MILWAUKEE — Black Restaurant Week in Milwaukee starts Monday, and some restaurants are gearing up for it.
The event runs April 12-18, and there are 21 restaurants participating (click here to see the restaurants). The list includes soul food, barbecue, wings, pizza, lunch and cafe, as well as specialty cuisine.
"We have been doing this since the 1960s, and that’s the one thing my dad taught me: Make sure you cook, treat people like you want to be treated - cook fresh, down-home cooking," said Ashley's Bar-B-Que owner Darnell Ashley.
The City of Milwaukee announced Friday it anticipates implementing a stricter COVID-19 health order next week as cases continue to rise. The announcement noted many of the businesses with approved safety plans will not be impacted by a new order. Under the new order, restaurants and bars without approved safety plans will have to revert to 25 percent capacity, compared to the 50 percent at which they are allowed to operate right now.
Otherwise, those with approved safety plans do not have to change capacity limits.
"We submitted our safety plan back in November," said Rita Lee of Big Daddy's BBQ and Soul Food. "So we do 50 percent, even if they go up to 75 percent, we stay at 50 percent."
Under Phase 5 and the current Phase 6, standing and moving throughout bars and restaurants are permitted as long as people are masked. Eating and drinking are allowed only when customers are seated or stationary.
Both Ashley's and Big Daddy's rely heavily on take-out. Lee says takeout accounts for 90 percent of their business.
"We serve the best barbecue on this side of heaven, that’s what we say," Lee said. "You can come in, dine-in, or carry out, or go out on our patio."
"It’s just meaningful that you come out here and support Black restaurants and giving back to the community," said Ashley's customer Howard Thomas. "I'm quite sure they are giving back to the community also, and that’s what it’s all about."