Jeremy Joyce, the founder, and creator of Black People Eats is ahead of the goal that he set for himself by expanding his work of highlighting Black-owned food scenes outside of Chicago, with Atlanta up first. 

“I decided to expand to Atlanta because not only is it a beautiful melanated city, but Atlanta right now is the Black Mecca,” he tells Travel Noire. “That’s where a lot of Black people are going to either start or expand their business.”

Joyce came up with Black People Eats in 2017 after spending time at a food festival in Chicago.  He noticed there was no representation of Black food bloggers at the festival promoting Black-owned restaurants. What started as a platform to get the word out about Chicago’s Black-owned food gems, turned into a vital community resource during the onset of the pandemic. 

When Black-owned restaurants were barely making ends meet during mandatory shutdown orders in the Windy City, he launched an exclusive event called Blaktober

More than 800 people registered, and he was able to raise more than $500,000 in revenue and set up a COVID-19 restaurant relief fund. He attributes the success to getting the word out about Black-owned restaurants as one of the common themes he heard from participants was, “wow, I didn’t know that restaurant was in my neighborhood.”

“We’re doing the same thing in Atlanta and kicking it off during Juneteenth by highlighting the Black restaurant scene with restaurants such as Slutty Vegan, Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks, Slim & Husky’s Pizza Beeria, and more.”

Joyce says he still plans to expand to other cities, but one of the things he would like to do is have an in-person food festival now that Juneteenth is officially a federally recognized holiday.

“Food brings people together and Juneteenth celebrates Blackness,” he says. “What better way to celebrate Blackness and bring people together than with food?”