Today is Juneteenth, the holiday commemorating June 19, 1865. On that day, Union army general Gordon Granger traveled to Texas, where Black Americans were still enslaved two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, and declared the North the winner in the Civil War. While full abolition wasn’t codified until the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment six months later, June 19 has come to represent the end of slavery in the Confederacy.
To honor the day, Chicagoan Jeremy E. Joyce, who runs the Instagram account Black People Eats, has put together a Juneteenth Restaurant Celebration.
This weekend, more than 70 restaurants across Chicago will offer special dishes for $6.19 apiece (with larger dishes available at some spots for $16.19). Among the participants: Lexington Betty Smoke House, a barbecue spot with locations in Oak Park and Pullman, where you can get either a small rib tips or half a chicken with fries.
Other specials include:
- A slice of flag cake with strawberries at Brown Sugar Bakery in Greater Grand Crossing (today only)
- A catfish po’boy at Soulé, the soul food spot in West Town
- Smothered chicken wings at Luella’s Southern Kitchen in Lincoln Square (Saturday and Sunday)
- A quarter jerk chicken from Evanston’s Good to Go
- A half-dozen doughnuts from Chatham institution Dat Donut
- Crawfish and andouille egg rolls from Bumbu Roux, the Creole-Indonesian stall at Politan Row
Here’s the full list of participating restaurants:
Elsewhere, there are two food-related fundraisers worth your time this week.
The first is the Bakers Against Racism bake sale, a fundraiser launched by a group of pastry chefs in Washington, D.C. that’s taken off across the country, in which bakers peddle sweets benefiting antiracist charities of their choice.
In Chicago, loads of local pastry chefs and professional bakers are participating, including Lost Larson, where you can order a $25 cookie box benefiting Urban Growers Collective, which includes sourdough brown butter pecan thumbprint cookies, flourless chocolate sandwich cookies, and others. Stop by Hoosier Mama Pie Company on Saturday to buy pinwheel cookies, turnovers, and other treats supporting the Okra Project, or place an order with S.K.Y., where pastry chef Tatum Sinclair is selling chocolate chip cookies with sea salt all weekend to support the SaveMoneySaveLife Foundation.
There isn’t a formal list of participating spots, but bakers and restaurants have been posting specials on Instagram. Check in with your favorites, or follow the hashtag #bakersagainstracism. Pickups are mostly on Saturday, but some spots have extended the fundraiser through the weekend.
Another culinary fundraiser this week, Ask Chefs Anything, is a little different. An online auction where participants bid on 30-minute virtual conversations with chefs, the event, in partnership with ROC (Restaurant Opportunities Center) and Chefs’ Warehouse, will raise funds to distribute grocery boxes to Chicago’s undocumented hospitality community. Winning bidders can ask chefs, beverage professionals, and others in the hospitality community about anything they want, from cooking advice to industry chatter. Some participants include Lost Lake’s Paul McGee and Shelby Allison, HaiSous’s Thai Dang, Galit’s Zach Engel, Virtue’s Erick Williams, and Passerotto’s Jennifer Kim. Bids close on Saturday and you can enter here.