Many local businesses are still learning how to navigate through obstacles the COVID-19 pandemic has presented. That's why OKC Black Eats is encouraging people to support Black-owned restaurants during Black History Month.
There are 89 Black-owned restaurants around the metro. Three Black-owned restaurants have closed due to the pandemic, but Baba G’s Mediterranean Grill said they weren’t going to let that stop them from taking on a new restaurant.
“We really like making our food fresh. Not just for the restaurant but at home, so we bring the same mindset over here,” Baba G’s Mediterranean Grill co-owner Stenie Oke said. “So, if we like our food fresh, why would we serve something that is not fresh?”
Stenie and Hugues Oke both own the restaurant. They said business is not as frequent as they would like.
“The traffic is less than usual,” Oke said. “We still have to keep the same staff in house to be able to cook the food, to serve the food, so the cost compared to how much we’re making it’s not really what we expected.”
To help restaurants like Baba G's out, OKC Black Eats founder Apollo Woods said people should make it a goal to support minority-owned businesses for Black History Month.
“If we look just based on historical information Black-owned businesses have been objected to many obstacles that are systemic in the application process,” Woods said. “Especially when you think about redlining. Redlining was in a direct response to limit financial support in Black-owned communities.”
Woods believes things are improving. With the help of OKC Black Restaurant Weeks, the co-owners of Baba G’s Mediterranean Grill said the initiative has been instrumental in more foot traffic.
“It’s becoming very diverse. I see all kind of people from all kinds of line of work, so I think it’s changing,” Oke said.