Breaking Bread: A Food Critic's Take on Restaurants' Racial Divide
May 15, 2015 4:15 AM   Subscribe

"I have a day job in Washington, D.C., as a food critic. I’ve done it for ten years. During that time, the city has become bigger and more cosmopolitan, the restaurant scene has evolved from that of a steak & potatoes town to that of a vibrant metropolis, and people now talk excitedly about going out to eat. But what no one talks about is the almost total absence of black faces in that scene." Todd Kliman's "Coding and Decoding Dinner" explores the racial divide in D.C. dining for the Oxford American.
posted by MonkeyToes (43 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
So he's asking why black people don't participate in "the restaurant scene", but I'm wondering if the real issue is that his idea of "the restaurant scene" doesn't extend to the restaurants that black people patronize.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:23 AM on May 15, 2015 [36 favorites]


It took a really long time for my Indian parents to eat at a non-pizza and non-Indian restaurant. My aunt was willing to eat Thai and dragged my cousin and uncle along with us. They kept making comments about how it was "Just like Indian" cuisine.

When I left for college was the first time my mom had lasagne at a conference, and then asked us if we'd ever had any. Of course we had. she liked it. My sister dragged my parents out to a Nepali restaurant and they raved about it for weeks. Nepali food.

I've met lots of Indian parents that are/were more open to trying different foods than my own. We're vegetarian, and I love Ethiopian and Mexican and Thai and Greek---but I've never really enjoyed/craved/sought out veg Chinese food like a lot of my Indian peers do even though I really like tofu and there are Indian-Chinese fusion places.

I don't know. It's hard enough to figure out what's veg on a menu but there's always something. But it's hard to want to try something new when you have to go to an expensive restaurant and want to make sure everybody else will be happy with the food too.

(Side note: once went on an Indian-run European bus trip through Europe. Only ate at Indian restaurants in Paris, and pizza everywhere else. The German cook at the hotel restaurant was pissed at all the Indian families (there was only 1 Indian non-teenage kid on the trip, and only 4 teenagers out of all of us) "Only pizza!" exclaimed the German cook. Though I had German food in my old neighborhood in DC and was not a fan. I ought to try it again.)
posted by discopolo at 5:26 AM on May 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


Welcome was, and is, the final barrier to racial parity.

Imma let you finish, but ... what?
posted by allthinky at 6:16 AM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Related: Foodie is an ethnocentric word from the Austin Chronicle.
posted by lownote at 6:18 AM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I had the same thought as ArbitraryAndCapricious. When she says
“Raw fish? Uh-uh. Nope. Not gonna work.” She suggested instead a fried fish restaurant—”you know, something like the Neelys on TV would do”—and began describing the kind of place that, even new, would feel like a relic. A place, in other words, that is unlikely to generate broad excitement.
…well, let's talk more about what generates excitement. Places where I've lived, conservatively made Chinese or interior Mexican food is "authentic," and a new restaurant that makes that stuff to very high standards, with very fresh ingredients, etc, can generate a lot of buzz among (mostly white) restaurant critics and food bloggers. Conservatively made African-American food is "down-home" or whatever, and gets treated by that same establishment as kitschy and vaguely embarrassing, even when the quality is similarly high.
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:45 AM on May 15, 2015 [12 favorites]


I don't even know what to think, here. He got a lot of just-so stories from a lot of folks -- the fear of the 60-40 split really struck me, like an almost mythical problem, and why worry if you get an all-Black clientele, so long as you have a clientele? -- but peoples' race-thinking is notoriously unreliable. (Also, I think in residential integration, the "tipping point" is much lower -- white people feel "surrounded" when about 1/5 of the surrounding population is of color -- so I'm surprised it could get to 40% and white folk would still be fine with it.)

In a way, the "welcome" issue might be quite relevant here -- I don't know too many Black people who love being in predominately white spaces. (I do know several Black people who know the difference between chorizo and pepperoni, though.)

But, I don't think you can solve that problem in restaurants. I think that, if segregated eating spaces is a problem, it's just a by-product of the bigger problem. I'm thinking of Beverly Daniel Tatum's Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? White supremacy is a systemic problem; it can't hurt to try to get folks to brake bread together, maybe, but in such a racist culture, you can make the food as exciting as you want, but getting the space to feel "welcoming" to people of color means changing a lot of other stuff about the culture and the white folk (60%!) who will be joining them.

