12 Black-owned restaurants give customers special access to a Juneteenth cookout

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By Megan Sayles, AFRO Business Writer
Report for America Corps Member
Msayles@afro.com

To celebrate Juneteenth, Fishnet, a Baltimore seafood restaurant, is partnering with 11 other Black-owned restaurants to give customers an exclusive look into the backyard cookout experience. 

If patrons buy from any of the participating restaurants on June 18 or 19, they will receive a QR code which they can then scan to access a 4-hour long video, created by Baltimore black creatives, of the restaurants’ Juneteenth party. The celebration will feature musical performances by DJ James Nasty and DJ Trillakay, as well as a poetry-reading by Kondwani Fidel. 

Keyia Yalcin, the owner of Fishnet, was inspired to plan this event after the pandemic and social unrest led her to do some self-reflection. 

“I decided maybe I can’t hold other people accountable, but I can use my platform and hold myself accountable to make sure that I highlight black entrepreneurs and black restaurants and celebrate black culture whenever possible,” said Yalcin.  

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The partnering restaurants include Sobeachy Haitian Cuisine, Cuples Tea House, Cheezy Mike’s, Pinch Dumplings, Wine O’Clock, Magdalena, Crust By Mack, Old Major, Land of Kush and Shipyard Pub. Yalcin hopes that this partnership will show people that there is no shortage of Black talent and excellence in Baltimore. 

Juneteenth has recently received more recognition as a holiday that is not just celebrated by Black communities but by wider American communities overall. On Tuesday, the Senate passed a bill to establish Juneteenth as a national holiday, and the House of Representatives is expected to do the same. 

While Yalcin is appreciative of the increasing acceptance and acknowledgement of the holiday, she wants to ensure that people are celebrating by uplifting Black-owned businesses and the Black community as a whole. 

“Many times we don’t get to celebrate and just be joyful as a community, and this is an opportunity to do so,” said Yalcin. “In the midst of the pressures of the pandemic [and] the trauma of the social unrest, we have an opportunity to focus on joy, and I encourage everyone to do that on Juneteenth.”

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