on Sundays), and bourbon chicken and waffles.

Booker's Restaurant & Bar

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This popular spot was acquired by couple Tracey and Cheri Syphax in 2023 but continues to pay homage to its charming origins as a Southern culinary gem in West Philly. Open seven days a week for brunch and dinner, stop by to get a taste of their sizable menu full of soulful favorites like jambalaya, deviled eggs, blackened catfish, and much more.

Honeysuckle Provisions

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Not only did this take-out cafe and market earn the distinction of one of Eater’s Best New Restaurants in America in 2023, but its executive chefs and owners Omar Tate and Cybille St. Aude-Tate just became semifinalists for a James Beard Award for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic in 2024. Offering a mix of pastries (the plantain snack is to die for), sandwiches (its fish hoagie on Fridays is delectable), and more dishes inspired by foods of the African diaspora, visiting here is a must if you are in West Philadelphia.

Doro Bet

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This Ethiopian restaurant in University City serves up a mix of gluten-free and vegan dishes such as fried chicken, shawarma, and falafel. What makes this place stand out is all in its technique: Through their long marination, seasoning with African spices, and generous battering in teff flour — one gets to savor culture and effortless cuisine in a single bite.

A platter of fried chicken, mac n’ cheese, and collared greens, Doro Bet

Kilimandjaro

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This University City restaurant opened its doors in 2005 and continues to be one of the top restaurants in the city for Senegalese cuisine. Here you can enjoy everything from poulet Senegal (sauteed chicken with Senegalese sauce) and fataya (beef patties) to thieboudienne (steamed fish with vegetables).

Two Locals Brewery

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One of the newest additions to University City, brothers Richard and Mengistu Koilor opened Two Locals, Pennsylvania’s first Black-owned brewery and taproom at the beginning of 2024. Stop by to sample some of their award-winning beers and munch on bites from Fishtown’s Liberty Kitchen.

Two Liberian rice dishes served on tray. Two Locals Brewery

Prime Fusion Afro Grill & Lounge

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This Graduate Hospital restaurant and hookah lounge has quickly gained notoriety for its out-of-the-box spins on West African dishes (some favorites being the Naija curry chicken, grilled or fried whole red snapper, and wings coated in 24-karat gold) along with a regularly changing menu of cocktails whose presentations are as magical as their taste.

Down North Pizza

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Deep-dish pizza with “Norf” sauce (a sweet and tangy sauce that consists of tamarind and malta soda), spicy crab fries, and Norfallo (their “Norf” take on buffalo wings) wings aren’t the only things that make this North Philly restaurant so special. Founder and owner Muhammad Abdul-Hadi is also guided by a mission to end mass incarceration by hiring individuals who have been formerly incarcerated, providing them with a fair wage and additional resources and assistance to support their reentry into society.

Friday Saturday Sunday

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This acclaimed Rittenhouse Square restaurant offers one of the finest dining experiences in the city. Here, James Beard Award-winners Chad and Hannah Williams present an exquisite eight-course tasting experience with optional wine pairing. With an ever-evolving menu full of seasonal ingredients, patrons can expect to be wowed with each visit.

Farina Pasta & Noodle

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Choose your own appetizing adventure at this casual pasta and noodle spot where fresh pasta can be made to order with a wide range of sauces like bolognese, Thai peanut butter, and South Philly Alfredo (an infusion of American and Italian Alfredo sauce that includes panchetta). If you’re in the mood for more than pasta, side dishes like the loaded focaccia, meatballs, and arancini are also popular.

Bake'n Bacon

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Bake’n Bacon, which started as a food truck specializing in gourmet bacon sandwiches, gained popularity quickly, and in 2023, owners Justin Coleman and Kelvin Alexander opened a brick-and-mortar in South Philadelphia. While bacon may be the star here, the team also serves epic takes on french fries and mac and cheese.

Brothers Robert and Benjamin Bynum are legends in the Philly food scene, with over three decades of experience in the restaurant industry. At South Jazz Kitchen, which opened in 2015, you can enjoy a menu heavily inspired by Cajun, Creole, and Southern cuisine (including dishes like skillet cornbread, low country catfish and gulf shrimp, and bayou chicken gumbo) while enjoying one of its regular live jazz performances (check out the events calendar to see upcoming acts).

Jamaican D's

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There are plenty of phenomenal Caribbean spots in Philadelphia, but if you’re in the mood for solid Jamaican dishes (like brown stew chicken, jerk wings, or curry goat), this is one of Philly’s go-to spots. They not only serve some of the most reputable plantains, sweet potatoes, cornbread, and rice and beans — but at a ridiculously affordable price (most of their large meal platters are under $15).

Star Fusion

At Star Fusion, chef Darlene Jones dreams up effortless amalgamations of Thai, Caribbean, and American dishes. The menu includes an eclectic blend of extra-special seasoned wings, scrumptious spring rolls, sizzling beef and wholesome plant-based smash burgers, and larger-than-life party platters. This makes it easy to find something for everyone to enjoy.

