First-ever Black Restaurant Week kicks off in Las Vegas

Benefits Black-owned restaurants
First-ever Black Restaurant Week kicks off in Las Vegas
First-ever Black Restaurant Week kicks off in Las Vegas
Posted at 8:54 PM, Mar 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-13 00:08:12-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — You now have a chance to score a great meal for a great price while supporting Black-owned businesses.

For the first time ever, Black Restaurant Week is expanding to Las Vegas from Friday, March 12 to Sunday, March 21.

It's essentially a free marketing campaign for Black-owned restaurants. All they have to do to participate is offer some sort of food special during Black Restaurant Week.

13 Action News spoke with Falayn Ferrell, one of the founders and managing partners of Black Restaurant Week. She says Black restaurant owners have dealt with historic inequities when it comes to starting a restaurant and she's hoping this campaign will provide them a little extra help during these tough times.

"When you really start to look at the need, you have to understand just how restaurants are funded in our community," she said. "A lot of times, Black-owned restaurateurs are funding the restaurant from their personal savings, loans that have potentially higher rates, as well as personal credit cards."

"When you really talk about cash flow in the capital, they’re already kind of starting behind the curve a little bit," she said.

"It speaks to the disparity," Ferrell added.

"When we do open restaurants or businesses in general, we need a little extra help just because systematically we are left out of the conversation," she said. "When you talk about loans and funding in this long story of wealth."

Ferrell has recruited some pretty powerful corporate sponsors including Pepsi, Grubhub, Maker’s Mark, Stella Artois and Bacardi. She's hoping the free publicity will help prop up some struggling Black-owned restaurants in Las Vegas, while connecting the community with the flavors of African-American, African and Caribbean cuisine.

"Food is always a common connector of culture and people," said Ferrell. "And so, that’s really what this project speaks to. It’s just a way for us to highlight our culture and we’re just doing that through food."

One of the participating restaurants in Las Vegas is POTs, an authentic Egyptian restaurant.

"Full honesty, I cannot speak for the experience of Black restaurant owners or Black chefs in totality," said Iman Haggag, owner and chef at POTs. "But also, my husband and my babies are African American. So, just a little bit, I can relate."

"I was honored when I got represented. Not to add that Egypt is in Africa," she said.

Haggag is a first-generation immigrant from Egypt, which she says presented some challenges when trying to start her restaurant.

"Before we started, we had to be grassroots and ask family and friends to support our dream," explained Haggag.

"But going to the bank without a whole history of mortgage and auto loans and all of those, and for an immigrant, for you to build this kind of portfolio for the bank, it’s a pain," she said.

As part of Black Restaurant Week, Haggag is offering a shawarma cauliflower combo platter, complete with Egyptian fries and Karkade, a hibiscus drink, for $14.

POTs is one of at least five different Black-owned restaurants taking part in Black Restaurant Week here in Las Vegas.

If you want to learn more about which restaurants are participating and the deals they're offering, click this link.