When the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States in winter 2020, many of us thought (or hoped) that a couple of weeks at home would be enough to let the virus run its course. Few imagined it would take months of social distancing and shutdowns, and nobody really understood the pandemic’s long-term economic impact.
Restaurants across the country have been devastated by the pandemic. Shutdowns and stay-at-home orders have forced many to lose customers and close their doors. But what became clear was the disproportionate impact the pandemic would have on culinary businesses owned by people of color that serve our communities every day.
Black-owned businesses have been hit the hardest by the coronavirus. By mid-April, 41% of black business owners had shuttered their company for good. Latino and Indigenous-owned businesses have also suffered harsh economic losses. And according to a recent survey, only 12% of Black or Latino-owned businesses who applied for federal aid have received loans in the amount they need to support their businesses. About half of those businesses anticipate having to permanently close their doors.
Asian-owned businesses are close behind. Business declined at the onset of the pandemic—especially for Chinese restaurants—due to misplaced blame for the virus and discrimination. Many Asian-owned businesses have been forced to close down and it’s unclear how many will be able to reopen.
We decided to start Brown Baddies Brunch as a way to celebrate and support restaurants, chefs, and culinary entrepreneurs of color. As women of color who have found belonging at their tables, we deeply feel how integral they are to the true cultural fabric of America. Our little blog won’t solve centuries of unfair policies and lending practices, and the institutionalized discrimination and greed that make it difficult for POC-owned businesses to succeed. But we hope it helps and inspires you to find a restaurateur or culinary business to support— not only during the pandemic or a moment of awareness—but for years to come.
Now, let’s eat!
We’re not trained chefs or professional taste testers. We’re just two brown women who love to eat and support local businesses in our communities.