16 New Black-Owned Restaurants In LA guide image

LAGuide

16 New Black-Owned Restaurants In LA

In this guide, you’ll find everything from Creole to halal to BBQ.

Between the rise of omicron and the fact that our bathroom door fell off the hinges ages ago and our landlord still hasn’t fixed it (yes, this is a callout, Mike), 2021 was pretty rocky. But there is a silver lining—the Black-owned pop-ups, shops, and restaurants that emerged in Los Angeles. 1010Wine brought Inglewood its first wine bar, Santa Monica is now home to Berbere, one of our favorite Ethiopian restaurants in the city, and in the South Bay, Crystals Soul Café serves vegan dishes out of a plant-filled space that borders on dream-like. In this guide, you’ll find everything from Creole to Halal to BBQ. Read more about these fantastic new Black-owned spots below on our guide—and get to eating.

THE SPOTS

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1010 Wine

$$$$

1010 N La Brea Ave, Inglewood
Earn 3X Points

When Inglewood needed a wine bar, sisters Leslie and LeAnn Jones were there to deliver. Tired of leaving their neighborhood for a night out, the two combined their experience in luxury wedding planning and wine respectively to create the first and only wine bar in the City of Champions. 1010Wine is an upscale experience, a communal place where you’ll dine on charcuterie boards and peach cobbler panna cotta, and choose from the largest selection of Black-owned wines and beers in the city. There are sparkling rosé from Ebony Wine and Spirits, aromatic Riesling from Black Girl Magic Wines, and canned wines from Sipwell Wien Co.

After eight years of running a plant-based catering company, owners Baba Wo’se Kofi and Lauren “Anu” Wolley Ross built a brick-and-mortar shop in the Historic Crenshaw District. The two combined their skills—yoga, social work, community service for Lauren, and years of culinary experience at Stuff I Eat for Baba—to create a vegan powerhouse. It’s now a place to eat BBQ tofu, lentil fritters, potato chowder, and chocolate cake slathered in cashew frosting. The specialty here is the vegan veggie patties—a Jamaican-style dish sold by the dozen, and stuffed with curry potato, cabbage, sweet yam, savory hibiscus, and more.

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Berbere, the BYOB counter-service spot run by chef Tezeta Alemayehu (the person behind T&T Lifestyle at Smorgasburg), is home to incredible plant-based Ethiopian dishes that are easy for just about anyone to love. Yes, even your friend who’s built her whole personality around carne asada. Our favorite here is the Eat The Rainbow, a combination meal that comes with legumes, vegetables, and a few rolls of injera. Both the red lentil and turmeric garbanzo stews are creamy and rich, while the purple cabbage with potatoes and sauteed greens smell like a well-stocked spice cabinet.

The motto at Big Antz BBQ is “slower is better,” which means ribs, brisket, and hot links are prepared with the dedication it takes to get through a three-hour movie. Originally founded by Papa Hypolite in 1987, Big Antz lives on through his son, Big Ant, in Glassell Park and more recently, Koreatown. There are six-ounce brisket plates, baby back ribs smothered in house-made sauce, Louisiana hot links, and 10-hour-smoked pulled pork.

One of our favorite pop-ups in the entire world, Caribbean Gourmet, now has a permanent spot in the San Gabriel Valley. They opened in Blossom Market Hall early 2022, and here, Guyanese chef Yonette Alleyne serves Jamaican patties, jerk chicken rubbed in freshly roasted cumin, tender oxtail stew, and a number of specials. On any given day, expect salted cod sprinkled in garlic and onions, baked mac and cheese, or pholourie, a fritter-like snack popular in Guyana and Trinidad.

Under a bright yellow awning on Wilshire sits Caribbean Soul Kitchen. The Panamanian restaurant makes brown stew chicken, fried red snapper, hearty sancocho stews, and yuca balls—deep-fried and golden, topped with parmesan cheese. It’s run by chef RJ, who uses traditional Panamanian cooking techniques, and a mix of African, Spanish, and Native American flavors. Check in for their latest juice flavors, which have rotated between tamarind, mango, cucumber, sorrel, and hibiscus.

