August is Black Business Month, a time to recognize, encourage, and celebrate the Black-owned businesses in our community and across the nation. The month of recognition was founded in 2004 by historian John William Templeton and engineer Frederick E. Jordan, Sr. The purpose was to draw attention to the needs of Black entrepreneurs in hopes that increased awareness and action would create a favorable environment for Black businesses to be empowered and grow.
The most direct way to support the diverse array of Black-owned businesses here in Chicago is by shopping, dining, and frequenting the broad mix of establishments across the city.
Here’s a sampling of Chicago businesses to visit during Black Business Month and beyond.
Black-owned restaurants across Chicago are making a dynamic contribution to the food scene. There’s a wide selection of bars, cafes, and restaurants showcasing southern, Caribbean, Creole, barbecue, Italian, seafood, steak, and more in casual and fine dining settings.
Turner Häus Brewery is located inside the Sip & Savor in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood. The microbrewery produces premium high gravity beers while paying homage to their ancestors, naming each beer after women in the family.
Experience the plant-based heritage recreations of Chefs Tsadakeeyah and Nasya Emmanuel at Majani Soulful Vegan Cuisine. One doesn’t need to be vegan to be impressed by their innovative array of tasty menu options.
Southside Grinds sells roasted and freshly brewed coffee via a mobile espresso bar and catering. Choose from coffee, tea, specialty drinks, and pastries. Hopefully, you’ll snag a slice of their best-selling lemon cream cheese pound cake. It’s fantastic!
Demera Ethiopian Restaurant
Demera Ethiopian Restaurant in Uptown uses fresh, high-quality, authentic ingredients to produce food that is both vibrant and full of exotic flavors. The communal “family-style,” hand-eaten meals and the Ethiopian hospitality experienced here have made Demera a favorite among locals.
Carver47 Food and Wellness Market celebrates the legacy of agricultural scientists and inventor Dr. George Washington Carver. Enjoy a carefully curated menu featuring all-day breakfast, juices, smoothies, flatbreads, sandwiches, salads, baked goods, and pastries.
One of the most anticipated Chicago restaurant openings of 2021 was Kitchen + Kocktails by Kevin Kelley. The River North eatery focuses on nicely plated southern comfort foods such as fried chicken, shrimp and grits, creative waffles, oxtails, greens, and black-eyed peas.
Eméché Cakery and Cafe in Bronzeville is known for its incredible hand-made cheesecakes and other delicious sweets, sandwiches, salads, and coffee. It’s a great spot to start your day or pick up a box of your favorite treats.
Black-owned arts and theatre venues
The creative spirit of Chicago’s Black community is showcased in galleries, theatres, arts venues, and cultural experiences throughout the city.
DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center
The DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center, established in 1961, is the nation’s first independent museum celebrating African culture. Inside you’ll find special exhibitions, lectures, workshops, and diverse holdings of over 15,000 pieces and paintings.
Catch a play, comedy show, or R&B concert with the eta Creative Arts Foundation.
Admire modern and contemporary works by a rotating mix of artists at Gallery Guichard in the Bronzeville neighborhood.
Enjoy a musical night out at the Black Ensemble Theater. Recognized as one of the most diverse theatres in the country, the Black Ensemble Theater has been producing outstanding musicals since 1976.
South Chicago Dance Theatre fuses classical and contemporary dance styles while preserving historical dance works. They will participate in the Night Out in the Parks concert series on August 18th. Their website highlights additional opportunities to witness one of their phenomenal performances throughout the year.
There are plenty of Black-owned shops, boutiques, wellness spaces, and more to seek out and support in Chicago.
Haji Healing salon in Bronzeville is a sanctuary specializing in intimate community healing experiences. In addition, their apothecary shop has herbs, plants, supplements, and other accessories for the healing lifestyle.
Shop unique and quality fashion at Essential Elements Chicago. Many of their sophisticated styles come from European destinations and indie designers.
Stop by the Silver Room for a unique shopping experience. They have a fantastic assortment of books, apparel, accessories, and more at this part storefront, gathering place, event space, and art gallery.
Boxville in Bronzeville is Chicago’s first shipping container marketplace offering community entrepreneurs accessible spaces for building their enterprises. The open-air market has art, music, food, and various businesses.
Semicolon Bookstore is a Black woman-owned bookstore and gallery space. The welcoming space is perfect for relaxed lingering while checking out interesting new reads.