Due to the closure of restaurants — from COVID-19 — and George Floyd protests, Black businesses have been struggling to stay afloat. For this reason, Chef Erick Williams touched bases with Chef Edouardo Jordan. Chef Williams is the owner of Virtue restaurant in Chicago, and Chef Jordan is the owner of the JuneBaby restaurant in Seattle.
Both chefs are highly successful Black business owners. Williams reached out to Jordan and his staff to show solidarity and provide some encouragement. The Chicago chef sent T-shirts to Chef Jordan and his staff members. The JuneBaby staff sent a photo with their Virtue t-shirts back to Jordan to show support. Williams hopes he will inspire other Black businesses to support each other.
Furthermore, Williams talked about the struggles of being a Black restaurant owner. He stated, “There are only a few of us in each city and resources are scarce.”
The Impact of Covid-19 on Black Businesses
Due to COVID-19, many BIPOC businesses were either forced to close permanently or forced to make major changes immediately. Williams highlighted this when he mentioned the capacity levels for Chicago and Seattle. Chicago has a 25 percent capacity limit, while Seattle has a 50 percent limit.
Additionally, JuneBaby has added a delivery service to their restaurant. The staff has to work twice as hard to ensure the customers’ safety and their own safety. Unfortunately, some restaurants do not have the capabilities to do so — without financial investment — they are forced to close. Protests coupled with the pandemic has put a strain on businesses as they try to stay afloat.
Williams went on to gush about meeting Jordan and dining at his restaurant. Chef Jordan and Chef William attribute their success to their creative takes on southern dishes. Unfortunately, JuneBaby is closed, thus Jordan can not return the favor to Williams yet. However, the photo of Jordan and his staff did give some hope to both Black chefs during this difficult time.
Written by Reginae Echols
Edited by Sheena Robertson
Eater Chicago: A Top Black Chef in Chicago Shows Respect For a Colleague in Seattle
Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Kurman Communications’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License