Or something.
posted by allthinky at 6:52 AM on May 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


There's a black-owned soul food diner in my neighborhood that serves the most awesome chicken and waffles but we've had the hardest time convincing our white neighbors to go there.
posted by octothorpe at 6:56 AM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's really interesting to me that white people in general — and I definitely include myself in this, in a big way — are so attuned and responsive to coding that says "This is not for white people" (e.g. unironic, un-lampshaded chicken and waffles) and yet so often oblivious to coding that says "This is only for white people" or even specifically "This is not for black people."
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:13 AM on May 15, 2015 [22 favorites]


So he's asking why black people don't participate in "the restaurant scene", but I'm wondering if the real issue is that his idea of "the restaurant scene" doesn't extend to the restaurants that black people patronize.

But wouldn't that just be restating the phenomenon he's describing, rather than challenging it? I mean, whatever the reasons for it, it's a fact worthy of remark and analysis that black people are sticking to a very particular segment of the restaurant scene, and are--by and large--not participating in the section of the food scene that is seen as particularly experimental and innovative.
posted by yoink at 8:23 AM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Minneapolis-St Paul Magazine attempts to defend their cover shot of the best chefs in town, all white men.
posted by Bourbonesque at 8:32 AM on May 15, 2015


Well, the point is to challenge the assumption that only certain kinds of experimentation and innovation are worth getting excited about, or even that "experimental" and "innovative" are the qualities we should be most excited about in the first place.

Which is just one of many things white foodies could be doing here. Off the top of my head:
  1. Pushing for more inclusivity in the "fine dining" scene — meaning not just more black customers, but also more black chefs.
  2. Acknowledging black chefs and food writers who are already out there in that scene.
  3. Pushing for recognition that other cooking styles (especially ones which are racially or ethnically marked) can be just as exciting.
  4. Even more broadly, recognizing that qualities like "experimental" and "innovative" are unusually emphasized in big-city white anglo food culture, and that they do not represent some sort of universal, culturally-neutral ideal that all food should be judged against.
In a way #3 is the easiest of the four, since it fits in with foodie ideas about "authenticity" that are already super prevalent.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:39 AM on May 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


You had to mention and chicken and waffles. Goddammit I'm trying to drop 10lbs and you put that in my head. Sweet. Savoury. Fatty. Everything I want in life.
posted by srboisvert at 8:58 AM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


“Well, exposure, sure. But also the fact that, I’m sorry—black folks are just plain ol’ conservative in their tastes. Nobody wants to hear that, but it’s true. So you take a fish restaurant, or a fish and seafood restaurant, or a barbecue place, and you’re gonna see black folks. Guaranteed. These are the foods we know. These are our comfort foods. Now, you take unusual foods, and in a setting that doesn’t feel familiar, and with lots of white folks in the room? Uh-uh. Remember, why do we gather to eat? For most of us—black and white—it’s to feel good. To feel a sense of well-being. Of home.”
This statement encapsulates a lot of the complicated issues. There's the idea of more conservative palates, yeah, but the flip side is that seeking out "exotic" experiences is a way of performing a certain style of white-ness. Heading out to try some new cuisine or find the most "authentic" form of a familiar style confers a sort of urbane, open-minded cachet. It's a distinction along the same lines as backpacking around India, beach-bumming in SE Asia, or going on an African safari. It serves to differentiate that individual from the fly-over, humdrum, another-night-out-at-Applebee's crowd. So having been to the latest new restaurant to experience the latest new culinary frontier becomes a way to establish a particular form of white identity through seeking out non-white experiences.

