Celebrating Black Business Month in Jacksonville; Local Black-owned restaurants you can support

Darvin Nelson, General Assignment Reporter

This August celebrates the 18th National Black Business Month with many businesses in Jacksonville ready for the extra love. Now, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and after racial unrest in 2020, people are coming together to celebrate the month in a brand new light.

Photo by Lance Asper on Unsplash.

“Black Business Month has impacted our business greatly because it shines a light on our business as well as others like ours,” says Lakita Spann from Mr. Potato Spread, a local restaurant. “In previous Black Business months, we have gained customers of all races who aim to be intentional about their support.”

Island Tropics is just one, out of millions of Black-owned businesses across the nation.

There are 2.6 million black-owned businesses in the U.S., according to the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and Florida is home to 11,932 of those businesses. 

Jacksonville has its classic spots like Metro Diner, Birdies, Rain Dogs, and Hoptinger, but here are some local Black-owned restaurants in Duval that you can support that may be just as enjoyable:

Mixed Fillings Pie Shop

  • 5 stars
  • 2251 Oak St, Jacksonville, FL 32204
  • This mouth-watering shop was born in the kitchen of founder Chef Natasha Burton who has been a private chef to “celebrities, professional athletes, actors, busy professionals, and families.” From Dallas, Texas, she now shares her tasty recipes here in Duval county.
  • “Our recipes are definite crowd-pleasers,” reads their website. “Some of the finest the south has to offer. Whether you want to enjoy a single slice with that special someone or you’re sharing with family.”

Mr. Potato Spread

  • 4.5 stars
  • 9501 Arlington Expressway, Jacksonville, FL 32225
  • Mr. Potato Spread is a Jacksonville native that saw potatoes as an underrated food and wanted to create something that not only felt like home but could also be enjoyed by everyone.
  • “We love and appreciated the love our city had for blue crabs and ‘crab pots,’” their website reads. “These crab pots played such a huge role in our lives that we had to do what had never been done, put a crab pot in a potato! We shared this with our friends and family and they in turn shared it with social media and people lost it! It was then, we knew we had something!

Hip Hop Fish and Chicken

  • 4 stars
  • 6610 N Main St, Jacksonville, FL 32208
  • This local restaurant has almost 3,000 google reviews, some of which stress the tastiness of their well-seasoned fish.
  • “The best fresh seasoned  fish and clams I’ve tasted in a long time and I’m from New York city,” one review said. “The young staff workers are very pleasant and well mannered. To the owner, 10 thumbs up.”

Cool Moose Cafe

  • 4.5 stars
  • 2708 Park St, Jacksonville, FL 32205
  • Cool Moose Cafe is a welcoming place where locals can enjoy a beautiful breakfast or brunch.
  • “Cool Moose Cafe serves breakfast and lunch throughout the day,” according to their website. “Enjoy an extensive menu including an assortment of fresh omelets, egg creations, healthy selections, salads, sandwiches, soups, pastries, coffees, teas and so much more! Breakfast is served all day long.”

Celestia’s Coastal Cuisine

  • 4.5 stars
  • 6765 Dunn Ave, Jacksonville, FL 32219
  • This business offers affordable seafood platters with classic soul food sides like fried okra and mac and cheese.
  • “This place is delicious! Not just the seafood… the sides were just as amazing,” reads one customer review. “I’m pretty sure I was making noises the whole time I was eating. If you still believe in GREAT customer service paired with amazing food, I highly recommend restaurant!!!”

The Cookbook Restaurant

  • 4.5 stars
  • 1827 N Pearl St, Jacksonville, FL 32206
  • The Cookbook Restaurant aims to provide happiness and joy through food, music and art, reads their FaceBook.
  • *BLACK OWNED BUSINESS ALERT* Had the chance to pop by this week while in town and wanted to get my hands on some good vegan food,” one review says. “During the weekday, you can find Mo V’s Kitchen open inside and she has some of the best vegan food I’ve tasted on Florida! Collard green egg rolls are to die for, LITERALLY! And the Messy Azz Burger is so delish. Prices are moderate and well worth it. Can’t wait to get back for breakfast at The Cookbook too!

