Chef Rob Bennett of The Belle Grille restaurant in Matthews. Photo courtesy of Black Business Owners of Charlotte

Black Business Owners of Charlotte has added an extra week to its annual event spotlighting the city’s Black-owned food spots. Charlotte Black Restaurant Week, now in its fourth year, will run from Oct. 19 through Oct. 31.

Under the governor’s order, North Carolina restaurants can operate at a 50% capacity maximum to limit community spread of the coronavirus. Meanwhile, there’s a sense of urgency as local eateries seek opportunities to get customers through the doors. 

Cathay Dawkins, founder and CEO of BBOC, says he’s scared that many restaurants aren’t going to make it. No industry has been hit harder by the fallout of the pandemic than the hospitality sector. Dawkins is hoping the extended schedule will help give restaurants the economic boost they need.

“We’re working closely with restaurants to ensure they follow strict guidelines put forth by Gov. Cooper,” he said. “We are also encouraging owners to add more outside dining, join a third-party delivery service (like Uber Eats) and use reservation services like Open Table.”

One of the signature events, Black Food Truck Friday, remains up in the air until organizers can find a safe location.

“We are treading lightly due to Covid and hope to do a drive-thru event,” Dawkins told QCity Metro.

Charlotte Black Restaurant Week has generated more than $4 million in economic impact since its inception in 2017, according to BBOC data. Dawkins says last year 87,000 patrons visited 18 participating restaurants and attended signature events.

The group is seeking sponsors to support its Operation Seed & Feed charity initiative by providing meal tickets to at least 500 local college students and people experiencing homelessness.

Through Sept. 30, interested restaurants can register to participate at All vendor fees have been waived. A final list of the week’s participating restaurants will be available in early October.

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  1. Wow! This is great for us and for our restaurants! Can’t wait to catch that list so I can patronize as many as I can!

  2. Man, what a tease, that photo … The Bellè Grille is “permanently closed”, according to multiple sources. 🙁