According to Yelp’s Economic Impact Report, nearly 24,000 restaurants have closed their doors nationwide since March 1, 53 percent permanently. This reality was even more daunting for Black owned eateries because of the inability to access to capital and being located in some of the hardest hit areas. The pandemic has made 2020 feel like the restaurant apocalypse for many who saw their favorite brands close its doors. Even one of our 2019 members, No. 3 – Ortanique On the Mile, the 20 something year old Coral Gables staple, served its last meal to emotional patrons back in October.
Thankfully, there is some good news. Black America’s resiliency has been tried and tested over the past 400 years, and our ancestors have not let us down yet. Black Miami is experiencing a culinary revival during these dark times, serving as a beacon and example for the rest of the nation.
As we approach our 5-year anniversary, The Hungry Black Man Media eagerly tallied the votes of our followers to select Miami’s Top 10 Black Owned Restaurants of 2020. There are some familiar faces, but the freshman class of newly opened establishments made this year’s competition exceptionally fierce. I have never been more proud of the Black Food and Drink Ecosystem of Miami. There has been an incredible renaissance of culinary excellence presented with memorable entrees, culinary sophistication, cultural revival, architectural design.
From top notch cocktail programs to chef inspired tastings, Miami’s Black food entrepreneurs showed out in 2020 by creatively providing foodies awesome options for socially distant date nights, opportunities to celebrate milestone family events outdoors, curbside lunch pickups, and even zoom luncheons.
Here are Miami’s Top 10 Black-owned restaurants of 2020.
Fat Ronnie’s Burger Bar
1233 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach, FL 33139, Phone: (305) 308-6200
I have eaten, I’m sure hundreds, if not thousands of animals from the land and sea in my lifetime. I’m thankful for their sacrifice in providing nutrition to my body and spirit, however, visiting Fat Ronnie’s Burger Bar helped me see I’m more of an herbivore than I realized. The original Fat Ronnie’s is on Martha’s Vineyard. Miami was blessed with the second location in March, during the onset of the pandemic.
With over five generations of Black butchers and burger makers, this spot serves a fresh Maine Lobster Roll that was so meaty I honestly don’t understand how that item is remotely profitable to the company. Their Portobello mushroom burger has a texture that almost fooled me into thinking I was eating beef. And their cheeseburger is one of the best I’ve had in FLORIDA! The real stars to many are the super soft buns that the perfect companion for the high quality, grass fed, antibiotic- and hormone-free beef. Fat Ronnie’s was highly impressive for vegans as well, given the plethora of vegan burger options. The diverse menu also includes fried fish, chicken, wings and don’t forget about A FULL BAR that makes amazing mojitos. Congrats to this new comer on our incredible list!
Lorna’s Caribbean & American Grill
19752 NW 27th Ave, Miami Gardens, FL 33056, Phone: (305) 623-9760
When Matari Bodie and Lorna Westmoreland, a mother son duo, had to relocate their restaurant from one section of Miami Gardens to another, they transformed their small take-out spot into one of the most beautifully designed restaurants in all Miami-Dade County. Known for its AMAZING OXTAILS, Lorna’s offer a unique menu that fuses the soulfulness of African-American cooking with the spice and flavor of the islands of Jamaica and Bahamas!
They are the only Black-owned full-service restaurant that carries ultra-premium cognacs, gins, and vodkas with awesome bartenders. You can’t go wrong with almost anything off the menu, but my favorites are the Grilled Salmon, Curry Goat, Jerk Chicken, and of course the OXTAILS! 2020 saw Lorna’s introduce a unique and spirited brunch with amazing options and their CRAB CAKES! Yes, Lord. These were a welcomed addition to their menu that has customers both happy and hungry for more.
KC Healthy Cooking
11900 Biscayne Blvd #103, North Miami, FL 33181, Phone: (786) 502-4193
So, the chef here is literally a Harry Potter franchise type wizard because there is no other way to explain how he got healthy and vegan food to taste this damn good. Located across the street from North Miami’s Whole Foods, Chef Jerry Dominque is not afraid to compete with their hot bar, and he is winning! With over 25 years of culinary experience, it’s no wonder I went into a 30-minute food coma after dining at this astonishing hidden gem. Everything on the menu is healthy, but you wouldn’t know it by the naughty tasting entrees.
