Black-Owned Restaurants | Flavors From Afar

June 5, 2020

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Black-Owned Restaurants | Flavors From Afar

Meet Christian Davis, Co-founder of Flavors From Afar in LA.

Standing with the voices which must be heard to address historic injustices against the Black community also means standing with local Black-owned restaurants that are feeling the impact of this moment in more ways than one. Christian’s is the first in a series of stories we will share of Black-owned restaurants as part of our continued effort to elevate Black voices. We sat down with Christian to learn about his career, his restaurant, and his story.


Tell us about how your restaurant got started.

I was approached by Meymuna, the creator of Flavors From Afar, with the opportunity to expand her catering business when I was working at a menswear boutique.
I was prepared and ready to work, but she told me that she wasn’t able to pay me yet and wouldn’t work with me until she could. She said she didn’t want to undervalue me. That was the first time I’d ever been told that, and part of the reason I came on.
She had a kitchen in Little Ethiopia, which was in the back of bodega that’s been there since the 90s. That’s where I met Chef Alia, who was making this incredible Somali food.
Meymuna broke down how she’s wanting to create a brick and mortar with the entire space and asked me to help her do it. She’d been working with nine chefs for her catering business and wanted to bring all their cuisines on a rotating menu.
We put an emphasis on global comfort food that represented the areas each chef was from, got a head chef (Jalen Bennett), and maintained the bodega and market, so we didn’t negate the community that was already there for that. So far, we’ve had cuisine from Belize, Egypt, Somalia, Eritrea, Guatemalan, and Venezuelan was upcoming, but we had to change schedules due to current curfews. Our grand opening day was March 21st, which was right when the stay at home orders were really poppin’ off.

What is your signature dish and what does it mean to you?

Even though our menu is rotating, the Sambusa is by far the favorite. It’s from our Somali menu and is requested several times a week.
The best way I can describe it is a super crispy and fried triangular East African egg roll filled with vegetables, potato, and ground beef, and comes with a side of serrano chili sauce. This is something that Alia brought to the table, and it actually does have quite a bit of significance since her story is so incredibly emotional and eye-opening to what life is like for others in different parts of the world.
Sambusa | Flavors From Afar

Tell us what the Black Lives Matter movement means to you and your business.

Every member of Flavors From Afar is a person of color and every one of us but one is Black. The Black Lives Matter movement provides an underlying layer of immeasurable drive and focus for the restaurant. Each and every day our chef’s come in with the goal of making better food and wanting to be swamped with orders.
You’re always representing your community, not just yourself, and you want to do the best for that community. It matters to be a successful black business in America.
Personally, Black Lives Matters reminded people of how much more delicate my life is. It reminded everyone that Black lives were and obviously still are valued less. It’s a lifelong trauma that I’d been comfortable living with, and so has every other Black person. The rest of the world was fine watching us deal with it too. The countless cries for help, the marches, the protests, and the leaders of my people who were killed who dared to try and change a radically imbalanced system were all really ignored up until recently. Now it’s a constant conversation amongst all people, not just black people. It’s another breadcrumb in this long trail for change. But a significant breadcrumb.

Besides ordering, what’s another example of how your community has shown support for your restaurant?

Social media has been our biggest help so far, especially with everyone staying indoors due to Coronavirus. Our food and mission has created genuine engagement online, and that’s how we’ve spread organically.

What do you want to say to other Black restaurant owners?

For other Black restaurant owners, something I’ve learned so far that’s been incredibly helpful is sharing advice and asking for it. You’ll never know everything, and there’s always something new to learn. Asking for advice and help has been humbling. You’d be surprised how resourceful the people in your life are when you start to view their talents with a different lens. That friend who has a leather bag company can quickly become that friend who now makes your leather aprons for the entire team, and you’ve also connected him with other restaurant owners as a result. It’s something that’s so obvious but often overlooked. All the help’s in your back pocket.
If you’ve got a connection for a produce vendor, know of a great platform that gave you a ton of business, etcetera… share that information. We are definitely not in competition with one another. We can’t afford to be anyway, and there’s plenty of people who want to eat. Helping others grow does the same for you in ways you won’t foresee until you’re all already enjoying the benefits of it. Building strong relationships and helping others will keep you successful.

Yesterday we launched the Black-Owned Restaurants collection. Each and every order from this collection will be delivered free — find these restaurants by searching “Black-Owned” in the app.

We want to extend this collection to businesses that have previously been unserved by delivery platforms. If you know a business in your area that you’d like to support, write to us at Black-owned@postmates.com.

This week has been a painful reminder of racial injustice. Nothing about this is new. That is why we must reflect on our role in this conversation. We stand with the Black Lives Matter movement, our restaurant partners, our Postmates Fleet, and each of you across the country, but will continually ask ourselves what we can do to help, and build on our actions.

FoodNews

More from News

View All

Uber Completes Acquisition Of Postmates

Uber Technologies, Inc. announced that it has completed the acquisition of Postmates Inc.

December 1, 2020