Spicy, soulful, and bursting with flavor — Spokane’s culinary scene shimmers with diversity as restaurant owners from all different backgrounds, ethnicities, and cultures come together to share their rich regional specialties, traditions, and experiences through carefully crafted cuisine. Spokane’s Black-owned restaurants are found within this melting pot of flavors, a vital thread woven into this all-encompassing tapestry of cultural celebration through taste.
From soul food that warms the heart to Ethiopian stews tantalizing the palate, these establishments offer delicious meals and vibrant stories of heritage, resilience, and community spirit. With these Black-owned restaurants, community members can dive into a journey of discovery, where each bite is a celebration of cultural expression and culinary artistry, and each dining experience offers a window into the diverse cultural stories and warm hospitality that define Spokane’s Black community.
414 ½ W Sprague Avenue, Spokane
Bringing a taste of Texas to Spokane is none other than Bob Hemphill’s Chicken-N-More. After owning multiple businesses in Spokane, he opened Chicken-n-More in 1992 to establish some Texas flavor in the Lilac City. He eventually married his lovely wife Teresa in 1994, and ever since, she has been thoroughly involved in all aspects of the restaurant with Bob. Together, the dynamic duo works tirelessly to maintain the high standards of all that is Chicken-N-More.
Since its inception, the restaurant has won a number of distinguished awards over the years, including the Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics from the Better Business Bureau and Gonzaga University, Spokane Culinary Arts Guild: Best Southern-Style Food, and more recently, the Channel 4 Slam Dunk Dish Contest. Located in the heart of downtown Spokane, patrons here can expect a side of hospitality with their Southern comfort cuisine in their relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.
Queen of Sheba Ethiopian Cuisine
621 W Mallon Avenue #426, Spokane
Within the historic Spokane Flour Mill is where one local restaurant is waiting to transport you to the Horn of Africa with its Ethiopian Cuisine. Queen of Sheba is an extraordinary place where patrons can enjoy the communal experience of Ethiopian dining, making this restaurant perfect for group outings.
Owner Almaz Ainuu was born and raised in Ethiopia before living and traveling worldwide, spending time in Kenya, the Caribbean, the Ivory Coast, and Southern California. With her great world exposure through missionary work, she brings these flavors from around the globe to her now Spokane home, where her dream of owning an Ethiopian restaurant was realized.
As such, the restaurant itself is an extension of home for Almaz, as she and her staff pride themselves on excellent service and hospitality. In traditional Ethiopian customs, dishes here are served on a single platter on top of a large piece of flat bread called injera. Patrons can choose between beef, lamb, and chicken dishes, and there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options too.
Betty Jean’s BBQ
2926 E 29th Avenue, Spokane
Veteran-owned and family-operated husband and wife duo Omar and Dee Jones have brought a taste of the South with them from their former home of North Carolina, which can now be found at Betty Jean’s BBQ.
First opened in 2015 at Fairchild Air Force Base, the restaurant is named in honor of Omar’s grandmother, who taught him how to cook food for the masses, including mouthwatering pulled pork, or “Southern barbecue.” Recently, the establishment relocated to Lincoln Heights on Spokane’s South Hill, but the menu is still the same beloved Southern comfort menu items, complete with all the fixin’s.
Whether you’re from the South and missing home or from the Pacific Northwest and have always been curious about the cuisine, stop by and let them transport your taste buds with dishes like Bayou Po Boy, The Rocky Mount, and Carolina Philly Sub. Don’t forget the sides. After all, no Southern meal is complete without some hush puppies and fried okra!
RJ’s So Southern BBQ & Catering
Do your next BBQ up right and in true Southern style with the help of RJ’s So Southern BBQ & Catering. Established in 2016, self-taught chef and owner Reggie Perkins, originally from Nashville, shares his favorite Southern flavors with Spokane, one catering event at a time. As you may have guessed, everything on this menu is homemade, from the macaroni and cheese to the fresh collard greens.
Then, of course, let us not forget the meats, as his informational brochure proudly proclaims, “My ribs….no napkins! My chicken…what’s happening! My brisket….no joke!” All meats are baked, grilled, and deliciously smoked to pair with his beautiful and complimentary Southern sides. These meals must genuinely be from Tennessee because they’re Nashville hot and the perfect bite of Southern hospitality.
Big Rod’s Texas BBQ
12602 N Nine Mile Road, Spokane
When Rob Smith moved to Washington in 2003, he brought his mouthwatering skills for perfectly crafted BBQ and quickly began serving food at yard sales. Before he knew it, he catered for friend’s parties and picnics and eventually purchased his own food truck in 2016.
Now Big Rod’s Texas BBQ has been filling the streets of Spokane with a spectacular aroma, beckoning patrons to try his authentic slow-smoked BBQ, which he learned from the best, his father, Bubba Smith. Made in true Texas style, barbecue here doesn’t revolve around the sauce and has a much longer smoking time — between 22 to 24 hours. The result is delicious brisket, oozing pull-pork sandwiches, and fall-off-the-bone ribs to go with even more delicious sides, including mac and cheese, potato salad, coleslaw and pulled pork and beans.
Cascadia Public House
6314 N Ash Street, Spokane
You’ll find fantastic food, drinks, and great people at Cascadia Public House. The menu of this locally owned and operated Northwest Gastropub is just as diverse as its ownership. Jordan Smith and his good friend Rob Hatch have worked hard to cultivate a menu that includes everything from burgers and sandwiches to salads and seafood and even includes gluten-free options and over 15 dedicated plant-based dishes.
The restaurant works with several local and regional farmers and ranchers to procure the freshest ingredients for their dishes, emphasizing sustainability for the future while sourcing. The dynamite team credits their success to the positive connections they’ve made with not just these farmers but also their diners, and on any given day, at least one of them can usually be found on-site, serving up good food and good times. Besides the excellent grub, patrons will discover Cascadia embodies a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere, with an open patio and three separate fireplaces.
From soul food classics with a modern twist to Ethiopian stews bursting with flavor, Spokane’s Black-owned restaurants offer a kaleidoscope of culinary experiences. Each bite celebrates heritage, culture, and the entrepreneurial spirit that thrives here in the Lilac City. By supporting these establishments, you’re not just enjoying a delicious meal. You’re contributing to a vibrant community and ensuring these stories (and meals) continue to be told for generations.