EatOkra app helps users find 150 Chicago-area Black-owned restaurants, bars

ByABC 7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
EatOkra app helps users find 150 Chicago-area Black-owned restaurants, bars
A Black-owned app helps users find Black-owned bars and restaurants.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- EatOkra offers 150 different Black-owned eateries and bars in the city and suburbs.

Anthony and Janique Edwards are the husband-wife team behind the app. They joined ABC 7 Chicago Wednesday to talk about it.

It's the first smartphone application to curate over 3,400 Black-owned restaurants and food establishments throughout the United States, according to its creators.

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Anthony is a military veteran, who wanted to find restaurants in his Brooklyn neighborhood and was astonished by the variety of Black-owned businesses he found.

"I was curious and started researching restaurants all over New York City and the boroughs, which led me to research other major cities as well," he said.

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The initial group of businesses was manually entered by Edwards and his business partners Janique Bradley and Justin Johnson. Ultimately, friends and social media users added to the listing that also includes restaurants featuring cuisines from Africa, South America and the Caribbean.

The first version of EatOkra was soft-launched in 2016 with Edwards' continuous effort to enhance user-experience. To date, there have been almost 250,000 downloads by users seeking restaurants, coffee houses and food-related events such as pop-ups and food trucks in over 25 major cities and the District of Columbia, its creators said. Users can add businesses from the app or website.

"Food defines a sense of community, and EatOkra permits users to locate those communities," Edwards said.

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