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New NYC Restaurant Projects Aimed at Supporting Black Communities

The new restaurant-backed initiatives include fundraising pop-ups, online classes, and free meal distribution for protesters and residents

A spread of vegetables on a metal platter
A spread of vegetables from Yardy
Gary He/Eater

In the wake of widespread protests against police brutality and racial injustice taking place across the city, many restaurants have announced support of the movement by donating portions of their proceeds to black-led organizations fighting for racial equality. Others, like the restaurants listed below, have launched new initiatives altogether.

Below are a few restaurant-backed initiatives targeted at supporting black communities. For lists on restaurants offering portions of their proceeds see here and here for guides of black-owned restaurants and bars in NYC. We will continue to update this list. If there are fundraising programs that we’ve missed, let us know at tips@eater.com


Yardy: DeVonn Francis, the chef behind NYC studio Yardy and an Eater Young Gun, has launched a free meal program for local black families. “My goal is to provide meal relief for black families because we are indeed still in the midst of a pandemic and food insecurity should not be a barrier to living and getting through your day,” Francis wrote in a post on his personal Instagram account. So far, the free meal program has raised more than $16,000 in donations, Francis wrote, while additional donations can be made by Venmo (@yardyworld).

Golden Diner: Sam Yoo, a Momofuku alum and the owner of Golden Diner, is auctioning off a private party in his restaurant space in Two Brides, with all proceeds going to Black Votes Matter, the Brotherhood-Sister Sol, and Brooklyn Rescue Mission. The silent auction includes a party for 30 guests with dinner, dessert, and wine — along with “knowing you made a significant contribution to these very worthy and relevant organizations that will be touching the lives of many,” according to the auction’s description. Superiority Burger will handle desserts for the event, while nearby Leisir Wine will be donating beverages.

Momofuku Ssäm Bar: David Chang’s empire of Momofuku restaurants have remained temporarily closed through the novel coronavirus pandemic, but Ssäm Bar will return this week for a three-day fundraising pop-up. The groundbreaking East Village restaurant will be selling one dish only — rice cakes, available in spicy pork and vegetarian options — for $15 each, with all proceeds going towards Black Lives Matter NY, Equal Justice Initiative, and the NAACP LDF. Although Ssäm will be relocating to the former location of Bar Wayō in the South Street Seaport later this year, the rice cakes are be available for pick-up from the restaurant’s original East Village location.

Sol Sips: Once weekly, Sol Sips owner and Eater Young Gun Francesca Chaney will be distributing meat-free meals through an initiative called Black Supper. The volunteer-driven meal distribution program started with a weeklong effort to feed protesters, but Chaney says it will now continue indefinitely. “We’re alternating between Black Supper at our Sol Sips location and going out to local community events and demonstrations,” Chaney says. This week, she’ll be distributing food during a Black Lives Matter vigil held at Maria Hernandez Park. Donations to the program can be made through Venmo (@solsipshospitality), CashApp (@solsipsnyc), or PayPal at solsipsnyc@gmail.com.

Asian Chefs for Black Lives: Kitchen Rodeo, a pandemic-born interactive online cooking class operation that donates proceeds to nonprofits, has teamed up with Annie Shi of chic Soho restaurant King for a whole series dedicated to supporting organizations dealing with equity issues. An all-star team of Asian chefs is lined up, including Amelie Kang (MáLà Project), Natasha Pickowicz (Flora Bar), Lucas Sin (Junzi Kitchen) and Calvin Eng (Win Son), Wilson Tang (Nom Wah Tea Parlor), and artist and chef Jenny Dorsey. Half of the funds raised from each session will go toward Fair Fight, the Stacey Abrams nonprofit that fights voter suppression, while the other half will go to a charity of the chef’s choice. Recommended donations start at $35; see the full list here for cooking classes, which will be happening through the summer.

Maison Yaki: Greg Baxtrom, chef and owner of popular Prospect Heights restaurants Olmsted and Maison Yaki, will be opening the latter restaurant space to black chefs, bartenders, and entrepreneurs for the foreseeable future. “We would like to offer Maison Yaki’s space to you as a way to generate revenue for yourself and bring awareness to your brand,” Baxtrom wrote in a post to the restaurant’s Instagram account this week. Those using the Maison Yaki space can serve food from the restaurant’s front window, which opens onto Vanderbilt Avenue, while Baxtrom has offered to assist with ordering product and establishing delivery options, as well. Those interested can contact Baxtrom on Instagram (@gregbaxtrom) or by email at greg@olmstednyc.com.

The Bergen: Boerum Hill newcomer the Bergen has partnered with the Brooklyn United Music and Arts Program to offer free lunches and dinners for families in the community. The black-owned takeout restaurant has served more than 4,000 free meals so far, according to its Instagram account, with a rotating menu that includes fried chicken and spaghetti ragu. Bagged meals are available for pick-up from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily. Donations to the Bergen’s free meal program can be made through CashApp (@bu2018) or Venmo (@thebergenbk).

Disclosure: David Chang is producing shows for Hulu in partnership with Vox Media Studios, part of Eater’s parent company, Vox Media. No Eater staff member is involved in the production of those shows, and this does not impact coverage on Eater.

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