68 Black-Owned Food Businesses in Central & Western Pennsylvania

Supporting independent, Black-owned businesses has always been important. Due to systemic racist structures, securing capital investments, loans and property have long been disproportionately difficult for people of color. Add to that the razor-thin margins of food-related businesses, and you’ve got an extra-steep uphill climb for Black entrepreneurs in the culinary industry.

After the Black Lives Matter protests in the Summer of 2020 and the intense moment of awakening for white Americans about the deeply rooted injustices facing our country’s communities of color, it is even more essential to support Black-owned food businesses.

There is no shortage of Black-owned food businesses in Pennsylvania! We’ve divided our list up into the eastern and western parts of the state, and will be adding to the list frequently as we learn of more places that should be included!

Bakeries & Sweets

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Black Girl Bakes: Baker Jass Conners crafts gorgeous custom cakes for birthdays, weddings or any occasion where an extra does of fabulousness is in order. Cakes can take up to 4 weeks; send order inquiries through an online form. no listed address or phone, York.

Cobbler World: Owner Terina J. Hicks founded Cobbler World in 2014 after a job layoff. Cheesecakes, cookies and pound cakes are all on the menu, but clearly Hicks’ now-famous cobblers are the stars of the show, with dozens of flavors on offer. 1059 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh; (412) 403-2158.

Fudge Farm: Home to some of our favorite milkshakes in PA, this sweet-tooth’s paradise offers inventive and heavily accessorized shakes in signature flavors, or choose your own adventure with flavors and toppings customized to your exact cravings. Popcorn, marshmallows, cookies, pretzels, fruit, sprinkles, waffles and so much more are on offer to make the shake of your dreams! 142 W. Bridge St., Pittsburgh; (412) 461-4351.

Happy Day Dessert Factory: Brighten up your day with one of the treats from Happy Day, which, in addition to ice cream and water ice, include unique, imaginative creations, like Stackers (frozen custard layered with water ice) and Ice Shakes (blended mix of water ice and custard). There are plenty of non-dairy options, as well, including almond milk soft serve and water ice. 906A Western Ave., Pittsburgh; (412) 872-0117

Just Baked Cakes & Pies: This bakery’s slogan is, “Desserts that remind you of grandma.” That means homey, comforting treats, like cheesecake, cupcakes, sweet potato pie, strawberry shortcake and so much more. 270 Verbeke St., Harrisburg; (717) 236-3626.

KelSas Sweet Box: Sweet-tooths and savory fans alike will find things to love at KelSas! The menu includes decadent mini cheesecakes, gourmet cannoli, cookie pies and ice cream as well as charcuterie cones and grazing boards for snacking in style. 25 N. Prince St., Lancaster.

New Freedom Pie: What happens when a pie meets a cake? You get “pake”! This hybrid dessert, a cheesecake layered with traditional bean pie filling, is New Freedom Pie’s signature bake. Though its storefront is temporarily closed, you can still order treats through this online form. Harrisburg; (267) 536-9080.

Rosa’s Jar: This small cafe and catering company specializes in desserts and baked goods in jars, but is also known for its savory foods, like breakfast sandwiches, soups and hot dogs. 4600 Jonestown Rd., Lancaster; (717) 370-4267.

Sandy Boo’s Delights at Dana’s Bakery: After the owner of Dana’s Bakery passed away in 2022, the spot was taken over by Sandra Simmons, who carries on the tradition of providing the neighborhood with sweet treats. Her specialty is Italian ice, but she also makes donuts, cupcakes, cookies and more! 720 N. Homewood Ave. Pittsburgh; (412) 758-8848.

Special T Cakes: Seasonality drives the creations at Special T Cakes, like heart-shaped cupcakes at Valentine’s Day and hot chocolate bombs in the winter. Other treats include jarred desserts, cinnamon buns and brownies, and custom cakes with epic decorations are also available. Harrisburg; (717) 649-0986.

Wild Rise Bakery: Since his start in 2019, baker Oliver Pinder has been wowing his fans with gluten-free breads and treats that can go toe-to-toe with their gluten-full counterparts. Pinder’s line of goods ranges from bread loaves and rolls, to chewy bagels, to spiced coconut rolls, to Aloo pies. Wild Rise’s wares can be found at a number of Pittsburgh-area markets and restaurants, and are available via preorder pick-up at the Lawrenceville and Bloomfield farmers markets. Pittsburgh.

Cafes & Coffee Shops

Cafe 7-10: Coffee and sweets are on the menu at this cute cafe. With two locations (one is closed for several weeks in early 2024), including one in the Erie County Public Library, this is a favorite in the community for healthy lunches and desserts, like its famous brownies. 160 E. Front St., Erie; (814) 572-0985; 7 W. 10th St., Erie; (814) 572-0985.

