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Find Out Why These Black-Owned Restaurants Are Beloved and Culturally-Significant

By Bernie Rodgers | November 23, 2020 | Food & Drink

An interior shot of Friday Saturday Sunday.

The city boasts an eclectic landscape of Black-owned restaurants—from inspired pop-up concepts to late-night shrimp shacks. Here, some of Philadelphia Style’s must-try spots.

Friday Saturday Sunday

When Garces veteran Chad Williams revamped this Rittenhouse dinner staple, he jump-started the restaurant from retro to modern. The main floor is devoted to craft cocktails, while the refined second-level dining room delivers a number of creative classics— think beef tartare, escargots and raw oysters with lemon mignonette.


Omar Tate delighted the city with his four-course Honeysuckle pop-up project at Barbacoa in April. From custard bean pies topped with espresso whipped cream to snow crab salad, this Germantown native’s entrees evoked universal acclaim. In the near future, he plans to open a permanent Honeysuckle location in West Philly that functions as a cafe, art gallery, community center and restaurant.

Booker’s Restaurant & Bar

This restaurant’s namesake is dedicated to Booker Wright, a server who lost his life for expressing his experience as a Black waiter in the 1960s. Eritrean-born owner Saba Tedla’s dishes bring Southern comfort to the City of Brotherly Love with meals like country fried chicken, spicy mango salmon and creole vegan jambalaya.

48th Street Grille

Chef Carl Lewis just wasn’t satisfied applying his culinary talents to the hotel industry—he wanted to open his own business. In October 2014, he opened 48th Street Grille, a Caribbean-American fusion restaurant. Menu items range from braised oxtail with butter beans to sweet chile-glazed salmon.

720 West Bistro

Owner Erick Bonaparte and chef Dayna Russo teamed up to design a restaurant and jazz lounge housed in one location. After guests dine on the lower level, they can head upstairs to enjoy live music. The bistro serves a combination of soul food and American fare, such as mango-glazed grilled salmon, blackened catfish and waffles with fried chicken.

Gilben’s Bakery

Joshua Coston woke up one day with the yearning to leave behind his gig as an Amtrak conductor and open a restaurant—and we’re all glad he did. This hidden gem in East Mount Airy is locally famous for its seafood po’boys on fresh garlic bread, but they also serve shrimp with grits and fried chicken sliders.

South Kitchen & Jazz Bar

After the success of Zanzibar Blue in the ’90s, brothers Ben and Robert Bynum were a force in the Philadelphia dining scene. The pair returned to their winning formula with South Kitchen & Jazz Bar in 2016. The North Broad restaurant offers a premium twist on casual soul food. To complement the upscale fare, there’s also a garden courtyard for a happy hour on balmy autumn days along with a jazz bar and dining hall indoors.

Sid Booker’s Shrimp Corner

Known as the “Colonel of Shrimp,” Sid Booker Sr. serves nothing else but his fan-favorite shellfish. The bold pink takeout window offers deepfried jumbo shrimp until 4AM on weekends. His tiny location opened in 1962, and there’s a reason locals still frequent it.

Photography by: Jason Varney