Interested in dining at a black-owned restaurant in your city? There’s an app for that.
New York-based couple and entrepreneurs, Anthony and Janique Edwards, were tired of struggling to find black-owned eateries, so they created an app that would solve that problem. EatOkra is a new app that connects users to black-owned restaurants in over 30 cities across the country. The couple founded the company in 2016 in Brooklyn.
“We could look at articles and blogs, but no app did all of that for me and let me press a button to take me there. There had been a lot of talk in 2016 that was heavily racial-related. We wanted to do something to help black people,” explained Anthony, a Fordham University graduate who previously served in the U.S. Army. He says he started the app when he was hungry one day and couldn’t find a single source to locate black-owned restaurants.
The app is considered the Green Book of eateries and bars in numerous cities to help patronize black businesses, which has been a hit with users. “It’s mostly word-of-mouth,” Anthony says. “People are submitting restaurants to us within the app or direct messaging us on social media, anyway they can tell us.” Toggle to the menu page and click on the “add business” tab. The long-term goal for the duo is to use the platform to pair restaurant owners and chefs with community organizations, especially ones that help families put food on the table.
“We really wanted to create a platform that supported black-owned businesses and primarily black-owned restaurants specifically,” Janique adds. “We really focus on a lot of smaller, mom-and-pop restaurants that don’t get enough attention or exposure.”
The app is available to download on iPhone and Android. The restaurants are divided into four categories: Caribbean cuisine, breakfast & brunch, soul food, and the catch-all category “local eats.”