The third annual edition of Long Beach Black Restaurant Week begins Sunday, Jan. 21. It is an excellent chance for you to discover the distinctive flavors of African, African American, and Caribbean cuisine! Participating restaurants in Downtown and throughout Long Beach will be offering specials, which will be updated on the event website over the next couple of days.
“Exposure at events like these is very important for our community,” said Qiana Williams-Mafnas, proprietor and organizer of the event who also runs the smoked meats and barbeque restaurant Axiom Kitchen with her husband Ian Mafnas. “A very small percentage of restaurants in the USA are Black-owned; People are missing out on all this great food!”
Downtown Long Beach restaurants participating in Long Beach Black Restaurant Week are Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles and Water’s Edge Winery. We’ve also added a few more Black-owned Downtown eateries to this list you should absolutely try. All of them have something special to offer. Plan a visit during Black Restaurant Week — or anytime!
WATER’S EDGE WINERY / 149 LINDEN AVE.
Water’s Edge Winery is making quite a splash in the East Village, thanks to the quality of the up to thirty different wines it produces each year — and thanks also to Paul Munoz, the East Village’s one and only singing wine tender! On the night we visited, Winery patrons Kevin Griffin and Melissa Chavez were celebrating their anniversary, and Munoz was serenading them beautifully.
“People have been loving our Sparkling Rose,” said Munoz as the anniversary couple toasted each other with it. “Another favorite is our Big Daddy Red, which is actually a blend of a few red wines.”
Water’s Edge Winery is open Wednesday through Saturday, 4 to 10 PM, and Sunday from noon until 5 PM. To see its amazing wine and food menus, click here.
ROSCOE’S CHICKEN & WAFFLES / 730 E BROADWAY
Roscoe’s is responsible for helping introduce Soul Food restaurants to Long Beach: It got its start at another location in Long Beach by founder and Harlem native Herb Hudson in 1975! Since then, Roscoe’s has made countless folks happy with its Chicken & Waffles, Mac & Cheese, Candy Yams, and Banana Pudding for dessert, among many enticing dishes.
The popularity of the Roscoe’s chain in Greater L.A. is no joke! Everyone from President Obama to Stevie Wonder and Snoop Dogg has stopped in for a bite at Roscoe’s over the years. Local musicians have known for years that in Long Beach, Roscoe’s Jazz Lounge pairs your post-meal beverage with some superb live music.
Roscoe’s is open Sunday through Thursday, 8 AM to 10 PM; Friday and Saturday 8 AM to MIDNIGHT. To get a look at the extensive menu of Soul Food and more, click here.
LOUISIANA CHARLIE’S BBQ & CAJUN CUISINE / 429 SHORELINE VILLAGE DR., STE. H
With three patios — two of them on the water — Louisiana Charlie’s is a terrific Downtown dining location. But its #1 selling point is the food! “It’s amazing,” said Manager Sasha Jeter. “Big portions, great taste — you definitely get your money’s worth.”
Jeter went on to describe how people love the Gumbo Fries and the Catfish. “On a cold night we sell more Gumbo and Jambalaya. Families like our Crab and Seafood Boils,” she added.
Louisiana Charlie’s is open Sunday through Thursday, 11 AM to 8 PM; Friday and Saturday 11 AM to 9 PM. For exquisite menu details, click here.
MABEL’S GOURMET PRALINES / 625 PINE AVE.
Owner Saundra Christmas named her shop after her mother Mabel, and she’s carrying on the dessert traditions Mabel taught her while growing up in Louisiana. Locals have fallen in love with Mabel’s Pralines and her Fresh Banana Puddin, lovingly made on the premises by Saundra.
“I make the Banana Puddin with fresh bananas and vanilla wafers, just like Mabel used to make on Sundays,” said Christmas. “People come in for everything from individual portions to batches that serve 75!”
Christmas will be on vacation through the end of January but her shop will be open again in February. Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 6 PM. To learn more about Mabel’s desserts and to read many glowing customer testimonials, click here.
MCDOWELL’S SOUL FOOD & BBQ / 900 LONG BEACH BLVD.
Manager Robert Welch got poetic when asked to describe the appeal of this cozy neighborhood restaurant with the wood BBQ: “It’s fabulous,” he said. “Bring yourself on down to McDowell’s, and you’re guaranteed to bring yourself back, because we’ve got the best food in town! It’s soulful.”
Welch mentioned that customer favorites include Oxtail, Mac & Cheese, Black-Eyed Peas, Red Beans & Rice, and all BBQ items. “Anything we set on the wood is good,” he noted.
McDowell’s is open seven days a week from 11 AM to 8 PM (hours may vary slightly — give a call at 562.676.4106). Make sure to follow McDowell’s on Instagram.