18 black-owned restaurants & bars to support in Tucson

While we have other guides for countries from around the world, today, we highlight black-owned restaurants in Tucson.

Alafia West African Cuisine

1070 N. Swan Rd.
African grilled tilapia at Alafia West African Cuisine (Credit: Taylor Noel Photography)

African grilled tilapia at Alafia West African Cuisine (Credit: Taylor Noel Photography)

Alafia serves the authentic, unadulterated cuisine of Benin. You won’t find any dainty garnishes here; just wholesome, well-spiced food. Try a glass of the potent ginger juice.

Read our March 2017 article Rustic Charm, Bold Flavors & Authentic Dishes at Alafia West African Cuisine.

For more information, call (520) 331-7161. Keep up with Alafia West African Cuisine on Facebook.

ATL Wings

802 N. Fourth Ave.

This Chandler, Arizona-based restaurant has a Tucson location on Fourth Avenue. Their wings are among the crunchiest in town; go for the Spicy ATL Dry Rub flavor.

Read our article Chandler-Based ATL Wings to Open Fourth Avenue Location.

For more information, call (520) 207-1771 or visit atlwings.com.

BxQ Bodega

Metro Wildcat, 501 N. Park Ave.

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Catfish on steroids!

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(Their Instagram profile says “closed”, but we haven’t heard from them yet to confirm; we’ll remove this if they are indeed closed.)

Formerly located at The Boxyard, this restaurant now resides inside the Metro Wildcat specializing in burgers. We’re also fans of their Catfish Sandwich and can’t wait to try their Fried Mac N Cheese.

For more information, visit bxqbodega.com.

Cafe Desta

758 S. Stone Ave.
Assorted platter at Cafe Desta (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Assorted platter at Cafe Desta (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Just south of downtown, Cafe Desta serves Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine. While they also offer meat, they are one of our favorite places to eat vegan.

Read our December 2019 article Cafe Desta brings communities together over Ethiopian cuisine.

For more information, call (520) 370-7000 or visit destacafe.com.

CeeDee Jamaican Kitchen

5305 E. Speedway Blvd.
Jerk wings at CeeDee Jamaican Kitchen (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Jerk wings at CeeDee Jamaican Kitchen (Credit: Jackie Tran)

CeeDee is currently operating on limited hours (noon – 8 p.m.) with a limited menu. Thankfully, this includes their signature Curry Goat.

For more information, call (520) 795-3400 or visit ceedeecafe.com.

Cotton Family BBQ

Food Truck

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Come on down and see me!

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This food truck clearly specializes in barbecue, but c’mon, just look at these Loaded Shrimp & Bacon Fries.

Keep up with Cotton Family BBQ on Facebook.

D’s Island Grill JA

3156 E. Fort Lowell Rd.
Oxtail Stew at D’s Island Grill JA (Credit: Taylor Noel Photography)

Oxtail Stew at D’s Island Grill JA (Credit: Taylor Noel Photography)

D’s features Jamaican food along with some Southwest fusion dishes, such as Jerk Beef Tacos. However, we find ourselves coming back for the rich and deeply comforting Oxtail Stew.

For more information, call (520) 861-2271 or visit dsislandgrill.com.

DA Boots BBQ Shop

1830 S. Park Ave.

Formerly known as Two Boots BBQ, this barbecue and soul food restaurant occasionally whips up a Louisiana Seafood Gumbo special on the weekends.

For more information, call (520) 347-5169 or follow DA Boots BBQ Shop on Facebook.

Hop Street Lounge

7215 E. 22nd St., Ste. 101

Damion Jenkins at Hop Street Lounge (Credit: Jackie Tran)

This east side tasting room features an impressive selection of beers and kombuchas. Their furniture is also exceptionally comfortable furniture, so take advantage of that once they are no longer pick-up only.

For more information, call (520) 274-7904 or visit hopstreetlounge.com.

HUSH Social Club

1112 S. Wilmot Rd.

This low key neighborhood bar regularly hosts community-oriented events ranging from memorial birthday parties to catfish fry sessions and reggae Sundays.

For more information, call (520) 747-1559. Keep up with HUSH Social Club on Facebook.

Ken’s Hardwood Barbecue

5250 E. 22nd St.
St. Louis pork ribs at Ken's Hardwood Barbecue (Credit: Jackie Tran)

St. Louis pork ribs at Ken’s Hardwood Barbecue (Credit: Jackie Tran)

This barbecue joint firmly established itself as a neighborhood favorite with its exceptional sides and ribs.

Read our December 2018 article Ken’s Hardwood Barbecue: Family-inspired menu drips multicultural soul.

For more information, call (520) 745-4746 or visit kenshardwoodbbq.com.

Mr. Cookman’s BBQ & Soul Food

Food Truck

Check out Mr. Cookman’s for their New Orleans-style ribs and pepper wings.

Read our September 2015 article 5 Food Trucks To Satisfy Your BBQ Cravings.

Keep up with Mr. Cookman’s BBQ & Soul Food on Instagram.