CARES CommuniTEA Cafe: This cafe is so much more than just a coffee shop! It’s a social enterprise (part of the Avenues of Hope initiative) which provides entrepreneurship and workforce training to youth and young adults. In addition to standard and specialty coffee drinks, CARES serves breakfast and lunch foods, as well as sweets and pastries. 1836 Centre Ave., Pittsburgh; (412) 223-3333.

Everyday Cafe: This comfortable modern cafe is a social enterprise owned and operated by Bible Center Church. It offers a variety of hot and cold coffee and cafe drinks, breakfast sandwiches and wraps, lunch items, like panini soup and salad, and tarts, muffins and other coffee-friendly pastries. 532 N. Homewood Ave., Pittsburgh; (412) 727-2169.

Griff’s Grounds: Fresh-pressed coffees and teas are made to order for each customer at this cozy shop. Additionally, various flavors of affogato (espresso over ice cream), health and wellness teas by the bag, and gourmet flavored coffee beans are on offer. 1817 Leechburg Rd., Penn Hills; (412) 668-6062.

Harmony Café: This inclusive spot in the Central Market House in downtown York offers a sleek, community-driven space for guests to gather and enjoy coffee, snacks, pastries and a welcoming atmosphere. 46 W. Philadelphia St., York; (717) 430-8726.

Hazelwood Cafe: The comfortable, homey vibes flow as abundantly as the coffee in this charming neighborhood coffee spot. With colorfully patterned walls, inspired by African designs, and coffees sourced from Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and other African countries, the space is meant to reflect the energy of the community. Hazelwood Cafe was founded by owner Dasawn Gray, who opened up in 2022 at the age of 22! 5017 2nd Ave., Pittsburgh; (412) 586-7532.

Live Fresh Juicery: Specializing in fresh-pressed, nutrient-packed juices, nut milks, acai bowls and smoothies, this healthy-eating cafe frequently gives back to the community. ⁣14 E. 8th Ave., Pittsburgh; (412) 530-2640; 4000 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh; 1104 S. Braddock Ave., Pittsburgh; 845 Western Ave., Pittsburgh.

Roast Up: This locally-owned spot offers all kinds of coffee, bagels, pastries, sandwiches and smoothies, as well as one of its signature specialties: frozen lattes. Fans of creative drinks will appreciate Roast Up’s twists on lattes, like Raspberry Mocha, Brown Suga Honey and Red Velvet. 3925 E. Market St., York; (717) 893-5988.

Catering & Food Trucks

Blowfish BBQ: Since 2012, this food truck has been slinging wood-fired Pittsburgh-style barbecue at competitions, catering events and at other mobile vending opportunities. Follow along on social media to find out when and where Blowfish will be each weekend. no listed address or phone; Pittsburgh.

Cafe 301: Chef/owner Laurie Myers is known for Southern home cooking, with ingredients sourced from local family farms. She operates a food truck (check out the events calendar to find out where she’ll be next) and catering company. Call or email [email protected] to discuss private event catering. Columbia; (717) 799-5919.

Happy Dishes Food Trailer: After 25 years in the food and beverage industry working for some huge brands like Hilton and TGIFridays, Chef Michael Johnson opened a comfort and soul food truck that roams the State College area. The signature dish is the Happy Burger, a beef burger topped with pulled brisket, bacon, blue cheese, barbecue sauce and coleslaw. Milesburg; (814) 548-7949.

Homage: Cuisines of the West African Diaspora: With decades of experience, Liberian-born, Lancaster-based Chef Oliver Saye offers catering, private chef services, cooking demonstrations and pop-up dinners with a focus on the ingredients and food traditions of the West African Diaspora. Contact him through his website to discuss ordering. no listed address, Lancaster; (717) 615-6255.  

Jes Catering: Run by a professional chef, Jes Catering can create delicious menus and cater events for up to 75 people. Options range from full service buffets to drop-off services, there are menus to choose from ranging from breakfast to hors d’oeuvres to dinner and dessert. Lancaster; (703) 221-8405.

Mark & Val’s Wines: Every Saturday, you’ll find longtime married couple Mark and Val Rhodes at the Penn St. Market, in downtown York, PA, sampling their wines, chatting up guests and making new friends. Mark makes a variety of wines, including unusual fruit flavored blends, in a converted space in his home, and all of the bottles feature work by Black artists! They also recently opened their own tasting room, as well. 380 W. Market St., York; 1205 E. Philadelphia St., York; (717) 779-8459.