Jim’s West

When co-owner Cortez Johnson purchased and revived this cheesesteak shop with a long-standing history dating back to the 1930s, it may have sparked some controversy, but he has quickly gained notoriety and praise from new and longtime customers. Adding his own flair (their menu now features additional cheesesteak toppings, tasty hoagies, and banana pudding) to this infamous Philly favorite, Jim’s West easily outshines many of the other cheesesteak options in the city.

Cheesesteak with fried onions and peppers. Jim’s West

Toast Cafe

This brunch-centric cafe offers decadent and inventive takes on classic comfort foods, including French toast flights (past options have included praline, lemon blueberry, and nutty buddy), oxtail and grits (served on Sundays), and bourbon chicken and waffles.

Booker's Restaurant & Bar

This popular spot was acquired by couple Tracey and Cheri Syphax in 2023 but continues to pay homage to its charming origins as a Southern culinary gem in West Philly. Open seven days a week for brunch and dinner, stop by to get a taste of their sizable menu full of soulful favorites like jambalaya, deviled eggs, blackened catfish, and much more.

Honeysuckle Provisions

Not only did this take-out cafe and market earn the distinction of one of Eater’s Best New Restaurants in America in 2023, but its executive chefs and owners Omar Tate and Cybille St. Aude-Tate just became semifinalists for a James Beard Award for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic in 2024. Offering a mix of pastries (the plantain snack is to die for), sandwiches (its fish hoagie on Fridays is delectable), and more dishes inspired by foods of the African diaspora, visiting here is a must if you are in West Philadelphia.

Doro Bet

This Ethiopian restaurant in University City serves up a mix of gluten-free and vegan dishes such as fried chicken, shawarma, and falafel. What makes this place stand out is all in its technique: Through their long marination, seasoning with African spices, and generous battering in teff flour — one gets to savor culture and effortless cuisine in a single bite.

A platter of fried chicken, mac n’ cheese, and collared greens, Doro Bet

Kilimandjaro

This University City restaurant opened its doors in 2005 and continues to be one of the top restaurants in the city for Senegalese cuisine. Here you can enjoy everything from poulet Senegal (sauteed chicken with Senegalese sauce) and fataya (beef patties) to thieboudienne (steamed fish with vegetables).

Two Locals Brewery

One of the newest additions to University City, brothers Richard and Mengistu Koilor opened Two Locals, Pennsylvania’s first Black-owned brewery and taproom at the beginning of 2024. Stop by to sample some of their award-winning beers and munch on bites from Fishtown’s Liberty Kitchen.

Two Liberian rice dishes served on tray. Two Locals Brewery

Prime Fusion Afro Grill & Lounge

This Graduate Hospital restaurant and hookah lounge has quickly gained notoriety for its out-of-the-box spins on West African dishes (some favorites being the Naija curry chicken, grilled or fried whole red snapper, and wings coated in 24-karat gold) along with a regularly changing menu of cocktails whose presentations are as magical as their taste.

Down North Pizza

Deep-dish pizza with “Norf” sauce (a sweet and tangy sauce that consists of tamarind and malta soda), spicy crab fries, and Norfallo (their “Norf” take on buffalo wings) wings aren’t the only things that make this North Philly restaurant so special. Founder and owner Muhammad Abdul-Hadi is also guided by a mission to end mass incarceration by hiring individuals who have been formerly incarcerated, providing them with a fair wage and additional resources and assistance to support their reentry into society.

Friday Saturday Sunday

This acclaimed Rittenhouse Square restaurant offers one of the finest dining experiences in the city. Here, James Beard Award-winners Chad and Hannah Williams present an exquisite eight-course tasting experience with optional wine pairing. With an ever-evolving menu full of seasonal ingredients, patrons can expect to be wowed with each visit.

Farina Pasta & Noodle

Choose your own appetizing adventure at this casual pasta and noodle spot where fresh pasta can be made to order with a wide range of sauces like bolognese, Thai peanut butter, and South Philly Alfredo (an infusion of American and Italian Alfredo sauce that includes panchetta). If you’re in the mood for more than pasta, side dishes like the loaded focaccia, meatballs, and arancini are also popular.

Bake'n Bacon

Bake’n Bacon, which started as a food truck specializing in gourmet bacon sandwiches, gained popularity quickly, and in 2023, owners Justin Coleman and Kelvin Alexander opened a brick-and-mortar in South Philadelphia. While bacon may be the star here, the team also serves epic takes on french fries and mac and cheese.

South

Brothers Robert and Benjamin Bynum are legends in the Philly food scene, with over three decades of experience in the restaurant industry. At South Jazz Kitchen, which opened in 2015, you can enjoy a menu heavily inspired by Cajun, Creole, and Southern cuisine (including dishes like skillet cornbread, low country catfish and gulf shrimp, and bayou chicken gumbo) while enjoying one of its regular live jazz performances (check out the events calendar to see upcoming acts).

Jamaican D's

There are plenty of phenomenal Caribbean spots in Philadelphia, but if you’re in the mood for solid Jamaican dishes (like brown stew chicken, jerk wings, or curry goat), this is one of Philly’s go-to spots. They not only serve some of the most reputable plantains, sweet potatoes, cornbread, and rice and beans — but at a ridiculously affordable price (most of their large meal platters are under $15).

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