Calling all Milwaukee foodies! Here's how you can help take several Black-owned restaurants to the next level

NOW: Calling all Milwaukee foodies! Here’s how you can help take several Black-owned restaurants to the next level

WAUWATOSA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- If you consider yourself a foodie, you may want to listen up. 

The Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce (TWBCC) is asking for your help taking local Black-owned restaurants to the next level.

This is the second year the nonprofit will be giving $100,000 through a funding commitment with their community-based initiative.

How it works is that $100,000 will be broken up into $25 gift cards that are being distributed to attendees at different chamber events.

They can then take those gift cards to participating area eateries in exchange for a free meal and then provide feedback on the store's customer service.

"By helping small business owners, this helps families and enhances their economic standing as it aids in community development," said TWBCC CEO Ruben Hopkins. "Our focus is to train, teach, encourage, and showcase entrepreneurs as they grow their businesses."

On Monday, Feb. 26, leaders held a press conference announcing the newest six restaurants participating in the program. 

They include:

  • Mr. B’s Privileged Lounge at 8617 W. Brown Deer Rd Milwaukee, WI 53224
  • Perkins Boyz on Tha Grill at 6818-22 W. Brown Deer Rd, Milwaukee, WI 53223
  • Brothers Backyard BBQ at 3530 W. National Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53215
  • Mi Causa Su Cafe at 1835 N. Doctor M.L.K. Jr. Dr., Milwaukee, WI 53212
  • Delicious Bites at 6538 W. North Ave, Wauwatosa, WI 53213
  • Tropic MKE at 518 N. Water St., Milwaukee, WI 53202

CBS 58's Ellie Nakamoto-White spoke with Tomira White, the owner and head chef at Delicious Bites, who said she recently celebrated her one-year anniversary.

"I really just love the space," White said. "It's been a great learning curve. It's all of the ups, the downs, the in-betweens."

White is a third-generation chef who began baking "on a whim."

"I made some cupcakes for my son’s party, he enjoyed them. From there, it kind of just spiraled into cupcakes, cookies," White recalled. 

Lashena McElroy, the chairwoman of the Black Restaurant Association for TWBCC, said the restaurant owners meet every month to go over customer feedback.

“It gives the owners that direct feedback from their clientele that are coming in, and then also an opportunity to meet new people that have never even visited or experienced our cuisine," McElroy said. “A lot of us are definitely first-generation. We didn’t grow up with that wealth or that additional money in the bank. We actually went out there and created these opportunities for ourselves, as well as our families, so it’s really important that Milwaukee continues to support African American businesses.”

Michael Hester, the co-owner of Brother's Backyard Barbecue, agreed, saying this means he's "not alone."

“With them coming in and analyzing what we do and how we move and everything and what improvements we can make, it’s just a great deal, so it’s going to help us," Hester said.

The next set of restaurants participating will be picked in the summer. 

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