‘Bite of Brown’ kicks off week of highlighting Tallahassee’s Black-owned restaurants

‘Bite of Brown’ kicks off week of highlighting Tallahassee’s Black-owned restaurants.
Published: Mar. 21, 2022 at 6:25 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Monday kicks off a week of celebrating Tallahassee’s Black-owned restaurants, as part of a marketing initiative called “Bite of Brown.”

Different restaurants are being highlighted each day, with the goal of helping small businesses get back on their feet in the wake of the pandemic.

One of those restaurants is the family-owned 509 Caribbean Cuisine. The manager, Jason Eugene, said this event gives his business a significant boost.

Eugene was helping out in the kitchen Monday with his mother and father.

He said the restaurant’s revenues took about a 30 to 40% hit at the height of the pandemic.

He remembers driving as far as Miami just to get ingredients, like rice, that were unavailable locally in the quantities that he needed due to pandemic shortages.

“It was hard,” Eugene said. “A lot of sleepless nights, a lot of gray hairs.”

Eugene said 509 Caribbean Cuisine had enough community support to make it through the tough times of the pandemic.

Last year’s Bite of Brown event also gave them a leg up, increasing sales by 41% for the week according to Dream Marketing.

One customer, Latoya Smithwick, who stopped by 509 Caribbean Monday, said she believes highlighting Black-owned restaurants is important because it can expose customers to places they might not otherwise go to.

“I’m not of Haitian descent, but I love the food,” Smithwick said. “And I would have never probably came here if it wasn’t for someone just telling me about the restaurant.”

You can find a full list of the restaurants highlighted this week here.

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