What’s for dinner? The best food, restaurants and chefs of Black History Month Philadelphia

Chef Kevin
Photo Credit: Lexi Pierce

Black History Month’s February run is more packed than ever with things to see and hear, and places to go. One thing we haven’t hit – and this is a great week for it, as new chefs and events are lined up and at the ready – upon is the wealth of new Black chef-driven events and restaurants in the Philadelphia area.

SOUTH Restaurant & Jazz Club

Anything that Philly’s Bynum Brothers open – when it comes to culinary or live musical adventures – is exceptional, exquisite and tastefully done in a literal and figurative fashion. South’s Jazz Parlor always has something scintillating brewing on the live tip, and its restaurant is touched by the spirits of Souther cooking with fried green tomatoes and shrimp remoulade, shrimp and grits, buttermilk fried chicken, and vegan jambalaya.

SOUTH Kitchen & Jazz Bar, 600 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA

Square 1682

The mod American menu-driven restaurant on the corner of the Kimpton Hotel Palomar gets a new menu courtesy Square 1682’s Executive Chef Rondé Murphy starting on February 24 with starters such as Corn Bread & Honey Butter and Shrimp Hush Puppies with spiked blueberries, and remoulade, and mains such as Cornmeal Crusted Blue Catfish with Hopping John and 1682 hot sauce as well as Red Eye Gravy Smothered Chicken Breast over collard greens and mac-n-cheese. A portion of proceeds from each item sold at Square 1682 will benefit local BIPOC-owned and chef-led non-profit organization Everybody Eats.

Square 1682 at the Kimpton Hotel Palomar, 117 S 17th Street, Philadelphia, PA

48th Street Grille

West Philly’s legendary soul food salon specializes in Caribbean and New Orleans-inspired menus. Owner-chef Carl Lewis puts a Cajun spin on his signature Island Wings, blackened salmon topped with shrimp scampi, and more than a few jerk items.

48th Street Grille, 310 S. 48th Street, Philadelphia, PA

The Dutch’s Mom Mom’s Soul Food Pop-Up

East Passyunk Restaurant Row’s popular breakfast, lunch, and dinner eatery The Dutch welcomes back its popular Mom Mom’s Soul Food Pop-Up from Executive Chef and co-owner Kevin Watters for Black History Month with a “pop-up-turned-sit-down-dinner” Monday, February 27.  Hosted in remembrance of Watters’ late grandmother Lillian Lewis, Chef Kevin’s multi-course dinner includes Deviled Eggs with Cajun shrimp and roasted garlic, Baked Mac and Cheese Corn Bread topped with short rib and creamy cheese sauce, Buttermilk Fried Chicken accompanied by slow-cooked collard greens, smoked turkey, and oven-roasted candied yams. No leaves without dessert, Apple Bread Pudding served warm with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce, and, a portion of the night’s proceeds benefit Everybody Eats.

The Dutch, 1537 S 11th Street, Philadelphia, PA

Abyssinia

First off, West 45th’s Street’s grooviest Ethiopian restaurant always hosts dynamic live performances on its schedule, so hang around after the meal, night and day. That said, prepare for everything from hearty injera (bread), Gored-Gored (beef seasoned with kibbeh and awaze), Azifah (whole brown lentils blended with mustard, onion, jalapenos and spices), vegan options and breakfasts of Ful (fava beans with onions, tomatoes, pepper and olive oil served with bread).

Abyssinia, 229 S. 45th Street, Philadelphia, PA

Reggae Reggae Vibes

Where are my reggae clubs and restaurants in Philly? This Northern Liberties spot offers the best in dub soundsystem grooves and a Jamaican and American fusion menu with everything from jerk chicken cheesesteaks to crispy chicken patties and house-brewed ginger beer.

Reggae Reggae Vibes, 517 W. Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, PA

Hyatt Centric Center City Philadelphia’s Maker Series at Patchwork Restaurant & Bar with Joe Barker

Beyond Black History Month, Philadelphia artist Joe Barker is a legend for his street scenes, portraits of daily life, hanging and selling in Rittenhouse Square and his backstory of being the late great DMX’s father.  Along with this art exhibit, the bartenders at Patchwork Restaurant & Bar are deep pouring some lovely cocktails on the behalf of Barker and Black History Month.

Hyatt Centric Center City Philadelphia’s Patchwork Restaurant & Bar, 1620 Chancellor Street, Philadelphia, PA

Chef Reeky’s Cafe & Juice Bar

Coming from Southwest Philly as I do, I know a little bit about the Chef’s salmon cake hash, seafood and spinach egg rolls, and the famed grits here, the Party Grits in flavorings of jumbo shrimp, Chilean salmon, lump crab and jack cheddar with scallions and scampi sauce. Come to my old neighborhood. Chef Reeky will treat you right.

Chef Reeky’s Cafe & Juice Bar, 6517 Elmwood Avenue, Philadelphia, PA

All the Way Live

Germantown Avenue’s beloved mother and daughter team, Nyeisha Cabiness and Beverly Nedley, offer up the best of nut burgers, quinoa salads, chickpea chili, and a highly touted raw food/vegan menu.

All the Way Live Cafe, 6108 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA

New Barber’s Hall

Are you kidding me? The New Barber Hall is as famous as City Hall – a 19th-century cycling clubhouse-turned live music venue (John Coltrane played there, The Temptations played there) and bar-restaurant performed. Jake Adams owns the Hall now, and maintains the legend of great dinners and strong drinks.

New Barber’s Hall, 1402 W. Oxford Street, Philadelphia, PA

Dahlak

The family-owned Eritrean-Ethiopian restaurant has long been a mainstay of University City dining and hanging out, offering up, as it always has East African traditional fare such as sambusas, beef tibs, doro okra and many vegetarian options. Go when the DJ is there on the weekend, and the hookah is fired up and you’ll never go home.

Dahlak, 4708 Baltimore Avenue, Philadelphia, PA

Amina

Old City’s newest restaurant from owner Felicia Wilson and chef-partner Darryl Harmon touches on a Southern menu with Nigerian inspiration. That means Flaming lobster bisque, Grilled Lamb Lollipops, Down Home Gumbo (rice, shrimp, crab, oysters, chicken wings, spicy chicken sausage) and a Nigerian Hot Chicken sandwich (bread and butter pickles, soul slaw, peanut butter on a brioche roll). Plus, ask for the Amina Bloody Mary featuring Harmon’s signature spice blend.

Amina, 104 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA

    • A.D. Amarosi's Headshot

      A.D. Amorosi is an award-winning journalist who, along with working for the Philadelphia Weekly, writes regularly for Variety, Jazz Times, Flood and Wax Poetics, and hosts and co-produces his own SoundCloud-charting radio show, Theater in the Round for Pacifica National Public Radio station WPPM 106.5 FM and WPPM.org.

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