By: Parker King
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) -Black-owned restaurants in Memphis are stocking their pantries and bringing all hands on deck.
This year’s Memphis Black Restaurant Week is set to be a big one.
“We want to offer a truly soulful experience, soul food and soul music,” said Larry Springfield, owner of SugaShack
Springfield is a native Memphian, owning his restaurant SugaShack since 2016 but having been in the food service business for years before that.
This will be his second year participating in Black Restaurant Week, with specials lined up just for the occasion.
“Last year, we got our butts whooped because we didn’t know what to expect,” Springfield said. “Now we’ve got a plan for it.”
The attention brought to restaurants from the week that celebrates black-owned restaurants is good for business, according to Springfield, and there’s excitement for what’s to come from this week, now that COVID-19 guidelines are laxing in the Bluff City.
“You get a chance to touch people that wouldn’t ordinarily see you, so that’s a great help, not just for me but for any black restaurant in the city,” Springfield said.
“This will be a good opportunity to get your name out there with the marketing and stuff like that, so we’re able to get our face in front of a different body of people that we don’t even know ourselves,” said Lernard Chambers, Owner of The Genre.
Chambers’ restaurant The Genre is participating for the first time.
They’ve only been around since July of last year.
“It’s been a thrilling experience, just seeing our idea go from paper to imagination and then just blowing up,” Chamber said. “We’re just thrilled to see what this week is going to bring us.”
“Having that heritage of soul food, having that heritage of soul music, and me knowing where I came from, it allows me to combine that and bring that to Beale Street. It’s like a 360,” Springfield said.
What’s more is what the week could mean for years to come.
“Then I see you in the summer and then I see you at Christmas or Thanksgiving, then you know that has translated well,” Springfield said. “They’ve seen you from black restaurant week, and you know you have a customer, to a certain degree, for life.”