Top attractions want input in arena
Tourism brings more than $8 billion in the city, a phenomenon visible during the past four weeks as two major technology conferences and major league baseball playoffs combined with Fleet Week and a preliminary round of the America's Cup.
Despite a recent magazine ranking as America's favorite city, African-Americans are conspicuously absent from participation in such major events, despite promises made in an outmigration study three years ago.
Exceptions have been Farmer Brown and Little Skillet restaurants, founded by Jay Foster, and Cafe GoLo and AYS Food, founded by John Akins. The three restaurants and two farmers market pavilions have flourished over the past seven years.
Foster, one of BlackRestaurant.NET's 50 Top Names in Black Food, and Akins discussed the new arena during the U.N. Plaza Farmers Market.
"We definitely should have some input," said Foster, whose Farmer Brown was designed as a tribute to locally-grown produce, including black farmers and won a Top 10 New Restaurants from Food and Wine when opened in 2006.
"Now is the time, instead of waiting until everything is finished," added Akins, a fixture in the U.N. Plaza market for 14 years before opening Cafe Golo in 2008.
Farmer Brown is the only black-owned venue in a downtown hotel in the Hotel Metropolis at 25 Mason St. Foster also opened Little Skillet at 3rd and Ritch Streets, one block from AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants and several blocks from the proposed Warriors arena.
Cafe Golo is located at Gough and Lombard Streets between the "crookedest street in the world" and the Golden Gate Bridge approaches.
Both have demonstrated the broad market appeal of African-American cuisine with their venues. National Black Business Month encouraged such ventures with a 2005 exhibition SFSoul: Taste the Excitement which highlighted 60 African-American restaurants throughout the city.
BlackRestaurant.NET's 31 Ways 31 Days provides an itinerary of food, cultural and shopping attractions.
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