Ev’s Jamaican Kitchen

  • 4 stars
  • 14333 Beach Blvd #22, Jacksonville, FL 32250
  • “Our menu features Jerk Chicken, Curry Chicken Roll, Goat and Stew Beef, Fried Chicken, and more! Don’t forget to try our Jerk Pork and Curry Chicken and the Oxtail Combo! Find us off of Interstate 90 near San Pablo Rd S. We’re not far from Neptune Beach! Order online for carryout!”

El Mofongo

  • 4.5 stars
  • 6011 103rd St #11, Jacksonville, FL 32210
  • El Mofongo is a family-owned business that serves “Dominican & Cuban comfort dishes in a low-key setting.”
  • The food was fresh made and tasted good,” reads a review. “The portions were generous, the staff were kind and welcoming, and the price was great.  I left well fed and happy. I had the roast pork, beef, and chicken. All were good, but the roast pork and the homemade hot sauce were A+. I’ll definitely be back.

Island Tropics Restaurant

  • 4.5 stars
  • 2527 N Main St, Jacksonville, FL 32206
  • “We bring Caribbean flavors and culture together in Jacksonville, Florida and allow diversity to flourish. The Caribbean is best known for its breathtaking hospitality and Great Food,” the restaurant stated on their FaceBook page.

Spinnaker also asked Ospreys on Instagram what Black-owned businesses they enjoy supporting. Here are some of their suggestions:

Shut Em Down Authentic Southern Restaurant

  • 4.5 stars
  • 6315 San Juan Ave, Jacksonville, FL 32210
  • Richard Jones founded Shut Em Down Authentic Southern Restaurant after 27 years of working in the food industry. His wife, Cathy, and his brother, Thomas later joined in on the fun. 
  • “After years of dreaming of a place to share his Love for Food, this idea of Shut Em Down was born,” reads their website. “The concept was to take Family Recipes that have been loved and shared through many generations and give that same experience to our community! Everything about Shut Em Down is as Authentic as can be – from the Food to the Employees.”


  • 5 stars
  • 1910 Wells Rd Food Court SPC VC18, Orange Park, FL 32073
  • LaTasha Kaiser learned to cook from her father at a young age. After going vegan, she applied her family’s kitchen skills to create meatless alternatives of the foods she liked.
  • “​KraVegan’s menu is a survey of all the things LaTasha loves to eat, but adapted to a vegan diet,” reads their website. “Although not her primary focus, soul food features prominently on her menu with popular items like meatless ribs, “moxtails,” mac-n-cheese, and collard greens. In a way, what she does is a return to the origins of soul food.”

Photo by Klaus Nielsen from Pexels.

COVID-19 has played a large role in the recent struggle of Black-owned businesses. National Geographic published research conducted by the University of California and the National Bureau of Economic Research that showed “41 percent of Black-owned businesses—some 440,000 enterprises—have been shuttered by COVID-19, compared to just 17 percent of white-owned businesses.”

The data is saddening, considering the efforts of those who founded National Black Business Month back in 2004. According to nationaldaycalendar.com, “Historian John William Templeton and engineer Frederick E. Jordan Sr. founded National Black Business Month” to drive the policy agenda affecting millions of African-American businesses.  The policy agenda is known as a combination of political demands and issues that is considered by policy-makers.

Hopefully, we’ll see Black-businesses bounce back in the upcoming years. In the meantime, you can dine at these local Black-owned restaurants to celebrate the month! Learn more about Black Business Month here.

We are honored to be welcomed and supported by the Jacksonville community. As Black business owners, we are pleased to say that our customer base is very multicultural and supported by all races. We appreciate our customers,” says Island Tropics Restaurant owners Cedric & Sydney Burrell.


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