The other issue packed into that quote is about the serious racism that exists in food service, even top tier dining (or maybe especially top tier dining. There's the discomfort of being the only black person in a social situation. There's also the fact of that discomfort being compounded by the stereotypes held by servers and other FOH staff. While there's plenty of variation on the exact term used, I've worked at plenty of places where you would get a "friendly heads up" that my table was "canadian" (i.e., black), with them implication that they would be difficult customers and bad tippers. I can totally see how being the only black person in a situation that is heavily white-coded and where there's no small amount of intrinsic, barely covert racism would be not the most ideal and relaxing night out on the town.

we've had the hardest time convincing our white neighbors to go there

Point me in the direction. I will go with you any day, any time. Chicken and waffles are both delicious and are a social signifier of me being cool with black people. Perhaps we could even smoke a jazz cigarette beforehand and discuss some hip-hop.
posted by Panjandrum at 9:00 AM on May 15, 2015 [12 favorites]


Well, the point is to challenge the assumption that only certain kinds of experimentation and innovation are worth getting excited about, or even that "experimental" and "innovative" are the qualities we should be most excited about in the first place.

Well, those are two very different propositions. So far the argument being made in this thread is mostly "black people go to traditional, non-experimental soul-food restaurants, and that's fine." Which seems an odd sort of place for a Metafilter discussion to go to: "oh, black folks just don't like our kind of food; what can you do?" It doesn't seem like a position we'd usually see as particularly enlightened when it comes to any other cultural phenomenon ("black people just don't like art museums; black people just don't like classical music; black people just don't like going to non-black universities" etc.).

The argument that there is an "experimental" and "innovative" black dining scene which white food writers are just ignoring would be a really interesting one--although I have to say that it seems unlikely; what white food-writer for a major metropolitan newspaper wouldn't regard it as a coup to write up an emergent black gastronomical scene?

But whichever one of these things is true (black people tend to stick to historically "black-coded" dining experiences; black people pursue their own inventive gastronomic scene and it largely gets ignored by the DC press) neither would seem to be a serious 'rebuttal' of any kind to the FPP article. It would remain an interesting, and troubling, social/cultural phenomenon that black people see themselves as unwelcome outsiders in the various fine-dining milieus that attract most press attention in the DC food scene. Just as it would be an interesting, and troubling, phenomenon if food writers were largely ignoring a thriving and inventive black restaurant scene.
posted by yoink at 9:14 AM on May 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


That's a lot of praise for Shallal, who may well be making an effort at his 'coding,' but his openings are always in places that are full-tilt down the gentrification speedway. The U St location, which a few of us DC-area mefities have had a meetup at, is ground level in a fully renovated/converted building and off the main drag which still has its more traditional rowhouse-type locations. It's a big glass & chrome structure. Ditto the one over in Penn Quarter, where it's along a stretch with other ground-level shops under a fancypants building.

The Shirlington VA location doesn't even belong in this conversation.

So all kudos to him for an effort, but there's a lot of coding going on in the 100 feet surrounding his locations. If we accept the idea that there's a look that indicates what social groups are going to feel like they belong there then the Bb&P is an oasis with a moat.
posted by phearlez at 9:28 AM on May 15, 2015


At the high-end restaurants that I frequent, my observation is that the mix customers tended to mirror the relative socio-economic standing in the US: mostly white, an over-representative proportion of Asian-Americans, and maybe one or two African-Americans and other racial minority groups.
posted by gyc at 10:06 AM on May 15, 2015


Pushing for recognition that other cooking styles (especially ones which are racially or ethnically marked) can be just as exciting.

This is an interesting thought for something that's explicitly about DC, because the DC restaurant scene is lousy with upscale soul food places, fancy brunch places that serve chicken and waffles to white people and the like. I'd say in DC we have recognized that traditionally African American cooking styles are exciting, but a lot of those restaurants are still mostly white.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:23 AM on May 15, 2015


Pushing for recognition that other cooking styles (especially ones which are racially or ethnically marked) can be just as exciting.

Many SWPL types, in my experience, absolutely love this - going to a "really authentic" ethnic restaurant, in an ungentrified area, that "no one else" (aka "no other white people") has discovered, and getting good food for cheap.
posted by theorique at 10:26 AM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


What is SWPL?
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:32 AM on May 15, 2015


At the high-end restaurants that I frequent, my observation is that the mix customers tended to mirror the relative socio-economic standing in the US: mostly white, an over-representative proportion of Asian-Americans, and maybe one or two African-Americans and other racial minority groups.

At the very high end, this may be right — the percentage of black customers may be equal to the percentage of black people among the extremely wealthy.

But at places that are reasonable for a middle-class couple to go to on a date or special occasion, my sense is that black people are often still underrepresented. (The mentions the large black middle class in PG County for just this reason.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:07 AM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd say in DC we have recognized that traditionally African American cooking styles are exciting, but a lot of those restaurants are still mostly white.

