By Sara Edwards

Pasadena Weekly Contributing Writer

Black Restaurant Week is starting a new campaign, No Crumb Left Behind, to help Black-owned small businesses across the country recover after the pandemic and connect them to new resources.

BRW was founded in Houston in 2016 by Warren Luckett, Falayn Ferrell and Derek Robinson and has since expanded its reach to the southwest, southeast and northwest regions to increase Black-owned culinary participants.

“With small businesses still recovering from the pandemic, it is important to provide as much support as possible,” Ferrell said. “The No Crumb Left Behind campaign speaks to our goal of supporting 1,000 black-owned culinary businesses in this year’s Black Restaurant Week campaign.”

Black Restaurant Week is Friday, Aug. 6, to Sunday, Aug. 15. For more information, visit blackrestaurantweeks.com.

Black Restaurant Week LLC focuses on the importance of systemic barriers faced by Black-owned restaurants, like the disproportionate access to business loans, for example. The University of California, Santa Cruz found that 41% of Black-owned businesses have shuttered since February compared to 17% of white-owned businesses.

“Black-owned small businesses already face difficulty accessing capital to start their business and many owners are forced to use their personal savings, personal credit cards, personal assets or apply for loans with high-interest rates to open their businesses,” Robinson said.

“During times of economic downturn, it becomes increasingly difficult to operate a business that already has a slim profit margin.”

So, in partnership with SoCal Gas, Black Restaurant Week LLC- Los Angeles and multiple Black-owned restaurants will take part in an August showcase to build community awareness and help with the pandemic recovery process.

“Black-owned businesses play an important role in the livelihood of our communities. And food, especially from family-owned restaurants, serves as the social fabric that brings us together,” said Cedric Williams, vice president of customer service at SoCalGas.

“That’s why we have supported Black Restaurant Week, an important cultural initiative that celebrates the flavors of African American, African and Caribbean cuisine, since its launch in Los Angeles.”

Onil Chibas has experience with food catering and hospitality, which he displays in his restaurant Deluxe 1717. It is where he hosted family-style dinners at a long communal table. But when the pandemic hit, he decided to transition to meal delivery. He would prepare one of his fine meals that included an entree, side dish and dessert and include heating instructions so people could continue enjoying his food from the safety of one’s home.

“We really had to pivot, and things only continue to change,” Chibas said. “We just opened up the space and made it a little restaurant again.”

Chibas also started hosting “Wonderful Wednesdays” to help overcome the challenges that the pandemic created. He invited people to sign up and come back to the dining space for a personally curated meal and community bonding. He said he’s excited to be a part of No Crumb Left Behind and hopes to expose Deluxe 1717 to more people in the community.

“It’s been really helpful to know that there’s support out there,” he said. “For that I’m so grateful and it’s so great to be a part of this.”