It’s February, and since 1976, February has been designated by every U.S. President as Black History Month. This year is particularly momentous, as it is 150 years after the 15th amendment, which gave Black men the right to vote, and 100 years after the 19th amendment, which gave all women the right to vote, making the theme for the month “African Americans and the Vote”.
But February is also an opportunity for our Brooklyn community to vote with their dollar and to patronize and support Black-owned businesses. There is no shortage of incredible Black-owned businesses, restaurants, and bars to visit. Make sure to visit our friends at Black-Owned Brooklyn, a publication that highlights Black-owned businesses and those who run them.
Or, head to a Brooklyn Nets game, where they’ll be having Black History Month events all February. Participate in one of the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership’s many events, including “Our Words,” a show highlighting performances, installation, and video from Black LGBTQ+ artists.
For your consideration, here are eight of our favorite places to eat and drink this month— and every month after. Enjoy a coffee and Baldwin at Lips Cafe, or sop up some misir wot with injera at Bunna.
415 Tompkins Avenue, between Jefferson Avenue and Hancock Street.
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This Bed-Stuy restaurant and local neighborhood staple serves soul food in its best forms. Fried chicken, jerk shrimp and grits, collards, and cornbread are all on the menu, as well as dishes like garlic noodles and fajitas. Stop by and enjoy your meal with a Brownstone or mango cognac punch. You can also visit them in Fort Greene, but either way, it’ll feel just like home.
1084 Flushing Avenue, between Knickerbocker and Irving avenues.
Bunna is quite possibly Brooklyn’s favorite plant-based Ethiopian spot, hidden in Bushwick’s industrial past. Try dishes like lentil sambusa, enguday tips (cremini mushrooms with peppers, rosemary, and garlic), and gomen (steamed collard greens). The spot also often has live art installations, music, and featured designers. You can wash down your meal with one of their house drinks like the Pushkin, an Ethiopian White Russian with vodka, sunflower milk, and Ethopian spiced sidamo. You can also join them for an Ethiopian coffee ceremony
203 Wilson Avenue, between Stockholm and Stanhope streets.
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Another Saturday, another #slidingscalebrunch 🤗🤤. Grab a #breakfastburrito and a fresh herbal tea (hot or iced) to turn your weekend all the way up ☝🏾☝🏾. As always, #paywhatyoucan between $7-$15, we got you! #madeinbrooklyn #solsipsnyc #slidingscalebrunch #plantbased #vegan
Sol Sips, a vegan cafe in Bushwick, was founded by Francesca Churney when she was only 22 years old. Since then, the spot has been serving breakfast burritos, “cheesy” garlic sticks, and butternut mango gazpacho, to name a few. Sol Sips also occasionally operates with a “sliding scale” pay system, where patrons can pay what they’re able for a meal. After a brief hiatus, they’re back with a new vegan boutique pop-up in addition to the Soft Cafe, where you can buy eggplant emoji pillows, a “Birthright” bag, and hoodies.
788 Franklin Avenue, between Lincoln Place and St. John’s Place.
Head straight to Glady’s for one of the best rum cocktails in Brooklyn. Try the “Heavy an’ Rollin’ Rum Punch,” with guava, lime, and allspice liqueur, or go for the classic Painkiller, served here with Pusser’s navy strength rum, coconut cream, and pineapple. Don’t leave without trying one of Glady’s delicious jerk dishes, either. The jerk chicken and pork plates are crowd favorites, as well as the tofu for vegetarian guests. Add a side of cornbread (“grandma’s recipe,” the menu notes) and you’ve got yourself a party.
680 Nostrand Avenue, between St. Marks Avenue and Bergen Street.
This Crown Heights shop, owned by married couple Khalid Hamid and Shelly Marshall, serves popsicles, ice cream, and vegan ice cream in flavors like soursop, sorrel rum, and passionfruit. They’ve been a fixture since 2015, and a local favorite in their corner space. You can find their adjusted winter hours on their Instagram, but we promise it’ll feel like summer the second the popsicle stick touches your hand.
Multiple locations. 5814 Clarendon Road, between E. 58th and E. 59th streets.
Footprints have three Brooklyn locations serving up their Jamaican classics. The spot is known for its “rasta pasta,” with cheese and Caribbean spices, as well as oxtail, jerk chicken, fried plantains, and crab cakes. They also have a brunch buffet on occasion on the weekends, with omelets, waffles, ackee, and salt fish. Find them also in Coney Island at 1521 Surf Ave and their Footprints Express at 1377 Flatbush Avenue.
1412 Nostrand Avenue, between Linden Boulevard and Martense Street.
This fairly new East Flatbush cafe that opened last summer comes from mother-son duo Jamane and Donna Weekes. The spot serves coffee, bakes, saltfish, and other lunch items. The shop also hosts a book club, currently reading James Baldwin, and many gallery nights featuring different artists. Owner Donna designs clothes, and created the Lips logo, while Jamane has long been a patron and fan of art.
738 Flatbush Avenue, between Parkside and Clarkson avenues.
On weekends, the line from Peppa’s on Flatbush Avenue looks like an extra traffic lane. Patrons park their cars down the block while they stop inside to get some of Peppa’s jerk chicken, rice, and oxtail. The smokey smell travels all across the neighborhood, making it close to impossible to avoid stopping in for an order.
You can also check out our list of Black-owned coffee shops.