Yeah, that matches my (limited) experience in DC too. Faintly ironic or prettied-up chicken and waffles code one way, soul food with no ruffles added codes another.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:09 AM on May 15, 2015


What is SWPL?
Mars Saxman

I think "stuff white people like" after that blog.
posted by Sangermaine at 11:19 AM on May 15, 2015


I have no idea about the customers, but there's a rather embarrassing racial divide among the staff at almost every restaurant I frequent. Everyone who has contact with the customers is white (and usually young and attractive), and the kitchen is mostly people of color. I've always wondered what would happen if the 40-year-old Hispanic dude who chops vegetables in the kitchen applied for a job as a server. Would they say he doesn't have the right "attitude" or "experience" or would they just outright say it isn't possible for people like him?
posted by miyabo at 11:23 AM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that's what I meant in my comment upthread. SWPL = hip, well-educated, white people who hate gentrification but also are the gentrification.
posted by theorique at 11:24 AM on May 15, 2015


I spoke to a restaurateur not long ago who told me, “I don’t engage in coding.” I responded that I begged to differ. We code even when we’re not aware that we’re coding. He may not have been trying overtly to exclude—I know he would never do such a thing—but his restaurant speaks a very particular language. It has a microbrewery on the premises—and, according to the Madison Beer Review, only three percent of craft beer drinkers in the U.S. are black. Its staff is almost exclusively white. Attached to the restaurant is a general store selling penny candy, knickknacks, and other nostalgic oddities that take browsers back to the Fifties—hardly a time that most black Americans want to relive.

He's got to be talking about Franklins in Hyattsville. I used to live right by there when there were no other dining options is Hyattsville, it was the go-to place for a couple years. The staff is almost exclusively white* as is the clientele. They also go to great lengths to make college students feel unwelcome at the bar, as University of Maryland is just up the street.

It's an amazing difference between looking at the dining room at Franklins, and then walking into the Busboys and Poets two blocks to the north.

*and whoever does the hiring prefers brunettes. It would be years at a stretch between seeing female servers/bartenders with blond hair.
posted by peeedro at 11:38 AM on May 15, 2015


Many SWPL types, in my experience, absolutely love this - going to a "really authentic" ethnic restaurant, in an ungentrified area, that "no one else" (aka "no other white people") has discovered, and getting good food for cheap.

What's not to like?!
posted by josher71 at 12:33 PM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


SWPL = hip, well-educated, white people who hate gentrification but also are the gentrification.

Hell is other SWPL.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 1:32 PM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Conservatively made African-American food is "down-home" or whatever, and gets treated by that same establishment as kitschy and vaguely embarrassing, even when the quality is similarly high.

are so attuned and responsive to coding that says "This is not for white people" (e.g. unironic, un-lampshaded chicken and waffles) and yet so often oblivious to coding that says "This is only for white people" or even specifically "This is not for black people."

Many SWPL types, in my experience, absolutely love this - going to a "really authentic" ethnic restaurant, in an ungentrified area, that "no one else" (aka "no other white people") has discovered, and getting good food for cheap.

This is an interesting thought for something that's explicitly about DC, because the DC restaurant scene is lousy with upscale soul food places, fancy brunch places that serve chicken and waffles to white people and the like. I'd say in DC we have recognized that traditionally African American cooking styles are exciting, but a lot of those restaurants are still mostly white.

I live in Oakland and I'd say young white people get plenty excited about "authentic" soul food. It's gone kind of upscale and I feel like the trend Bulgaroktonos describes is probably happening to some extent but the first places that come to mind are actually black-owned still.
posted by atoxyl at 1:44 PM on May 15, 2015


(the first upscale soul food places that come to mind)
posted by atoxyl at 1:48 PM on May 15, 2015


I lived in Washington briefly about a decade ago, and it was absolutely the place with the most racially segregated dining venues and bars I've seen, given the diversity of the local population. And that seemed to be across all price points, from diners to high-ish end places. I remember a friend chastising himself for assuming that two Black people waiting in line for a table were together, which he had done because it was just that rare to see more than one table with Black people in a restaurant full of white people.