Over in Downtown LA, Cecilia's Caribbean Cuisine offers Zabiha Halal food—they're one of the only Island restaurants in the city to do so. Dishes here embed owner Sean Romeo’s vision of fine dining Caribbean food, which includes ackee and saltfish, organic escovitch snapper, curry chicken patties, and more, served out of a trendy, modern space on W. 11th Street.

Crystals Soul Food Café in the South Bay feels like a Barbie dreamhouse, one where plants hang from every available space, and hot-pink lighting and colorful art are everywhere. The creativity applies to the food as well. So, you’ll find plant-based dishes like the psychedelic soul plate with fresh lion's mane mushrooms and thyme herbs, vegan chili with parmesan corn cake, sushi fries topped with mango and eel sauce, and vegan lasagna.

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Fixins Soul Kitchen

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Inspired by his Grandma Glady’s famous peach cobbler and the BBQs he grew up going to as a child, Kevin Johnson, NBA All-Star and Mayor of Sacramento, created Fixin’s Soul Kitchen along with his wife Michelle. There are two locations—the original is in the Bay Area—and both serve soul dishes like deep-fried deviled eggs, shrimp and grits, black-eyed peas, and pork chops smothered in roux brown gravy and pickled onions.  

Out of a colorful Mid-Wilshire space, Island Boy Café brings together Caribbean and French food. In the morning, you’ll find croissant egg and cheese sandwiches, French toast made with multi-grain brioche, and organic orange juice; then at night, stewed lamb over aromatic basmati rice, Trinidadian curry chicken, and Fisherman’s Soup, a delicious broth of swordfish, vegetables, and dumplings.

Aside from Captain Americas and people in Elmo costumes wearing backpacks, Jerk Kitchen roams the streets of Hollywood. But instead of overpriced photo ops, this Caribbean food truck serves rib tips, oxtails, jerk burgers, garlic mashed potatoes, a featured punch of the day, and rasta pasta. All dinners come with two sides of your choice and on Tuesdays, $2 jerk tacos are served until 3am.

During trips to Chicago, Tabitha Brown fell in love with vegan restaurant, Kale My Name—so much so, that the actress approached the owner and brought it to Encino. You can now find fun, plant-based dishes, like “brunchpanadas” filled with cream cheese and guava, jackfruit lox, oyster mushroom wraps, cauliflower wings and waffles, plus sweets from Southern Girl Desserts.

BLVD Market’s newest addition, Nola Cajun and Creole, specializes in Southern dishes like fried catfish po’boy sandwiches, spicy jambalaya, gumbo and andouille sausage. It’s run by chef Keiven Cross, a seasoned restaurant veteran. He’s now created the colorful stall in the Montebello food hall, and there’s plenty of fried shrimp and collard greens to share, plus room to sit on their sunny patio. Oh, and they sell their signature hot sauce by the bottle.

After years of running LA’s only Puerto Rican food truck, chef Omayra Dakis opened Rumba Kitchen in Little Tokyo. You’ll find an entire menu dedicated to mofongo here, including a classic version, one with grilled skirt steak, shrimp, chicken, or sweet plantains. Located in a lush space filled with tropical wallpaper and neon signs, Rumba Kitchen serves codfish fritter cakes, hand-cut tomahawk pork chops, pollo guisado, and canned Puerto Rican sodas. 

Welcome to The Nile Bar, a sports bar in Inglewood within walking distance from SoFi Stadium and The Forum. They have everything needed for a night spent screaming at the TV, praying to a higher power (Tom Cruise?) for your team to win. Screens are stacked up, next to, and diagonally across from each other. There are also multiple floors, a stage for DJs, and Happy Hour specials Monday through Saturday from 3-7pm. Bar snacks include garlic truffle fries, beef sliders, and buffalo shrimp, plus plenty of beers and specialty cocktails.

This soul food restaurant serves brunch like you’d have it in the South—biscuits and gravy, shrimp and grits, maple bacon, and chicken and waffles pack the menu. The twist? It’s all vegan. In May 2021, chef Velvet Jacobs turned her plant-based pop-up into a restaurant and now offers some of the best soul food around. If it’s your first time here, get the soul plate. It comes with all the heavy hitters, like plant-based chicken, shrimp, unbelievably creamy mac and cheese, cornbread, collard greens, and sweet candied yams for dessert.

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