The 5th Annual Black Restaurant Week wrapped up with a Jamboree Food Taste on the grounds of the Food Enterprise and Economic Development (FEED) Kitchens on the city’s Northside.

This year’s event, held Aug. 16-23, paid homage to Ms. Milele Chikasa Anana who dedicated her life to championing positive Black news, building community, and helping young people realize their potential. Inspired by the excellence of the local cuisine and believing in the impact of Black-owned businesses, she created the first Madison Black Restaurant Week in 2016.

Anana was a community leader and publisher of UMOJA Magazine, who passed away in May from a long illness.

“Ms. Milele’s life’s work was to empower Black businesses and creating Black Restaurant Week was something she was very proud of,” Madison Black Chamber President Camille Carter said. “The same characteristics she displayed, including passion, dedication and integrity, I see in our local Black restaurants.”

The baking August sun didn’t prevent eventgoers from sampling jerk rib tips, butter-laced mac and cheese, and Hennessy-filled cupcakes. Sweet peaches and specialty flavored popcorn were also big hits.

In all, more than 30 Black-owned restaurants, food carts, caterers and specialty food service providers took part in the annual event. It featured $5 sample entrees by caterers and food carts who followed extra safety precautions to help ensure social distancing for the health and wellness of visitors and vendors. 

“Due to the current circumstances, locals will find that we’ve made several enhancements to Black Restaurant Week so they can still enjoy a full experience of Black culture,  cuisine and talents of numerous Black-owned businesses, but in a safe and socially responsible manner,” Carter said. 

The Madison Black Chamber of Commerce is a group of community members working to empower African American/Black people to cultivate and expand entrepreneurship. We believe that Black-owned businesses contribute significantly to the economic well-being of Madison.