 

Pure Grub: Clean eating rules at Pure Grub, a meal service offering pick-ups. The menu is 100% organic, gluten-free, dairy-free and plant forward, and celebrates world cuisine with at least one dish every week. Order online for Wednesday or Friday pick-ups. Millvale; (412) 583-4291.

Rafiki Taste of Africa: Rafiki dishes up healthy, balanced African food will all profits supporting charities, both local and in Africa. Rafiki Africa, which works in Western Kenya to provide sustainable development and end physical and spiritual poverty, is the main beneficiary. 833 2nd St., Lancaster; (717) 682-4273.

Soulcialize Catering: Chef and owner Corey Woods offers quality, fresh and local southern style soul food with the aim of bringing people together with every bite. Soulcialize’s hearty dishes include specialties like Michael’s Mamma’s Meatloaf, Southern-style chicken fried steak and Shrimp n Chedda Bacon Grits. 31 S. Duke St., Lancaster; (717) 826-1119.

Veggies N’At: Every week, fresh menus are posted to Veggies N’At’s website, with the prepared vegan meals available for pick-up. These plant-based dishes go way beyond stir-fries and veggie burgers, with inventive options like falafel salad, BBQ Mash and Not-Cho Hash. Pittsburgh.

Restaurants & Bars

A Concrete Rose: This community-minded micro-winery, bar/restaurant, indie book store and live performance venue wraps up all of these elements into one beautiful hybrid concept. The book selection features works by Black authors, and the menu reflects both the flavors of the African diaspora and the agricultural bounty of Lancaster County. For the time being, A Concrete Rose is only open to the public on Wednesday evenings, and for private events Tuesday through Sunday. 910 S. Duke St., Ste. 105, Lancaster; (717) 208-3494.

African Eats Cuisine: Owners Dr. Saudat Lawal and her husband Luke Lawal opened African Eats to bring the flavors of traditional Nigerian and West African dishes to Pittsburgh. The menu spans the day from breakfast (yam and eggs, bean cake sandwich) through lunch and dinner, where you’ll find meat pies, fufu (cassava meal), asun (smoked goat meat) and so much more. There’s also a full bar, with imported beers, fun cocktails and unique non-alcoholic options. 2032 Murray Ave., Pittsburgh; (412) 307-0294.

Aunt Cheryl’s Cafe: Hearty, home-cooked food is the focus of this cafe and caterer. Popular menu items include breakfast platters, cheesesteak hoagies, Aunt Cheryl’s signature turkey salad sandwich, and loaded cheese fries. Vegan and dairy smoothies are also available. 416 Library St., Braddock; (412) 727-6011.

Beckett’s Rib Joint: For over 30 years, this soul food and Southern food restaurant has been serving the community quality, delicious food. Fried chicken sandwiches and seafood dishes are the house specialties. 324 Walnut St., Reading; (610) 375-1857.

The Big 5 African Cuisine: Since 2017, this restaurant has been dishing up authentic African cuisine, like beef and chicken stews, pilau rice and pork sausage and beef samosas. Its owner, Laurah Musembi, was inspired to open The Big 5 by her mother, Julian Musembi, who once ran her own African food stand at Eastern Market. 630 N. Plum St., Lancaster; (717) 208-6035.

Big Ray’s Burgers and Dogs: The definition of a classic burger joint, Big Ray’s family-friendly restaurant makes everything fresh to order. The burgers and fries are customer favorites, and many other menu items are offered, too, including wings, wraps, subs, salads, ice cream and more! 3619 Simpson Ferry Rd., Camp Hill;  (717) 695-7023.

Blazin J’s: Obliterate your fried chicken cravings at this casual spot, where chicken is the name of the game, and it’s a game played with true expertise. The menu is short, but sweet: chicken sandwiches, chicken and waffles, chicken bites, chicken tenders and chicken salad.  15 E King St., Lancaster; (717) 945-7197.

Capow Jamaican Restaurant: This teeny two-table restaurant serves up authentic, scratch-made Jamaican favorites, like stew beef, rice and pea, curry shrimp and jerk kitchen. Hours are Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 .m., and closed on Sunday. 1403 Market St., Harrisburg; (717) 238-1543.

Cafe on the Corner: Michael and Lateresa Blackwell started this welcoming cafe in a former nuisance bar. It offers New Orleans gumbo, sandwiches, wraps, soups, desserts and more. They also founded a restaurant workforce development program called Kitchen of Grace2700 Shadeland Ave., Pittsburgh; (412) 415-3672.

