RICHMOND, Va. -- Over 100 Black businesses will be participating in this year's Richmond Black Restaurant Experience.
"It's okay to lick your fingers here," Chef MaMuSu, the owner of Africanne on Main, a popular restaurant near VCU, said. "So we make dishes from Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Guinea. So most of the West African countries is what I specialize in."
The restaurant also serves Caribbean and Southern-inspired dishes.
"I'm gonna be honest, I just grabbed everything that like looked good."
MaMuSu has been a part of the Richmond food scene since 1995. After several locations, she landed a prime spot at 1102 West Main Street.
"And it took this long to get here for me to really be able to prepare African food the right way without compromising the spices, compromising the look and people wanting it authentically and so moving here was really the best thing I will say, thank God, the best thing that happened to me," MaMuSu said.
Africanne on Main is one of the dozens of restaurants that are participating in the annual Richmond Black Restaurant experience.
"Seven years ago, we had 19 restaurants that believed in our vision that we had this thing, this machine that we thought we were going to create. Now, we're up almost three times that, more than three times that. We're up to 44 Black-owned restaurants."
Shemicia Bowen said there was a void in the food scene for Black restaurants.
"Richmond is known as the foods of foodie city, right? So you have to be able to tell a complete story and the complete story of Richmond and its food scene includes Black restaurants, Black caterers, Black chefs and this Sunday, our Black mobile food trucks. And as our culture meets cuisine, 22 food trucks will kick things off at Mobile Soul Sunday in Monroe Park on Franklin Street," Bowen said.
There will be a fun zone and a 20-foot mainstage that will feature local talents.
If food wasn't a big enough attraction, the economic impact is enormous.
“So, in year seven, we are anticipating about $4 million dollars. That is $4 million Black-curated dollars floating back throughout this community. We just asked people to make be intentional, pack a little patience, have a little grace, have fun while you're eating, meet a friend understand that that is the whole point for us to push revenue, push people into these businesses March 5 through 12," Bowen said.
Back at Africanne on Main, there's food for every taste bud.
“This is my special tofu with vegetables, spices, and pineapples in our special tofu,” MaMuSu said.
The restaurant also offers fried chicken, fish, freshly-made ginger teas and much more.
As for Chef MaMuSu, this is her life and her longevity.
“I say this to everybody, If I died today, and came back in any form, anything, I will be cooking. This is all I know; this is all I like, and this is all I want to be.”
The Richmond Black Restaurant Experience runs Sunday, March 5 through Sunday, March 12. Click here for links to the restaurants' websites and menus.