Photo Credit: Jeremy Joyce | Founder of Black People Eats
Black People Eats' Jeremy Joyce Is Highlighting Chicago's Black-Owned Restaurants
Jeremy Joyce was at a food festival in Chicago when he realized that there weren’t spaces for Black food bloggers to promote Black-owned restaurants.
So, instead of waiting for someone to create a platform to highlight Chicago’s Black-owned restaurants, he took matters into his own hands and found Black People Eats in 2017.
“I just decided that I’m just going to do it myself,” he told Travel Noire in an interview. “I started to tap into the food blogging and decided to start a platform that would bring happiness to people by connecting them with plates from Black restaurants.”
Joyce said his goal was just to show the world where to explore Black-owned restaurants in their neighborhood.
Travel Noire: What have you found to be the most surprising reaction from people who discovered Black People Eats?
Jeremy Joyce: The most surprising thing is the number of people who are unaware of the Black-owned restaurants in their backyards or within walking distance. I think that it comes from lack of exposure because a lot of times, Black-owned restaurants are not exposed unless it’s Black History Month.
I get so many messages of joy and people telling us, “ Wow, I didn’t even know this was here” or “I never knew this restaurant existed.”
Travel Noire: You’ve been doing this for three years now, so what does Black People Eats look like five-to-10 years from now?
Jeremy Joyce: 10 years from now, we hope to have grown into the event space and to have a major footprint in Chicago. I’ve also been traveling to other cities and building relationships because we plan to expand outside of Chicago and highlight other Black-owned restaurants.
Travel Noire: How have you had to shift during this crazy time with COVID?
Jeremy Joyce: We are hosting more digital events. We’re doing live cooking shows, partnering with different chefs, and showing people how to cook in their homes.
We held an event for Black-owned restaurants in October called Blaktober. It was amazing. We had 800 people registered, which brought in more than $500,000.
Travel Noire: Why is this so important for the community?
Jeremy Joyce: It’s important to me because I believe in loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. So, giving back to me is important.
Food is what unites us all, and food is what will bring all of us to the table. We can change each other’s lives through food and conversation.