Bay Area Black Restaurant Week highlights culture, culinary experience

Bay Area Black Restaurant Week kicked off Friday and runs for 10 days until August 30.

At Voodoo Love, a Creole restaurant South of Market Street in San Francisco, the owner is hoping the event will help put her business and other African-American owned restaurants more prominently on the food map.

"It's pretty exciting to be highlighted for a change. And highlighted for our food, the preparation processes, all the health foods, the vegan dishes. It means a lot," says Chef Eva Morris.

Morris opened the restaurant 11 months ago. Her's is one of a handful of African-American owned restaurants taking part in Black Restaurant Week.

The event is circulating on social media and is designed to spotlight Black restaurants, which owners say are often overlooked by the general public.

"I feel like we face it all the time. It is felt like we can't be creative enough to step across the line of just fried chicken or cooking with pork fat," Morris says. "There are no Black chefs in Michelin star restaurants. Really? We don't get the same style of focus."

Roman Rogers who started his own Italian-soul food catering business Rome's kitchen, and has a pop-up restaurant in San Francisco's Bayview District, feels he's treated differently because he is African American.

"When I come into the buildings for different occasions and sign up for different things, sometimes I get the run-around. I might get the third eye or just not be treated with the same respect," says Rogers.

"It's difficult to get funding. It's difficult to complete and put together your program and get people to invest. It is difficult for landlords to believe in you," says Morris.

But the business owners say the Black Lives Matter movement has helped raise awareness about these issues, and that events like Black Restaurants Week can also help them break through.

"It helps my business look more on an upper echelon level, as well as more inquiries coming in. We have more people asking us about what Rome's kitchen is," says Rogers.