Caribbean Choice: The island vibes are on point at this casual spot. From the photos of Bob Marley in the window to the platters of jerk chicken, curry shrimp and BBQ wings, this cafe is infused with warmth and spice. 1312 N. George St., York; (717) 356-2722.

Crawdaddy’s: Southern soul food meets New Orleans flavors at this sit-down restaurant and live jazz venue. Sunday brunch is a can’t-miss affair, with unique dishes like Breakfast Po’Boy, cereal-crusted French toast and sweet potato pancakes. 1500 N. 6th St., Harrisburg; (712) 232-7374.

Fat Guys: Smashburgers are the house specialty here, with a number of variations and toppings to make your own. Bacon-wrapped hot dogs, 10 kinds of wings, Cajun fries and milkshakes ensure that no one will leave hungry. 10718 Frankstown Rd., Pittsburgh; (412) 727-8265.

Feed Your Soul: Soul food, made with love, is this Harrisburg spot’s aim. Specials include oven baked ham sandwiches, fried fish platters and sweets like banana pudding pies. 421 Friendship Rd., Suite 4, Harrisburg;  (717) 970-3055.

Flavors Famous Street Food: Pretty much any kind of American street food you can imagine, from chicken tenders to walking tacos to gyros to Chicago-style pizza puffs are available at Flavors. Order online for carry-out or local delivery. 3231 Brighton Rd., Pittsburgh; (412) 761-3663.

Got Jerk Island Grill: This Authentic Jamaican spot is beloved for its bold Caribbean flavors and creative dishes, like loaded jerk fries, Caribbean-style burritos and Jerkburger subs. You can take home its signature bottled sauces, sold in-store or online.! 1313 N. 2nd St., Harrisburg; (717) 540-5375.

The Grill at River Forest: The Grill is the restaurant at the River Forest County Club, which offers affordable, flexible memberships to help make golf accessible to everyone. Its menu features fresh, vibrant takes on country club classics like caramelized brussels sprouts, blue crab and beet salads and sesame crusted salmon. A full bar means post-golf cocktails like peach-spiked mules, Lemon Drops and classic Old Fashioneds. 130 Club House Dr., Freeport; (724) 295-2298.

Harris Family Brewery: Pennsylvania’s first Black-owned brewery, Harris Family Brewery was founded by Timothy F. White, Jr., Shaun P. Harris, Sr. and Jerry Thomas. After exploring in homebrewing, this trio struck out to turn their venture professional. While their brewery and taproom are still in development, you’ll find this new brewery at beer festivals and events around the region (once those begin happening again!). no listed address or phone, Harrisburg.

Hooks Catfish Kitchen: This unfussy seafood place is a great go-to in Erie for fried fish, chicken tenders and fun snacks like zucchini sticks, clam strips, sweet corn nuggets and onion rings. 38 North Park Row, Erie; (814) 452-6739.

Leon’s Caribbean: This casual cafe offers authentic Caribbean fare, with all sorts of jerk and curry meats dominating the menu, with daily specials like beef patties, jerk wings and plantains. The lunch specials are an amazing value! 823 W. Warrington Ave., Pittsburgh; (412) 431-LEON; 2282 Brodhead Rd., Aliquippa.

McClure’s Fish House & More: Owned and operated by Meadville born-and-raised Maurice McClure, this fish house is indeed well-known for its wide selection of seafood dishes, as well as chicken, sandwiches, family meals and tasty sides, like red beans and rice and fried cabbage. 964 Park Ave., Meadville; (814) 807-1946.

Mecca Caribbean and Soul Food: Tucked into a small storefront in West Reading, Mecca serves a revolving menu of soul food dishes from a hot bar; mix and match dishes like jerk chicken, candied yams, collard greens and rice and beans to make your perfect platter. 166 Franklin St., West Reading; (610) 396-5584.

Pauline’s Caribbean Soul: This family-owned restaurant serves authentic Caribbean dishes, like brown stew chicken and curried goat, as well as Caribbean-infused specials, like jerk shrimp fettuccine and vegetable fried rice. 1204 Federal St., Pittsburgh; (412) 231-2000.

PB’s Kitchen with Southern Smoke: This tiny roadside BBQ shack serves up big flavors. Walk up to the window to order subs, burgers and dinner platters featuring expertly-smoked meats, like brisket and chicken. Call ahead for orders if you’re in a hurry. 814 Newville Rd., Carlisle; (717) 315-0016.

Pecan Tree Cafe: Cheesesteaks and soul food make a winning combo at Pecan Tree in downtown York. Whether you grab a comfy booth or take your food to-go, there are home-cooked, comforting flavors and hearty portions to enjoy. 287 W. Market St., York; (717) 893-7653.

