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Tickets For Chicago’s Black Restaurant Festival Go On Sale Thursday

Plus, a popular Chicago restaurant owner tries his luck at a food truck

A man with dreads sits at a table, smiling.
Hussein Castillo’s Garifuna Flava is one of more than 70 Black-owned Chicago spots participating in the festival.
Garifuna Flava [Official Photo]

Blaktober, a new food festival designed to highlight Black-owned restaurants and food businesses in Chicago, debuts on Thursday. The event features more than 70 area restaurants offering meal deals and specials throughout the rest of October. Black People Eats, a directory of Black-owned restaurants in Chicago, organized the event.

The response from restaurants has eclipsed the Black People Eats’ founder Jeremy Joyce’s goal of attracting 40 restaurants. Joyce grew the event from his successful Juneteenth promotion which used the momentum brought from raised awareness from the Black Lives Matter protests across America.

For years, Joyce has hoped for an event where he could bring dozens of Black-owned restaurants together as a symbol of solidarity. While he remains hopeful to eventually hold such a fest, the novel coronavirus shifted his plans to a takeout-focused promotion.

Participating restaurants will offer carryout specials as part of the event. They include Hyde Park vegan spot I Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat, Bronzeville bakery Emeche Cakery & Cafe, and Belizian restaurant Garifuna Flava in Marquette Park. General admission is free and comes with an e-cookbook, as well as access to live cooking demos and virtual workouts weekly. VIP tickets ($20) also include a virtual dance class, cookie decorating party, happy hour, and more. Tickets and more details are available via Eventbrite.

And in other news...

— Jason Vincent is taking his two restaurants, Giant and Chinese-American Chef’s Special Cocktail Bar in Bucktown on the with a new food truck. It’s an act of apparent desperation during the pandemic, according to the Tribune and multiple other media sources. Vincent will take to the streets of Chicago and try to reach a larger audience of customers starting this weekend serving pizza, booze, and an assortment of his restaurants’ greatest hits.

At night, the truck will function as a mobile catering service for private events featuring popular dishes from Giant and Chef’s Special, plus servers and a full bar. Fans can keep up with the truck’s location on social media.

— The owners of fried chicken spot Split-Rail and funky basement bar Dorothy have launched playful pop-up Dotty Rockets, “the Derivative Hamburger,” featuring a menu of diner-style burgers, chili dogs, chicken tenders, and more. Burger selections include the Original (Shullsberg American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, vegetable relish, house-made pickles, French’s yellow mustard, Duke’s mayo) and the Hot! Hot! Hot! (pepper jack, pickled jalapenos, spicy ketchup). A play on faux-retro chain Johnny Rockets — the infamous site of Anthony Bourdain’s worst airport meal ever — Dotty Rockets gives the team a chance to practice new skills and flex its creativity. Owners will also donate $2 from every cocktail sold to a cause they deem worthy, starting with My Block My Hood My City. Online ordering is available via Toast.

— European truffles from Italy, France, and Spain come into season during North America’s fall and winter months, and Italian restaurant Osteria Langhe in Logan Square is ready with the 2020 edition fo its white truffle menu. It features three courses: occhi di bue (two butter-fried sunny eggs, carne cruda, 2 grams white truffle), tajarin (house egg yolk noodles, fontina Val D’aosta cream, 2-3 grams white truffle), and bistecca (grilled wagyu sirloin cap, mixed mushrooms, whipped potato, jus, 3 grams white truffle). The three courses are also available as a tasting menu for $149.


2500 West Chicago Avenue, , IL 60622 (773) 697-4413 Visit Website

Can't Believe It's Not Meat

1143 North Wells Street, , IL 60610 (312) 624-9986 Visit Website


1475 W Balmoral Avenue, Chicago, IL 60640 773 334 7168 Visit Website

Garifuna Flava - A Taste of Belize

2516 W 63rd St, Chicago, IL 60629 (773) 776-7440 Visit Website

Osteria Langhe

2824 West Armitage Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 661-1582 Visit Website


3209 West Armitage Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 252-0997 Visit Website

Chef’s Special Cocktail Bar

2165 North Western Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 666-5143 Visit Website