‘To me, that’s history’: First ever Black Restaurant Week underway across the Carolinas

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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Some local Black business owners are proud to be open as Black Restaurant Week is underway in the Carolinas for the first time.

The 10-day campaign aims at highlighting Black restaurants who may otherwise be underrepresented. “I was one of the first Black business operator[s] to own a business right here on this turn,” said Yuan Watson, owner of Clarendon’s Cuisine. “To me, that’s history,” he added.

Watson moved from Clarendon, Jamaica to Connecticut in 2001, initially as a technician. After finding some place much warmer in Myrtle Beach, he created Clarendon Cuisine, a Jamaican-style restaurant.

His most popular dishes, like ox tail with rice and peas, keep customers coming back for more. But during the height of the pandemic, like many other businesses, business was slow.

A new study from H&R Block finds Black business owners saw at least a 50% decrease in revenue during the pandemic compared to only 37% among white business owners.

Master chef Clarendon told News13 serving Caribbean cuisine is a lifelong passion. “All these customers are repeating customers,” he said. “They are coming from all over just to get their meal from here,” Clarendon added.

Watson said he is looking forward to business picking up even more ahead of Summer.

Black Restaurant Week offers a list of Black-owned restaurants in North and South Carolina and allows Black restaurant owners to register their business.

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