Long Beach Black Restaurant Week

Long Beach Black Restaurant Week, the annual eight-day culinary event celebrating some of the city’s best restaurants, chefs and bartenders returns January 21-28 offering a delicious array of cuisines–African, African-American and Caribbean–and dishes: snoballs to mocktails, barbecue to donuts.

At its heart, Long Beach Black Restaurant Week endeavors to spotlight the many Black-owned eateries, whether they be brick and mortar restaurants, food trucks, caterers or pop-ups.

Ian and Qiana Mafnas, the husband and wife pitmaster/executive chef/owners of popular local barbecue pop-up Axiom Kitchen (presently looking for a permanent brick and mortar location) are the organizers of this year’s event in partnership with NoahS’s Arc Foundation, after experiencing its powerful possibilities last year.

“We participated for the first time in 2023,” Qiana said. “We saw so much interest, so many people came by, our phones were ringing off the hook. This was a really great thing for us, we got a lot of business from it.”

Indeed, Shirley’s Temple (2420 E 28th St), which recently topped a Yelp list for best places to get a mocktail, will be participating in the event for the first time. Joining Shirley’s as a first-time participant is Water’s Edge Winery (149 Linden Ave), the city’s first winery, which sources its grape juice globally from the likes of Spain, South Africa and Argentina, then ferments it locally.

CREDIT: Waters Edge Winery

Qiana said they are also pleased to welcome new sweet shops to the event, such as Devi’s Donuts (3600 E Anaheim St), featuring Chef/Owner Eva Ognibene’s amazing handmade vegan creations, with flavors the likes of PB&J, Espresso Whip Cream and Triple Chocolate, that are somehow both decadent and light.

Yes, yes, the newcomers will be joined by old friends who will definitely be showing up to the party again, old friends with names like Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles (730 East Broadway), Sal’s Gumbo Shack (6148 Long Beach Blvd/4470 California Place) and Georgia’s Restaurant (4101 McGowen St).

“We absolutely, 100% love our community and so we want to show it off,” Qiana said. “Through this collaboration we feel like everyone wins. The businesses and, of course, the people who get to enjoy them again or for the first time.”

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Steve Lowery
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