Mitchell Mittelstedt

Celebrating 16 Black-Owned Restaurants

Milwaukee Black Restaurant Week spotlights a variety of restaurants, cafes.

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Monterrey Smoke House at 551 W. Becher St., owned by chefs Robert Bergeron and Dion Jefferson, is one of 16 or more restaurants participating in the second year of Milwaukee Black Restaurant Week.

“It’s mostly seafood, because that’s what we like. We like to call it more of like an upscale Southern-Creole-Cajun feel,” said Jefferson.

Neither Bergeron or Jefferson went to culinary school. Jefferson learned to cook from his mother, grandmother and other relatives and then moved on to work under others chefs, while Bergeron said he learned a lot about cooking with fresh ingredients while living in Germany.

The restaurant has a full service bar and a hookah lounge offering a variety of flavors. “It’s kind of like a one-stop shop, where we’re putting off this sexy, grown-up, casual dining feel for people to come and enjoy themselves,” Jefferson said.

Added Bergeron, “It’s not soul food that we cook, but everything comes from our soul.”

Milwaukee Black Restaurant Week is sponsored by BlankSpace MKE, an urban art cooperative whose mission is to serve as a conduit for “cooperative economics.” The event is running from April 17-23. No coupons are needed and each restaurant has its own specials.

Other participating restaurants include:

Ashley’s Bar-B-Que, 1501 W. Center St.

Chic Cafe, 770 N. Jefferson St.

Coffee Makes You Black, 2803 N. Teutonia Ave.

Daddy’s Soul Food & Grille, 754 N. 27th St.

Dee’s Elegance, 7420 W. Villard Ave.

Irie Zulu, 7237 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa

Jizzles Sandwich Shop, 4618 W. Burleigh St.

Mama Nana’s Pick-Mar Family Restaurant, 7276 N. Teutonia Ave.

Mister BBQ, 5908 N. 76th St.

Pass Da Peas, 7870 W. Appleton Ave.

Mr. Perkins Family Restaurant, 2001 W. Atkinson Ave.

Rise & Grind Cafe, 6007 N. Teutonia Ave.

The Big Eazy, 2053 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Dr.

Terri Lynn’s Express, 10704 W. Hampton Ave.

Tony’s BBQ Unlimited, 3510 W. Villard Ave.

This story was originally published by Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, where you can find other stories reporting on fifteen city neighborhoods in Milwaukee.

14 thoughts on “Celebrating 16 Black-Owned Restaurants”

  1. Gregg says:

    I lived in Milwaukee for 30 years before I moved to Minneapolis in 1998, I am always looking for good places to eat whenever I come back to Milwaukee to visit family.

    I appreciate the variety being offered there.

    I can count on 1 hand how many black food establishments/cafes Minneapolis has.

    Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed living in Minneapolis because of the economic factor over Wisconsin but wish there was more food offerings owned and run by blacks citizens.

  2. Bio says:

    I can only imagine the uproar if one were to publish an article titled “Celebrating 15 White Owned Restaurants.” Most people would not openly state that the color of one’s skin should make any difference whatsoever as to which restaurant to patronize. Most people would be outraged if the headline to this article substituted the word white for black. We are never going to stop making judgments based on the color of our fellow citizens’ skin so long as we continue to celebrate the particular color of one’s skin, as reflected in the headline to this article. Wake up!

  3. Bman says:

    I agree with you Bio. On top of that it feels patronizing. Hey Milwaukee! Let’s pat ourselves on the back because there are some African Americans who own restaurants in our city. If you base your patronage of a business on the race of the owner of a business you are not part of the problem. You ARE the problem.

  4. MARY parthum says:

    Speed Queen BBQ isn’t Black owned?

    It’s important to me as a lover of Southern cuisine — which in the Midwest is more likely Black owned and prepared — to know these restaurant locations in town. Appreciate this article informing us about “Milwaukee’s Black Restaurant Week.” Thank you for it.

  5. RAFE says:

    Come on now, Bio. Surely you jest.
    The double standard of society is on full display with articles like this one.

    I tend to look on the bright side. Now I know which restaurants to avoid.

  6. Rodney Johnson says:

    It’s amazing how some might confuse their own brand of racism and try to pass it off as racial equality. Who would ever accuse anyone celebrating its culture with racism? It might be people who don’t understand what the definition of racism is (google it).

    The next time you want to demonstrate how culturally aware you are by going out for Thai, Chinese, or Italian, and haven’t mentioned the same issue, you might want to realize you are still being racist in how you view and issue. You may still be lost in your color-blindedness as usual. Leaves more for people who enjoy good food of all cultures.

  7. Jason says:

    I have no problem highlighting black own businesses in Milwaukee. It would be good for some of the readership to patronize these businesses. Restaurant work is sweat work with long shifts mainly nights and weekends and Urban Milwaukee should be given kudos in recognizing hard work.

  8. Bio says:

    Rodney, the headline was not about going to a restaurant featuring soul food, so your analogy to talking about getting some Italian, Chinese, or Thai food is a false analogy. But you knew that already. Go back and read my comment, plug in the word white for black in the headline, and then tell us more about how it is equivalent to speaking about Thai food. What a joke. Let’s admit what we really have here, and let’s not kid each other

  9. BizCoach says:

    Is the greater issue here is that we live in a world that it has to be celebrated because unfortunately it somehow wasn’t always
    the norm? We are all very clear of the varied
    Obstacles that had to be overcome to
    get to this juncture in “ownership” . In that is there genuinely room for comparison? Why must we play ignorant to rewriting history? Kudos to the advancement and accomplishment to any culture that breaks the historical norm and makes progress. As a world should we find that cause for celebration not comparisons. Every ceiling is only truly relevant to the people who actually are sitting in that particular room.

  10. Milwaukee Native says:

    To all those alarmed about Black Restaurant Week or this article’s title…

    It comes across as “Good forbid this niche market should promote itself”–just as other niche markets do.

  11. CCS says:

    its good to know where the “black Owned business” are to support them. sometimes I just want to see and eat with my own people. why must everything be a fight or debate or checking somebody. just be happy for them.

  12. Greg (Dr. Greg) says:

    As a non-Milwaukeean and African American, I think that whomever feels that pointing out Black Owned Restaurants is a problem, this person(s) need to wake up. Prior to coming to Milwaukee (Milw-waky), I lived in Dallas, Nashville, Atlanta, Louisville, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Virginia and Chicago and traveled to other continents as well. Nothing is wrong in pointing out cultural hot spots whether they be restaurants, museums or other no matter what part of this country or other parts of the world….Every culture has some significance. This is what makes us one. I am glad to know of not only the Black owned restaurants but the many other cultural hot spots that exist in this community as well as others. To those to narrow minded to appreciate this, get a life!

  13. Patricia B. Shirley says:

    Thank you for publishing this. This past weekend, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority hosted our Regional Convention in Milwaukee. Alpha Kappa Alpha is the oldest Black Greek-Letter Sorority, dating back to 1908. There were about 2500 people who attended, it was with great pride that we were able to let our visitors know that Milwaukee had a plethora of restaurants, great variety, embracing many cultures, particularly Black owned-operated establishments. It’s a matter of taste, pun is okay, to be able to offer our visitors choices not just limited to restaurants/services adjacent to their hotels, etc. When we broaden our palates, we open ourselves to broadening our world. Get over it and get on with your life!!
    Eat, drink and be merry, healthy and culturally competent!

  14. N53214 says:

    Speed queen is owned by a middle eastern family as far I know.

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