How these 5 must-try Canadian restaurants are celebrating #BlackFoodEnergy

Feb 25 2022, 10:21 pm

What’s a sure thing known to celebrate heritage and bring cultures together? You guessed it, food. 

This year’s Black History Month has seen many amazing events celebrating Black excellence across cultural sectors, from various art initiatives, readings, dance and film shows to — of course — food. 

As a leading third-party delivery platform, DoorDash, who specializes in connecting people to their neighbourhoods, is using its platform to amplify Black chefs and Black-owned businesses who have a phenomenal impact on their communities. This year-round initiative kicks off DoorDash’s ongoing goal to help amplify and support the underrepresented Black voices in the market.

In light of the initiative’s debut, we spoke to participating Black-owned restaurants across the country to learn more about #BlackFoodEnergy and how these businesses are an integral part of the DoorDash platform and Canadian neighbourhoods.

The #BlackFoodEnergy initiative is an example of the type of increased visibility and marketing DoorDash is excited to offer Black-owned businesses as part of its dedicated Entrepreneurship & Access (E&A) Programs.

E&A is aimed at empowering local businesses owned by women, immigrants, and people of colour by offering increased visibility, access to funding opportunities, extensive free resources, and training to help level the playing field for these entrepreneurs.

In the same spirit, let’s celebrate #BlackFoodEnergy with these five Black-owned DoorDash partners across Canada.

1. Aunty Lucy’s Burgers — Toronto

Aunty Lucy's Burgers, Toronto

Aunty Lucy’s Burgers, Toronto (DoorDash Canada)

Aunty Lucy’s is a remarkable burger joint in downtown Toronto serving up traditional smash burgers with a Ghanaian spin. Owner Chieff Bosompra says this is something that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world.

“When I think of the energy that Black food brings, it’s the idea of overcoming adversity and feeling triumphant,” says the entrepreneur. “Black food culture influences the broader Black culture with its sense of tradition. The idea that recipes have been passed down to generations and sometimes reflect where that recipe came from, or the reason a particular ingredient was used.”

2. Piklìz Comptoir CaribĂ©en — Montreal

Piklìz Comptoir Caribéen, Montreal

Piklìz Comptoir Caribéen, Montreal (DoorDash Canada)

This Caribbean and Haitian-inspired cafĂ© lies in the vibrant neighbourhood of Montreal’s Saint-Henri and specializes in pikliz wraps and poutines.

The spot not only plays off of its Haitian background, but also pulls from the different cultures that touch Montreal. “We’re trying to get the best out of both cultures to create a spot where not only do you get a different type of music, but a different type of food to fully embrace the Caribbean altogether,” says owner Akim Acacia.

Acacia says that regardless of the restaurant’s uniqueness, the pandemic was tough and without the support of DoorDash, they may not be here today.

“DoorDash really helped us when we had no clue what to do when the pandemic started. They were there to support, bring marketing tools, and ways to reinvent ourselves,” says Acacia. “They keep coming up with new ideas to keep our head out of the water.”

3. TropikĂ l Restobar — Montreal

TropikĂ l Restobar, Montreal

TropikĂ l Restobar, Montreal (DoorDash Canada)

To the first Caribbean supper club in Montreal, #BlackFoodEnergy is a “nostalgic vibe.” The trendy, energetic hub serves Caribbean and Afro-Latin tapas, entrees, and cocktails; and was named one of Canada’s best new restaurants by En Route Magazine for 2021. The restaurant’s Chef, Jae-Anthony Dougan, was a season nine Top Chef contestant and is a current judge on the show Wall of Chefs — and in his professional opinion, Black food highlights what’s new.

“It’s not up there with Italian, Asian, Mediterranean food, but it’s climbing at a rapid pace. Black food is the new food trend,” Dougan says. He credits the presence and efficiency of DoorDash’s platform to the growth of the restaurant during the pandemic.

TropikĂ l Restobar features bottle service, live DJ music, and a private Caribbean speakeasy — which Dougan says will be opened before the summer starts. “This is truly a place where our customers can experience all the wonders of rich, Caribbean culture under one roof.”

4. Simply Irie Caribbean Cuisine — Calgary

Simply Irie Caribbean Cuisine, Calgary

Simply Irie Caribbean Cuisine, Calgary (DoorDash Canada)

This family-owned and operated Jamaican restaurant has a passion for flavour and serves up predominantly Caribbean favourites with a small selection of Western dishes. Co-owner Fay Bruney says #BlackFoodEnergy means nourishment for the soul.

Using food to bring people together, Bruney says Black food promotes diversity and inclusion through a social setting. “Pretty much every interaction is made better when you’ve got some good food involved,” says Bruney. And if that’s not the truth, we don’t know what is.

5. Flavours Restaurant — Calgary

Flavours Restaurant, Calgary

Flavours Restaurant, Calgary (DoorDash Canada)

For this authentic African spot, it’s all in the name. Owner Adebola Esan’s long-time love of cooking has found a home in the Calgary community hub, which serves up everything from Jollof rice to roasted plantains, meat pies, sausage rolls, and other Nigerian delicacies.

“DoorDash has brought a wider perspective of our restaurant to consumers,” says Esan. “Black food culture is a part of Black roots. So, wherever we go, wherever we are, we always yearn and look forward to finding our food because it’s something we grew up with. Black food is something you can’t go without.”

Adebola Esan, owner of Flavours Restaurant, Calgary

Adebola Esan, owner of Flavours Restaurant, Calgary (DoorDash Canada)

DoorDash aims to prioritize and empower local businesses through the E&A Programs, and part of that means making it easy for Canadians to enjoy dishes from their favourite neighbourhood Black-owned restaurants right at home, and helping Canadians discover new Black-owned favourites.

Follow @doordash_ca on Instagram and Facebook to see more #BlackFoodEnergy profiles on Canadian Black-owned restaurants, and follow the hashtag to see what #BlackFoodEnergy means to them.

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