Black-owned restaurants, bars, bakeries and catering businesses across the Houston region will offer special menu items and prices during the upcoming two weeks as part of an annual initiative aimed at highlighting their offerings and improving their bottom lines.

Black Restaurant Week, which began in Houston in 2016 and has since expanded to 11 other markets across North America, is scheduled for this Sunday, March 31 through April 14. About 70 businesses from all over the Houston area as well as Beaumont to the east are set to participate, with many offering specials during the two-week celebration.

The purpose in the eyes of the event organizers – founder Warren Luckett of Atlanta along with managing partners Falayn Ferrell and Derek Robinson of Houston – is to provide free marketing and advertising for Black-owned culinary businesses at a time when restaurants all over the region and country are grappling with challenges. About 53% of those businesses nationwide saw lower profits in 2023 than they did the year before, amidst rising food and labor costs, according to an industry report released by the James Beard Foundation.

“COVID-19 changed the landscape since 2020,” Luckett said in a news release. “Now, the price of food is soaring. From being overlooked for revitalization funds to inflation, most Black-owned culinary businesses cannot afford advertisements/PR/marketing to build awareness and attract customers.”

Black Restaurant Week, which has supported more than 3,000 restaurants, bartenders, chefs, caterers and food trucks over the last nine years, focuses on highlighting the flavors of African, African-American and Caribbean cuisine. This year’s participating businesses cover all corners of the Houston region and represent a variety of food types, including barbecue, American and bistro cuisine, Soul food, Southern food and Creole and Cajun cuisine.

A complete listing and map of participating businesses, along with the specials they are offering, is available on the event website.

Below is a sampling of the eateries being highlighted this year:

Fainmous BBQ | 1201 Oliver St. #50

It’s BYOB at this smoked meat sanctuary in Sawyer Yards, which is open Monday through Saturday and offers online ordering as well as vegan and vegetarian options. The specials for Black Restaurant Week are Cajun Chicken served with collard greens and cornbread for $16.99, along with banana pudding for $4.50 and pineapple tea for $2.75.

Glitter Quake Cupcakes | 16718 House & Hahl Rd. in Cypress

Those with a sweet tooth can venture to this bakery and dessert shop in the northwest suburbs. Glitter Quake is open Monday through Sunday and offers a variety of brownies and cookies in addition to cupcakes.

Reggae Hut | 4814 Almeda Rd.

This Caribbean food staple in the Museum District is open seven days per week and is a former recipient of a “Black Plate Award” for best international restaurant. There are two $20 specials for Black Restaurant Week – the One Love, featuring jerk chicken wings, rice and peas, a veggie medley and plantains; and The Reggae Bunch, which is a beef, chicken or veggie patty served with coco bread, plantains and a homemade beverage.

Southside Sporting Club | 11110 W. Airport Blvd. in Stafford

This new bar and lounge in Fort Bend County offers indoor and outdoor seating, a happy hour and more than 75 big screens for game-watching. Its food specials for Black Restaurant Week include smoked oxtails, Gulf Coast oysters, a Southwest salad, a vegetarian pasta dish and blackened salmon and shrimp.

The French Fry House | 5740 S. Wayside Dr.

It’s all things fries at this southeast Houston eatery that serves lunch and dinner Monday through Friday and offers an outdoor patio and vegetarian options. The Black Restaurant Week special is a meal deal for $20 that comes with a choice of chicken-fried steak or chicken along with an Oreo Cheesecake Egg Roll for dessert.