RICHMOND, Va. -- The Black Restaurant Experience is back again with virtual options this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We have created an opportunity to have a virtual, a menu of virtual, experiences throughout the week," said Black Restaurant Experience Co-Founder Shemicia Bowen.
Bowen said this year's event will include 43 brick-and-mortar restaurants -- which is a huge growth from the 18 restaurants that the event started with five years ago.
There will also be 27 food trucks.
But the experience is more than just-food.
"So, we’re having an unofficial kick-off this Friday, March 5. We are going to watch, as a family, Coming 2 America," said Bowen. "It took 29 years for us to get a sequel to the movie, and we’re really excited."
Keeping in line with the movie, Bellos and Ma Musu’s Africanne will be serving African cuisine, while other restaurants will feature a twist on the movie’s knock-off "McDowell's" burger, including vegan and vegetarian options.
You can see the movie preview Friday at 7 p.m. on Amazon Prime, then, on Sunday, it’s the official kick-off with Sunday Mobile Soul.
This year, there are nine locations with historic references -- the Arthur Ashe Center and the Maggie Walker Statue are just two. You’ll find the list on the new website RBRE365.com.
It reflects the organization’s mission to support its members year-round. Last year $50,000 was raised and given back to restaurants.
"This year we are anticipating eclipsing $2 million, which is pretty amazing. Over the course of seven days in five years for these restaurants to hit that 2 million mark is pretty remarkable," said Bowen.
For a complete list of restaurants and events, tap here.