My favorites are the lalo, a regional Haitian stew comprised of beef, jute leaves, and blue crab served with white rice, and the Portobello mushroom burger served with lettuce, tomato, avocado and a house made basil pesto. Why the hell did Jerry do this? My addiction to both these healthy items is showing no signs of letting up. The deliciousness didn’t stop there because he takes Haitian staples and turns them into super healthy entrees, like his Djon Djon rice, Seda Cupcake and Vegan Legume.
Dukunoo Jamaican Kitchen
316 NW 24th St, Miami, FL 33127, Phone: (786) 334-5150
The location for our 8th Annual Juneteenth Festival, this eatery opened late in 2019 and has consistently improved its menu offerings and service. Serving as the only full service Black-owned upscale eatery in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami, this restaurant has some of the area’s largest collection of Black art on its walls with beautiful murals painted both inside and out. The massive space has an outside patio area that can literally host a full-fledged concert.
With an eclectic Caribbean menu (my favorite items are the oxtails and the jerk corn) and now one of the most spirited brunches in the area, Dukunoo has quickly become a local staple and tourist destination. I find myself at this bar whenever I can get away from the grind, especially because there is an outside area great for social distancing. Their amazing mixologists are giving another of my favorites, Beaker and Grey, a run for their money with their sophistication and attention to detail in the construction of each cocktail.
Awash Ethiopian Restaurant
19934 NW Second Ave., Miami Gardens, FL Phone: (305) 770-5100
Chef Eka Wassel and her husband Fouad opened Miami’s only Ethiopian eatery and they’ve been consistent and delicious. Armed with an exciting coffee ceremony experience and a cuisine packed with exotic and unique flavors from the horn of Africa, there is little not to like about this place. Beautifully designed with authentic Ethiopian furniture, art, and décor, this space in the heart of Miami Gardens has garnered international acclaim. My favorite entrée is the Ethiopian fried fish along with the beef or lentil sambusa. If you’re visiting for the first time, I highly recommend the Taste of Awash, which gives you a sample of almost everything on the menu. Oh, and don’t miss out on their honey wine, a beverage with a rich 2,000-year-old African history.
800° Woodfired Kitchen
2956 NE 199th St, Aventura, FL 33180, Phone: (305) 902-4363
As one of two Black owned eateries in Aventura (the other is an amazing sub spot called Ike’s Subs), 800° is one of Aventura’s best restaurants in all the city. Chef Eddie has outdone himself with this spot, churning out a grilled Lamb neck so good I was almost licking the bone. I don’t care how you just judged me for saying that either. It was that good. The ribs, the Dwyane Wade burger, the half rotisserie chicken, and the cocktails are all exceptional. The space is classy and beautifully decorated with the best drinks in all northern Miami-Dade County period, thanks to Mr. Joey Sabato! Former Miami Heat superstars Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem have done an amazing job with Chef Eddie Donoso to create an internationally themed menu representative of Miami’s diverse and at times, chaotic culture. This spot is one of my regulars.
520 West Avenue, Commercial unit 1, Miami Beach, FL 33139, Phone: (305) 763-8323
Peter Thomas has successfully fused the sophistication and glamour of Miami Beach with the homestyle cooking of the deep south and the Caribbean. He has created an outstanding menu with a strong nod to the world-renowned bar scene of South Beach via a creative and bold cocktail program. On any given day, you are likely to see celebrities, superstar athletes and movers and shakers of South Florida dining at this beautiful waterfront establishment. Located in the heart of Miami Beach, Bar One has accomplished the need for a high-end BLACK OWNED restaurant on Miami Beach with breathtaking waterfront views, amazing services, and food that will have you ordering an entrée to go after finishing up your dine-in plate.
Combining over 300 years of African-American and Afro-Caribbean food pathways into his menu, diners can expect a culinary journey through the American low country, coastal and gulf regions with Caribbean flavor throughout. It is almost impossible for me to select an absolute favorite entrée, but among my favorites were the flavor packed Fried Salmon Bites —Alaskan salmon portions, fried in their signature breading w/ house honey mustard sauce, pickled veggie garnish, Whole Fried Branzino Escoviche served with a side of fried yucca, the Slow Braised Collard/Cabbage medley with smoked turkey and finally the Macaroni and Cheese Pie! Lord have mercy. Oh, don’t forget the Oxtails! Only spot on the Beach where you can get them. I enjoy them once a month for their AMAZING BRUNCH! Waterfront views, R&B, and chicken wings that are the BEST ON THE BEACH await you at this space.
