Black Restaurant Week’s national rise, plus Houston’s best new pizza

On this week’s episode of “What’s Eric Eating,” Warren Luckett joins CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss Black Restaurant Week. This year’s event takes place from April 2-11 with almost 100 bars, restaurants, food trucks, and caterers participating.

The conversation begins with Luckett explaining the motivation to establish Black Restaurant Week and describing the ways it has grown. Since being founded in 2016, Luckett and his partners have taken the event national, growing to 15 cities, and added high profile sponsors such as Pepsi, Maker’s Mark, and Open Table. Sandler asks him about what BRW requires from sponsors to participate in the event.

“For us, we want to make sure they have real skin in the game, a vested interest in the longevity. Oftentime, through a lot of what’s going on, you see it as a flash in the pan. We’ve committed our lives to this, it’s what we find our purpose in. There are so many businesses that not only need it now, but for the next 15 to 20 years they need this support,” Luckett says.

“From all the partnerships we’ve established, we try to find ways to provide resources, sustainability, for the businesses that participate. We want to take the good businesses and turn them into great businesses.”

The conversation covers a number of other topics, including Luckett’s picks for a few restaurants diners may want to sample during BRW.

Prior to the interview, Sandler and co-host Linda Salinas discuss the news of the week. Their topics include the wave of recent new restaurants, including Chris Shepherd’s new live fire restaurant; Ben Berg’s all-day cafe, NoPo; Agnes, the Mediterranean restaurant created by the president of Becks Prime and a prominent real estate executive; and Blood Bros. BBQ opening in a Las Vegas food hall. They also discuss Night Moves Hospitality, a group with plans to open as many as four new concepts this year.

In the restaurant of the week segment, the two friends discuss their recent meal at Tiny Champions. Tune in to learn more about this pizza, pasta, and small plates concept from the owners of Nancy’s Hustle.

Subscribe to “What’s Eric Eating” on Apple podcasts, Google Play, or Spotify. Listen to it Saturday at 1 pm on ESPN 97.5.

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