Mr. K’s Original BBQ

6302 S. Park Ave.
Ray Kendrick of Mr. K's Original BBQ (Photo by Brielle Farmer)

Ray Kendrick of Mr. K’s Original BBQ (Photo by Brielle Farmer)

One of Tucson’s longest-running barbecue restaurants showcases mesquite smoke for a distinctly Tucson flavor.

Read our July 2019 article Mr. K’s Original BBQ: No frills ‘cue since 1997.

For more information, call (520) 792-9484. Keep up with Mr. K’s Original BBQ on Facebook.

Nur Market & Restaurant

3565 E. Speedway Blvd., #171

See those inconspicuous fried pockets? They’re sambusas. They’re like samosas; filled with fragrant spiced beef and veggies, served with a spicy tomato sauce. During our last visit, they were only $2 each!

For more information, call (520) 881-6333 or visit nurmarketaz.com.

Purple Tree Organic Acai Blends

Food Truck

This food truck may be purple, but it is green with its organic acai blends, coffee, and variety of vegan and gluten-free baked goods. To top it off, the food truck is mostly powered by solar.

For more information, call (520) 245-2684. Keep up with Purple Tree Organic Acai Blends on Facebook.

Queen Sheba Restaurant

5553 E. Grant Rd.
Combination of dishes from Queen Sheba (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Combination of dishes from Queen Sheba (Credit: Jackie Tran)

This Eritrean restaurant features a few dishes you can’t find anywhere else in Tucson, such as Gaat and Hilbet. Since Italy colonized Eritrea, you’ll also find Eritrean spaghetti with and meat sauce.

For more information, visit call (520) 276-3476 or queenshebatucson.com.

The Red Light Lounge at The Downtown Clifton Hotel

485 S. Stone Ave.
Brea Brummell at The Red Light Lounge at The Downtown Clifton Hotel

Brea Brummell at The Red Light Lounge at The Downtown Clifton Hotel (Credit: Jackie Tran)

This sexy downtown lounge also features a small kitchen with creative spins on classics. Right now, they’re featuring weekly to-go specials for both food and drink.

Read our December 2019 article Red Light Lounge at Downtown Clifton serves fantastic fry bread & crisp cocktails.

For more information, call (520) 623-3163 or visit downtowntucsonhotel.com.

Smokey Mo

2650 N. First Ave.
Fatty brisket plate at Smokey Mo (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Fatty brisket plate at Smokey Mo

Another fan of mesquite smoke, Smokey Mo shines with their pulled pork sandwich. They also rock fatty brisket if you’re into it.

For more information, call (520) 203-8250 or visit smokeymo.com.

Urban Fresh

73 E. Pennington St.
Healthy Heart Taco Salad at Urban Fresh (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Healthy Heart Taco Salad at Urban Fresh (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Urban Fresh features a variety of plant-based favorites to keep you feeling fabulous. Their vegan burger is also one of our faves.

Read our December 2018 article Urban Fresh: Plant-based Foods with a Powerhouse of Flavors.

For more information, call (520) 792 9355 or visit urbanfreshtucson.com.

Zemam’s • Zemam’s Too

2731 E. Broadway Blvd. • 119 E. Speedway Blvd.

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At Zemam's Ethiopian restaurants, we want our patrons and the Tucson community to know that we really miss you guys! Zemam's has enjoyed over 26 years of serving the community and we do not intend for that to change any time soon. With that being said, we'd like to inform our customers that while we support the Tucson restaurants that have decided to open their doors for dine-in experiences, we have made the tough decision to not offer that just yet. As much as we would love to see you walk through our doors and enjoy a communal meal, we want to ensure that we follow the guidance put forth by our public health experts in order to keep both our customers and staff safe. We have to be thoughtful and patient, adaptable, and open to new ways of doing things. We hope you understand. We will continue serving you via "curb-side" pick up from our Broadway location Tuesday through Sunday from 11:00 – 7:00. Call your order in to 520-323-9978. You can access our menu on our website.  ZEMAMS RESTAURANT We are profoundly grateful to our guests who have supported us over the years and most certainly through these past three months. We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for your patronage. Come see us and tell your friends to do the same! We can't wait to see you again, soon. We miss you! Sincerely, Amanuel, Luke and Noah Gebremariam #Zemams #Zemamstoo #ethiopianfood #veganfriendly

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A long-time BYOB favorite, Zemam’s dining rooms aren’t open quite yet. However, you can still order their Ethiopian dishes for curbside pickup.

For more information, visit zemamsrestaurants.com.

Did we miss anyone? Let us know in the comments

(June 4, 2020 edit: For a more comprehensive list of black-owned businesses, check out this Google Doc spreadsheet by Ashley La Russa of Roux Events and the team #blaxfriday)

Jackie is a food writer and photographer native to Tucson. He loves corgis and still thinks rickrolling is funny. If you'd like to stalk him, visit jackietran.com and his Instagram @jackie_tran_.

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