Black-owned restaurants in Arizona have now become essential venues for community conversations amid the issue of racism and division in America.

Indeed, as Americans have gone to the streets to protest over the police' killing of George Floyd, Dion Johnson, and other blacks and people of color, calls to support black-owned businesses have circulated on social media. 

This then has resulted in an unforeseen advantage for some owners and turned restaurants into, as mentioned, essential venues.

Friday Lunch Crowd

Monroe's Hot Chicken, for instance, had a busy crowd at lunchtime on Friday. The restaurant, located in downtown Phoenix, may have been affected by the pandemic, specifically with "drop-in traffic in March."

However, the food business, Ralph King, the restaurant's manager said, rose to what's described in business as "a new high since COVID-19 started."

The food chain, famous for its "Nashville-style fried chicken sandwich" welcomes an assortment of a crowd. Among them include regular customers who walk in from their work downtown and residents who leave nearby.

The most recent customers of Monroe's Hot Chicken are the demonstrators who have a quick meal before marching down the streets.

One customer was Hanna Allen. She waited with her sister outside the food establishment on Friday. She said she was there at the restaurant not just for food but for support too, "for a black-owned business."

Allen also shared she was planning to participate in a protest set for later that day in downtown Phoenix.

Meanwhile, at A.T. Oasis Coffee and Tea Shop, Aisha Tedros, the owner said, her small coffee shop has been quite busy the whole week with new customers who tell her they discovered her shop from posts on social media.

Tedros estimated roughly 80 percent of the customers this week comprises of first-time guests, some of them, AZ Central reported, even drove from "as far as Chandler and Gilbert" to express how much they support the business.

According to the café owner, people "are being so loving and supporting" that their gesture touched her heart. In addition, Tedros also said the support she got came at such a hard time for her business which has been offering takeout and curbside service during the COVID-19 crisis.

Doing their Part as White People

Eating at black-owned restaurants has also turned out to be a way for some people to make a move and partake in protests against racism that is, observers say, sweeping the nation.

On Friday afternoon, friends, Jessica Davis and Jennifer Garcia were waiting for lunch at one of Cutting Board Café in Mesa's two open tables. 

The two came to the food outlet as they wanted to show their support to the black-owned establishment with a completely vegan menu for a specialty. According to Garcia, as white people, with the whole movement that's currently happening, "we have to do our part." 

These two friends have recently been going to Cutting Board due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Their trip, they said, was among the first times they have dined out since the stay-at-home order of the governor went into effect.

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