So I believe that this type of segregation is widespread in America, but I also think it may be worse in Washington than in some other places.
posted by jaguar at 2:16 PM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't know which offends me more: the assumption that it's only in the last decade (the last decade? really?!?) that DC has FINALLY evolved from a meat & potatoes town to a 'vibrant metropolis', or that someone who opens a sushi or white-tablecloth or anything but fried chicken restaurant is overtly choosing to commit racism.
posted by easily confused at 4:58 PM on May 15, 2015


I wish there was a good fried chicken restaurant in my suburban Maryland city.
posted by wintermind at 5:09 PM on May 15, 2015


I thought some of the cultural thinkery here was interesting, but ultimately there are some basic economic inequality issues at play: the average black American has one-sixth the wealth of the average white American. It's a bit like wondering why people in Gaza take so many fewer trips abroad than Israelis.
posted by threeants at 7:02 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I thought some of the cultural thinkery here was interesting, but ultimately there are some basic economic inequality issues at play: the average black American has one-sixth the wealth of the average white American. It's a bit like wondering why people in Gaza take so many fewer trips abroad than Israelis.
Yes, the black majority may be a thing of the past—the recent census shows that whites now make up a paper-thin majority—but blacks remain a force in local politics. They are heavily represented in both the government bureaucracy and the workplace. And Prince George’s County, where I live, is home to the largest black middle class in the country.
So, yeah! Not at all, in the context of the article.
posted by jaguar at 8:13 PM on May 15, 2015


I don't think that's very relevant; the piece is clearly about the DC metro area in general, which has income inequality along racial lines that looks no different from other parts of the country.
posted by threeants at 8:45 PM on May 15, 2015


Most cities have not been called "Chocolate City," no. Washington's demographics are not universalizable. I've been to a Soul Food restaurant in an upscale Detroit suburb that was filled with almost entirely Black patrons and staffed by almost entirely Black staff; I never saw the equivalent restaurant in DC. As I said, I was there about when the author said he started noticing the racial divide, so I'm willing to admit that it might have shifted, but I'm not willing to admit it didn't exist.
posted by jaguar at 9:00 PM on May 15, 2015


While the gentrification and whitening of DC definitely needs to be discussed, I think that this might be a slight overgeneralization, if only because it sweeps DC's huge Ethiopian community under the rug, and doesn't really mention the suburbs (which are experiencing the opposite of DC's demographic trends).

Also, a big portion of the city is too poor to eat out, and their neighborhoods qualify as food deserts. So, there's that too.

He talks a lot about examining the causes for the lack of diversity in DC's dining scene, but then never really gets around to doing it....

And... Busboys and Poets is his paragon of virtue in terms of multiethnic dining? The local chain that seems to open a new location in every expensive apartment/condo building that goes up? Are you going to talk about Horace & Dickies ("fried fish") without mentioning its name, or that they just opened up their third location? What about the many black-owned establishments that are still thriving on U Street? (Bistro LaBonne is a personal favorite, although I don't know if this author would count it, because the cuisine that it serves is not stereotypically African American)

I'll be the first to say that the accelerating gentrification of DC is seriously taking its toll. However, most of the points made in this article rang hollow for me. As far as I can tell, the bigger problem is that African Americans are being priced out of the city -- not that there aren't enough southern-style restaurants within the city limits.
posted by schmod at 12:04 AM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I was chatting to a relative from the South recently, who thinks of herself as being very liberal, and she was going on about this New Orleans program for black school-age kids in which they work as waiters (?) in a restaurant for a while, and when they "graduate" they get to eat a meal there, served by other students. It teaches them etiquette and what fine food is, is basically what she said.

I thought it was about the most patronising thing I had ever heard of, but now I guess there might be something in it.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:51 AM on May 16, 2015


I'm really glad to see this article, not because it's particularly good, but because it got written at all. I feel like it could be expanded into a book on larger issues of food and culture (by an ensemble of multi-ethnic writers, rather than a single white author). It's also generated a lot of great discussion, so thanks for that.

As a relatively new resident of DC, I constantly find myself comparing this city to previously places I've lived (North Carolina, Chicago, Seattle, and small town Wisconsin). I have to say that DC feels *much* more segregated than other cities. Supposedly 50% of DC is non-white, but you wouldn't know it walking around my neighborhood (Adams Morgan).

