The EatOkra App Helps Foodies Support Black-Owned Restaurants
By Danielle Dorsey
The phrase that we “vote with our dollars” has never been truer and it has inspired a generation of Black millennials to create technology that helps us cast our monetary votes with more clarity and confidence.
One app that falls into this category is EatOkra, which was created as an antidote to help preserve Black lives and spaces by supporting Black-owned restaurants and business owners. Co-founded by Anthony Edwards Jr and Janique Bradley, and UX/UI designer Justin Johnson, EatOkra has been called “a new Green Book guide for Black restaurant hunters.”
Available for both Android and iOS users, EatOkra provides a growing directory of Black-owned restaurants that allows users to add businesses directly from the app. First soft-launched in 2016, EatOkra has expanded in direct response to racially charged events at dining establishments, like when two Black lawyers were arrested while meeting at a Starbucks in Philadelphia.
In a company press release, Edwards stated that “gathering and food define our sense of community, and EatOkra permits users to locate and support those communities. Our app is a necessity in locating those safe places to meet and eat without fear of profiling and harassment.”
The name EatOkra is fitting, paying homage to enslaved Africans who brought okra seeds on slave ships in hopes of bringing some of their culture to these new lands they were forced upon.
EatOkra’s coverage includes 20 U.S. cities and more than 1200 restaurants. The free app pinpoints your location and offers selections based on categories like breakfast and brunch, local eats, Caribbean cuisine, and soul food. To add a business to the app, simply tap the “Add Business” button and fill in the appropriate information.
Currently, EatOkra only features brick-and-mortar restaurants on the app, but Edwards shared with Food Before Love that he hopes to include Black caterers and online food businesses in the future.
To donate and support EatOkra’s mission, click here.