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Supporting black-owned businesses in Pierce County, a group project

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Multiple members of my Facebook group Where to Dine Pierce County – 12,000 members strong, come join us! – posted great questions this weekend. They all asked this – “Do we have a list of black-owned restaurants and food businesses in Pierce County?” Well, we didn’t used to. Now we do because we all worked together to compile a list. Here’s that list of businesses

Bob’s Bar-B-Q Pit in the Hilltop is owned by Jonathan Clark and his mother, Carolyn Littles (and several other family members). This Hilltop barbecue restaurant has been around for three generations – first downtown and now in the Hilltop. Get the ribs, and if it’s on the menu, don’t miss the peach cobbler.

Campfire Coffee Co. in downtown Tacoma from Quincy Henry. This is a brand new coffee roaster and coffee house.

Straight from Philly – The King of Cheesesteaks in downtown Tacoma from Scott and Michelle Parker. This downtown Tacoma restaurant focuses on getting every component of a cheesesteak sandwich just right. They serve their sandwiches on Amoroso rolls. Did I mention the 20-something kinds of loaded fries on the menu?

Essence Lounge Tacoma in Tacoma’s Sixth Avenue neighborhood is co-owned by Natural Allah. This newcomer to Tacoma’s Sixth Avenue neighborhood merges soul food with a wide range of Latin cuisine. Think: a little bit Cuban, Puerto Rican, soul food and more. Here’s a story I wrote when the restaurant opened in January. Many will remember Allah from Soul in Proctor’s neighborhood, and Vinum Wine Bar downtown.

Quickie Too in Tacoma’s Hilltop is owned by the Howell family. This vegan restaurant has southern and soul food spins throughout the menu. If you’ve lived in Tacoma for more than five years and haven’t ordered the Mama Africa burger, you need to fix that.

Ezell’s Famous Chicken in the Hilltop is owned by Lewis Rudd. The hardest thing about dining at Ezell’s is answering this question: spicy, original or half-and-half? DECISIONS.

The Fish House Cafe in the Hilltop is owned by the Ward family. The fried catfish here is legendary, but they also do cod. Check out the list at the front counter of the kind of fish they’re frying at the moment. This might seen weird for a restaurant that specializes in fried fish (and does it the best in the city), but they also make a mean Philly cheesesteak with just the right level of goo. Don’t miss the hush puppies.

Garden’s Gourmet Salads in East Tacoma is owned by Nyesha Jones and Dion Cooper. This restaurant is in my top three for outstanding salads in the region. In addition to fresh salads – served in half or whole portions – they also make smoothies and desserts made with natural sugars. Feed your soul and your body well at this great casual spot.

Collard Greens & Other Things in Tacoma’s Dome District, is owned by Corie Brewster Patterson-Harper. Menu items are ample, the dining room is comfortable for groups small and large, and it’s a great destination before heading to the Dome. This is a place to eat when you want food that’s been built with love.

Southern Kitchen in Tacoma’s Sixth Avenue neighborhood, is owned by Gloria Martin. This legendary restaurant is known for its big breakfasts and its fried chicken. Get yourself there.

Uncle Thurms Finger Licken Ribs & Chicken in Tacoma’s Lincoln neighborhood, is owned by Thurmond Brokenbrough. The Soul Food Medley plate should be on your Tacoma dining bucket list. It has a little bit of everything from this outstanding soul food restaurant.

HamHock Jones Soul Shack, a food truck in Lakewood, is owned by Bobby Shorts. The truck has received a fair amount of attention lately for its highly entertaining videos and live music. Did I mention they make a mean pulled pork grilled cheese sandwich?

Deborah Tuggle owns Bite Me., Inc. She makes fabulous cookies out of her factory in Lakewood, but she started her first store 20 years ago in the Hilltop on 11th – https://bitemeinc.cc/about/. This is THE place to get cookies. Order online!

Olive Branch Cafe tea room in Freighthouse Square by the Tacoma Dome is owned by Terry Waller. This is an outstanding destination for tea service, but it’s also an awesome lunch destination even if your plans don’t include little sandwiches and pots of tea.

The Melon Seed Deli & Frozen Yogurt in Tacoma’s Oakland neighborhood is owned by Mario Charles. Fill up on the beautifully designed frozen yogurt desserts, or order from a comprehensive list of deli sandwiches. The tuna salad is my favorite in town. The veggies here are sliced so thinly, you can practically see through them.

Lizzie Lou’s Comfort Food, a mobile truck and also a cafe inside Destination Harley in Fife, is owned by Warnessa Victorian. This spot is home to one of the best destinations for banana pudding, plus delicious sandwiches.

Go Philly in Tacoma and Lakewood is owned by Jason Kinlow. Kinlow recently expanded his Tacoma Avenue South location and opened in Lakewood. The restaurant is known for its Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, but they also do outstanding wings.

Reverend Al’s Bona Fide Potents, found at local farmers markets, is owned by Albert McMurry. Make your cocktails at home so much better with just a splash from one of these magical concoctions. Also available at Delightful Neighborhood Market.

Yellow Bird Catering and Events, owned by Gwen Noble-Wold. Whether you’re feeding a big crowd or a family, this caterer has you covered.

The Bleu Note Restaurant and Lounge in Lakewood is owned by Quinton Gethers. This restaurant is known for its Southern-tinged soul food, but also live music.

Ooh Lala Burgers in Tacoma’s North End. This walk-up restaurant operates out of Dave’s Meat and Produce. A menu of burgers and fries and members of Where to Dine Pierce County tell me that portions are super generous.

Marketplace Grille in Gig Harbor. One of few places in the region to get island specialties, such as Caribbean-style paella. But there’s also salads, burgers, pasta and a terrific view of the Gig Harbor waterfront.

Only Oatmeal Cookie Creations from Karina Blasco features a menu of cookies – from oatmeal to snickerdoodles to peanut butter – sold at the Tacoma Farmers Market and elsewhere. Watch their social media for pop-up announcements.

Black Bear Frozen Yogurt on 72nd Street in Tacoma is owned by Lawrence Abdul Coleman and let me tell you the amount of joy I get when I see Dole Whip froyo on the menu. Did I mention they carry peach cobbler bars and banana pudding from Love by the Slice Bakery in Tacoma?

Have another Pierce County food business owner we should add to the list? Please let me know.

Ready to take your support beyond food businesses, and in surrounding communities?

After I posted my link and saw all the shares on social media, I started scrolling through the comments and saw all kinds of lists and compilations for black-owned businesses beyond restaurants. Check out these resources I pulled out of those comments:

TACOMA URBAN LEAGUE: The Tacoma Urban League maintains a list of black-owned businesses at its website here.
GOOGLE SPREADSHEET: Here’s an effort from a local amazing person who has collected a list of businesses owned by people of color. Look for the tabs that sort each category of business. There are tabs for restaurants, bars, auto services, and more.
PCAF: The good people at the Pierce County AIDS Foundation posted a link to a list of restaurants and food businesses in the greater Puget Sound area.