The article touches on some important points, but overall I think suffers from selection bias and poor/incomplete interpretation of the data. Here's my take:

1. There may be a lack of black chefs, staff, and patrons in the expensive "name" restaurants, but I question whether that trend extends to the DC restaurant scene as a whole. The author seems mostly to review those restaurants that have been properly classed-up - i.e. appropriated an ethnic cuisine, "reimagined" it with expensive/exotic ingredients and "thoughtful" presentation, and marked the price way up. The author then seems surprised to go to those restaurants and find a lack of non-white customers and staff. There are many neighborhoods in DC with high concentrations of people from non-white ethnic groups, and those places have restaurants that cater to the local population, making "authentic" food that is non flashy but is good and affordable. Many such places I have been are staffed and patronized primarily by non-whites. So yes, there's segregation, but I think that's representative of DC as a whole and is not specific to just restaurants.

2. It's also worth remembering that DC has a very diverse mix of immigrant African communities, which are often non-overlapping with African American communities. Immigrants tend to be the owners and staff of the restaurants I mention above. I'm really curious about the under-representation of African Americans in the haute cuisine world - is it due to the same types of discrimination and bias that have been at work in many other professions, or are there factors specific to the service industry? I'm sure it's complicated, but I'd love to see a someone with an insider's perspective dissect this issue.

3. One factor that has been mentioned in passing by other commenters but I think is particularly important is that the clientele you see around you at a restaurant often depends not just on where you eat, but *when*. It's my sense that DC whites A) tend to have more 9-5 type jobs, and B) are less likely to have kids, so 1) they can afford to eat out, 2) they don't have to worry about taking kids to a restaurant (or they can afford a babysitter), and 3) they can eat out on weeknights because they don't need to be up super early the next morning. People with less disposable income and people doing shift work (both factors, I think, strongly correlated with being non-white, at least in DC) are probably going to skew more toward non-dinner hours and weekends (if they eat out at all).

4. Finally, I think it's worth repeating that restaurants mean different things to different cultures. Most of the hip young white kids I know are trying to live way above their means, and so they'll eat ramen all week so they can afford to blow their paycheck on live-tweeting and instagramming their dinner at the New Maori/Scandinavian Fusion Place Everyone Is Talking About. I can imagine that if I grew up in a culture in which my parents and peers weren't so obsessed with image and manners and protocol, I might feel more comfortable eating in a less assuming place where I could just relax and enjoy the fellowship. I hope, as a country, we're still on an upward trend of developing awareness that it's important to expose ourselves to people and cultures and ideas different from our own, but it seems like at the end of the day when people go out to eat and relax they still prefer to mostly be surrounded by other people that look and talk and act like themselves.
posted by infinitemonkey at 5:55 AM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Many SWPL types, in my experience, absolutely love this - going to a "really authentic" ethnic restaurant, in an ungentrified area, that "no one else" (aka "no other white people") has discovered, and getting good food for cheap.

And some of them will be people like me, educated white people who, nonetheless, earn minimum wage and cannot afford to eat out anywhere but the absolutely cheapest. I would love to travel, but I probably never will, and in the meantime I explore the world through $5 roti and $10 dosa (actually, the dosa is a special treat, because it's $15 with tax and tip).
posted by jb at 7:43 AM on May 17, 2015


but then, I've never been a hip young kid, not even before I was 30. Too nerdy, too poor. (Most exciting restaurant discovered when 25: Curry chicken noodle soup, only $6 with tax and tip! Yes, I do remember prices I paid for things 12 years ago).
posted by jb at 7:46 AM on May 17, 2015


So while stuffing ourselves full of OK but not great sushi last night, I remembered what I'd observed before: the most racially integrated restaurants (at least around here) are the all-you-can-eat Asian places.
posted by octothorpe at 8:28 AM on May 17, 2015


Really late to this party, but....previously, on Metafilter:

Black Chefs' Struggle For The Top With the restaurant industry booming and chefs becoming celebrities and wealthy entrepreneurs, few blacks are sharing in that success, and as young black men and women enter the profession they are finding few mentors or peers.

Related: Black Chefs: Why Freedom is Limited in the Kitchen

posted by magstheaxe at 7:43 PM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


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