Inglewood businesses want to be saved. In a recent article in LA Eater titled How LA’s NFL Stadium Will Seal the Fate of Inglewood Restaurants featured Black owned local eateries discussing their “waiting” for the NFL stadium to open to save their businesses. The problem is the stadium won’t open until 2020 and these eateries are in desperate need of business NOW. Despite many Inglewood residents crying about gentrification and Blacks being pushed out, these businesses are waiting for white people to save them as opposed to catering to the community that is here now and that’s a huge reason their business is failing.
Bourbon Street Fish
Owner Derrick Brown has been a staple in the community for over a decade. BSF has even won a Hoodie Award back in the day for his eatery but the food quality and portion sizes could be revamped. My family and I have eaten there but preferred Pico Fish on Hyde Park or Whitehurst on Imperial.
To recoup some of his losses, with the close of the Hollywood Park Racetrack, he has turned his parking lot into overflow parking for the Forum. The problem is concert goers aren’t eating there, they continue to support Sizzler.
Brown stopped catering to the Black community when he ended his popular annual Mardi Gras event that brought hundreds to his business. He is now waiting on the influx of more affluent NFL fans to “revamp and expand” his eatery to accommodate them.
BSF used to be supported by former Inglewood Mayor’s Roosevelt Dorn and Danny Tabor due to Brown’s running of his baseball team at the former Getty Field. Brown is also good friends with Halimah Ginyard, who runs a Facebook group with Mayor Butts, Eye on Inglewood but doesn’t run any ads/promotions on her page either.
M & M’s Soul Food
Beverly Brinson has been apart of the Inglewood community for at least two decades. Her business started on Manchester and 11th Ave and then moved to the former Kentucky Fried Chicken on Manchester a block West of Prairie. I was a regular customer at the former location but grew tired of the runny dressing. My grandfather made the best cornbread dressing that was fluffy. The portions got smaller and the outside of the building was full of statues and about a dozen signs.
Brinson also turned her parking lot into overflow parking for the Forum but not to make money but to keep concert goers from parking there. That could’ve hurt her business since that’s not a way to invite people IN to try the food. The wait could be rather long especially when using the drive thru on my lunch break. On any given day, her restaurant is empty.
Like Brown, Brinson doesn’t own the building she runs her business out of and told LA Eater her landlord wouldn’t renew her lease due to him shopping the location for the highest bidder. Running her business on a month-to-month tenancy spells nothing but doom for her.
Dulan’s Soul Food Kitchen
Adolph Dulan was one of the most successful restauranteurs in Los Angeles. Dulan passed away and his son’s Terry and Gregory took over the business. The eatery still commands a line down the street at the Manchester location and his location on Century moved East to the location formerly known as Bertha’s Soul Food. They DO own their land and their portions reflect they can give us customers more bang for our buck. The food quality has changed slightly with the passing of the elder Dulan but again, the large portions make up for it. The plates are also reasonably priced.
Terry and Gregory Dulan shared with LA Eater that their strategy is to cozy up to the builders of the Rams/Chargers stadium in order to hopefully gain presence inside the venue. At the Forum, the only Inglewood eatery present on-site is Orleans & York and they are not Black owned.
The irony of this article is the Black community is complaining of being gentrified out of Inglewood yet these Black owned businesses see white people as the savior of their struggling businesses.
One thing all of these businesses have in common is their failure to advertise and reinvent their menus to make them more appeasing to ALL ethnicities, Somehow, Orleans & York has been able to achieve that.
Their location is always clean inside and out. The ethnicities of their employees is diverse and they offer quality food. They have also managed to partner with Metro’s successful Eat, Shop Play promotion where we receive regular emails about meetup events at the restaurant to entice customers.
Another business who has surprisingly amped up their advertising and promotions is the Savoy night club. On Sunday’s they were hosting Soulful Sundays and they have implemented the highly successful Wednesday Comedy Night hosted by comedian Chris Spencer. These events are in addition to Taco Tuesday’s and Sunday NFL Gameday. You also hear the Savoy advertising on KJLH.
The old adage “it costs money to make money” is true. None of the above eateries are advertising in local newspapers offering special promotions to Inglewood residents. No promotions for families to come in and their kids eat free while they enjoy a full price meal. No promotions for special offerings on the slowest days of the week and definitely no promotion for introduction of new menu items.
Sweet Red Peach is a popular bakery that has awesome deserts and you can’t find them in any local restaurant. Why aren’t these eateries showcasing their desserts in their restaurants? It shows camaraderie and community.
The key is supporting one another and promoting the existing Black businesses to the community through partnerships. Perhaps run an ad together. Create a Inglewood Black Business Association, otherwise, these businesses won’t be around to see the opening of the NFL stadium. Instead, they will be driving past the stadium and their former location saying “my business used to be there”.