Black Restaurant Week Kicks Off

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Black Restaurant Week, celebrating and bringing attention to black-owned restaurants, kicked off Friday.

The celebration begins with a new challenge in the pandemic. Like other events, this year's event switched to an online platform because of COVID-19.

One of the restaurants is Harold and Belle's. It has been bringing New Orleans cuisine to LA for more than 50 years through three generations. It has a chef that's been there more than 30 years. And there's a signed picture of Rosa Parks on the wall.

"Moments like these give these restaurants another opportunity to keep their doors open," said Derek Robinson, the co-founder of Black Restaurant Week.

The theme this year -- helping restaurants recover from the pandemic. Southern California Gas says it's providing grants to black-owned restaurants to help buy sanitary supplies and to help with payroll.

"It's an opportunity to showcase what we're doing and been doing for people may not have been here," said Harold and Belle's owner Ryan Legaux.

Even with more takout orders, business at Harold and Belle's is less than half it was pre-pandemic.

Legaux says LA's growing racial consciousness and events like Black Restaurant Week is helping people consider new places to eat.

"It's highlighting not just us, but the other restaurants like us that get overlooked sometimes by the people who don't necessarily live in the area," he said.

This year's event waived its usual entry fee so that more restaurants could take part. Among the new events is an online bartending competition.

Legaux says part of Harold and Belle's success is also adapting to the times.

"We want to be here before, during and after all this."

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