INDIANAPOLIS — Getting the word out about Black businesses and letting restaurants know they have some support is the goal of a dining event similar to Devour Indy, focusing on Black-owned dining options.
"You can ride down any main strip, in any city, any state and you can pretty much point out any restaurant, but if it's a Black-owned restaurant, somebody pretty much have to tell you about it," said Carmen Davenport, Founder & CEO of Black Dolla Indy.
It's a barrier that some say is keeping Black-owned businesses from flourishing.
"There was a need, but we didn't know we needed it,” said Davenport.
So, Davenport created “Black Dolla Dinning Days" to help elevate the nearly 200 Black restaurants across the Circle City.
"Being that we are at Ivy Tech in Lawrence, a lot of people didn't even know that we existed," said Brady Foster, owner of Foster’s Café & Catering.
Foster opened his doors a week before the pandemic hit.
"We ended up having to close for about six months," said Foster.
In 2021, Davenport held the first "Dining Days" with 39 participating restaurants, helping restaurants like Foster's.
"That exposure helped bring people from across the city," said Foster.
“We saved a lot of businesses. We're named one of the groups responsible for the increase of Black businesses," said Davenport.
"I have a particular menu for the dining days. I'm doing a seafood grilled cheese with a lobster bisque," said Foster.
So far, at least 15 restaurants have registered for this year's dining days.
"It's a two-week-long event ... We made it really flexible. You can participate for one day, five days, or ten days. It's really simple ... just register and let us do the rest," said Davenport.
The last day for restaurants to register to participate is Friday, February 17. There is a $25 fee to help with advertising and marketing costs.
The dining event will begin on February 26 and end on March 11.