AUSTIN, Texas — For the past decade, black-run restaurants have been a fixture of the Austin dining scene.
Now, with the growth of black-focused restaurant brands, many are looking to make a return.
We are seeing the return of the original black restaurants in the Southland, said Chris Smith, owner of Austin’s Black-Run Restaurants, a chain of African-owned restaurants.
Black-owned businesses are more likely to be located in neighborhoods that are underserved, Smith said.
That can mean people of color who are less likely to have access to a credit card.
A black-based restaurant is a small business that is owned by a person of color, Smith explained.
It is typically owned by people who are younger than 25, who are working and have no debt.
“There is a little bit of pride in a black business,” he said.
Smith also noted that many black-operated restaurants do not employ full-time employees.
Black-owned and operated businesses in Austin can employ as many as 25 people.
“We have a lot of opportunities in the African American community to have that work done, so there is a sense of pride there,” he added.
At its core, black restaurants are about providing a platform for people of all colors to work together, Smith added.
The Black-run Restaurants have been in business since 2004.
Smith has been working with the Austin City Council on a proposal that would create an independent black-driven restaurant group, the Black-Rite Group.
The group would be comprised of business owners, community members, and leaders from across the community, to be able to develop plans and recommendations for future business growth, said Austin City Clerk Mary Lou Hensley.
This group would meet with city leaders to determine their recommendations and to develop a business plan.
Smith said he has been in contact with several business owners in the area, and is working with some local businesses to find a space for the group.
In the meantime, he is continuing to pursue other business opportunities in Austin, Smith noted.