Pineapple Eddie’s Southern Bistro: Chef Jean Paul serves up Southern regional cuisine with a Caribbean flair, like catfish tenders, Jamaican black pepper shrimp and Southern fried chicken. Order online for takeout. 1402 W. 10th St., Erie; (814) 454-0700.

Queen’s BBQ & Southern Cuisine: This sweet spot in Midtown, which opened in January of 2020, specializes in Southern home style BBQ and comfort food cooked from scratch. It also has a strong community focus, with homeless outreach efforts, a pay-it-forward program and an honor roll program for local school students. 912 N. 3rd St, Harrisburg; (717) 526-9998.

Ribs N Bread: As the name implies, it’s all about ribs here. Owner Rander “Randy” Thompson channels his lifelong love for cooking and BBQ into each platter of ribs and chicken, sauce and sides. 4707 Centre Ave., Pittsburgh; (412) 760-7446.

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Showcase BBQ: This popular BBQ joint routinely sells out of its perfectly grilled meats (often grilled outside the shop on a huge smoker). The chicken, brisket and ribs are not to be missed! 6800 Frankstown Ave., Pittsburgh; (412) 361-7469.

Skillet2Plate Soul Bistro: Hearty, fresh and delicious Southern-style food is on the menu at Skillet2Plate; think brisket sandwiches, fried whiting, grilled salmon, mac and cheese and more. Reservations and walk-ins welcome. 30 Eberts Lane, York; (717) 893-2111.

Soul and Sea: It’s all about fresh, delicious seafood here, with specials like golden tail lobster, fried salmon and the epic crab lover’s feast. Order online through Postmates. 10718 Frankstown Rd., Pittsburgh; (412) 223-5700

Soul Burrito: Homestyle soul food meets Mexican street classics at this popular community-focused restaurant (which also operates a food truck). That means burritos stuffed with mac and cheese, fried chicken and greens or meatballs, marinara, onions and peppers and mozzarella sticks, smoked brisket tacos with coconut curry sauce, and so much more. 314 S. Progress Ave., Harrisburg; (717) 497-8343 

Soul House Cafe: Authentic Southern food is what’s on the menu at Soul House. For lunch, find wings, subs, wraps and sandwiches; dinner means larger plates, like shrimp and steak salad and the tilapia dinner platter. 1852 North St., Harrisburg; (717) 236-3500

The Spot: Hearty home-cooked favorites, like rasta pasta, fried chicken, baked mac-and-cheese and potato salad, as well as Dominican fare, like chicken stu and Pasteloni, are available from this casual cafe. Call to place orders for pick-up. 438 1/2 Locust St., Columbia; (717) 449-5808.

St. Clair’s Social: Locals flock to this corner bar for its swanky and sleek design, creative bar program, affordable happy hour, and specials, like Wing Night and Taco Tuesday. Regular events, like open mic comedy and trivia, keep regulars coming back. 302 S. St. Clair St., (412) 600-1572.

Tana Ethiopian Cuisine: Authentic Ethiopian cuisine, served family-style is what to expect from this casual restaurant. For a nice taste of all Tana has to offer, try the Vegetarian or Meat Sampler, which are selections of dishes picked out by the chef. 5929 Baum Blvd., Pittsburgh; (412) 665-2770.

Taste & See: This juice and smoothie bar is taking a hiatus while it prepares to move to a brand new retail location at 702 Raspberry St. in Erie. Keep an eye on its Instagram page for updates and info. Erie; (814) 925-0772.

Taste of Soul: Looking for Southern-style and seafood in Erie? Check out Taste of Soul, where you can find tasty dishes like the Honey Hot Chicken Soul Bowl (hot honey chicken with mac and cheese), collard greens and Southern-style mashed potatoes. 437 E. 11th St., Erie; (814) 460-7629.

Walter’s Southern Kitchen: “Drink beer, eat BBQ” is the slogan at Walter’s! This happening spot, complete with a great outdoor patio, just reopened for outdoor seating. Food is still available for takeout, like catfish sliders, smoked brisket and garlic mashed potatoes, as well as growler-fills of beer. 4501 Butler St., Pittsburgh; (412) 683-7474.

X Marks the Spot: Located inside Lancaster’s Southern Market, Chef Jonathan Forbes channels his passion for food into a menu stacked with Southern soul food dishes.

This is in no way an exhaustive list and we hope to keep adding to it! Please let us know who we missed, and we’ll add them to this list right away. Chime in and let us know in the comments here, or on the PA Eats Facebook page.

  • Feature photo: Fudge Farm

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