9999 NE 2nd Ave, Miami Shores, FL 33138, Phone: (305) 754-9012
Chef Amina Ly is a chef’s chef. Last year, I took my culinary auntie, the incomparable Chef Carla Hall, to dine at this Parisian style eatery with a nod to both Senegalese and Italian cooking. White table cloths and an unmatched wine selection can be found at this romantic space, along with a high-end menu with moderate pricing. Chef Amina takes you on a fine dining experience that is versatile, sophisticated, and unique. From escargot to her unsurpassed Sardegna – marinated lamb chops with fresh mint goat cheese sauce and potatoes purée – the space is only for those folks who are serious about dining and quality and clean eats.
I honestly can’t think of any other eatery in Miami creating both African and European culinary excellence in this very purposed and intelligent manner. Chef brilliantly adjusted to Covid’s impact on the restaurant’s hours by creating a dynamic brunch, as well as an increasingly popular dinner and supper club, all of which are making serious waves. You must call ahead because she sells out seats of this quaint space just about every evening for their multi-course dinner program.
Drinking Pig BBQ
845 NE 151st St, Miami, FL 33162, (954) 589-3759
I met Chef Raheem Sealey a little over a year ago in his capacity as head chef at one of Miami’s swankiest, high end restaurants. Since then, the classically trained chef has created one of the country’s most amazing BBQ experiences. His dynamic team includes his surrogate brother, Chef Mark Wint (BEST SMOKING SKILL IN ALL MIAMI-DADE COUNTY), and his lovely wife, Chef Yohanir Sandoval. The trio has worked tirelessly to raise Miami’s BBQ scene to a level garnering national respect. While space, fire ordinances, and outdated county policies may mean the early pits of Liberty City, Overtown, Hialeah, and even Miami Gardens are impossible to duplicate in Miami-Dade County today, Raheem has not only brought back the nostalgia of the long gone roadside pits, but surpasses expectations of those of us old enough to remember their amazing offerings. The space is in a residential neighborhood with cool outdoor seating and complimentary beer and water.
The offerings are life changing. I can’t rave enough about the smoked chicken, brisket, and homemade sausages. Yes, you heard correct. These kinfolks are making sausages and castings from scratch. The chicken does something to your soul in a good way, while his unique take on low country sides are refreshing and invites you to dive deeper into their one of a kind flavor profile. A new comer to the list, Drinking Pig BBQ is one of the nation’s best BBQ joints and I can’t wait to see them make a huge splash on the national BBQ scene. Currently serving as a weekend popup open Friday through Sunday from 11am – 9pm, Drinking Pig BBQ is located at 845 NE 151st St, Miami, FL 33162 in Northeast Miami Dade.
Red Rooster Overtown
920 NW 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33136, (305) 640-9880
Derek Fleming, partner with celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson and Michael Simkins teamed up to open one of the country’s most dynamic restaurants in Red Rooster Overtown. This space is not only chef inspired greatness, but culturally important to the Overtown community. The design is breathtaking to say the least. If you are familiar with the HBO show Boardwalk Empire, think of its most opulent scene and make it Black excellence. That’s the interior of Red Rooster Overtown. Pure luxury.
With vast bars and dining rooms, both inside and outdoors, the restaurant is inviting to every type of patron imaginable. From the political elite, young children, families, romantic partners, business people, the place is a space for ALL people. Derek spared no expense in design and executive chef Tristen Epps, winner of the Food Network show, “Chopped,” has created entrees that invoke an incredible amount of emotion, nostalgia, and genuine happiness.
Focusing on foods of the African diaspora, Chef Epps grilled snapper, fried chicken, wagyu beef whole oxtail, and raw bar creations were true standouts. Everything is amazing, but my absolute favorite thing on the menu is a sweet potato. Yep, a sweet potato. When you try it, you’ll see why. This is a restaurant that all of Miami can be proud of. Stay tuned for my super detailed descriptions, which will be included in the feature article being published after Christmas. After all, the New Year should be brought in sitting in the complete whimsical enchantment of what is now all of Miami’s best restaurant, which also happens to be black owned.
Thank you for your support of the Black Food and Drink Ecosystem. We look forward to continuing the culinary excellence and reporting back to you all! Make sure you subscribe by inputting your email below, and follow us on social by clicking the Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter Icon. Have a Happy New Year from our family at The Hungry Black Man Media.