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10 Ways For Restaurants to Celebrate and Honor Juneteenth (June 19th), 2024



Named a federal holiday in 2021, Juneteenth, or June 19th, commemorates the date in 1865 when enslaved individuals in Galveston, TX were finally informed of their freedom—over two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. 


After nearly 160 years, this day is finally gaining national attention,  with restaurants across the country commemorating Juneteenth by highlighting a culture that didn’t have a light shone on it for so long.


Ten Ways to Shine a Spotlight on Juneteenth, 2024

1. Numerical Orders  

As a numerical nod to the holiday’s date, one simple way restaurants can celebrate Juneteenth is to offer special pricing. Temporarily price menu items at $6.19, $16.19 or $18.65. Not only is this a great way to generate a conversation about the significance of Juneteenth, it’s also a great way to generate additional revenue and reach a larger customer base.


2. Honor Black Chefs

Juneteenth coincides with Father’s Day this year. Black-owned restaurants can mark the occasion by emulating the specialties of famous Black American chefs, from celebrity chef Carla Hall to Dolly Johnson, who served as White House chef in the 1890s.


3. Wave the Flag

Highlight the colors of the Pan-African flag, red, black and green, representing the blood, people and land of Africa, by baking up a special Juneteenth dessert such as a chocolate cake  with layers of black-out chocolate cake, red velvet cake, and green vanilla cake, with green cream cheese frosting. And if you’re wondering how much to price each slice, $6.19 seems like the most obvious choice. 


4. Participate in Local Celebrations

Juneteenth festivities that shine a spotlight on the culinary contributions of Black-owned restaurants are popping up all over. From community block parties and parades to city-wide food festivals and Black Restaurant Week celebrations. These events help introduce these black-owned restaurants to a wider audience, providing an opportunity to win over new customers.  


5. Give Back

Consider celebrating by giving back to a charitable organization that’s dedicated to positively impacting the Black community. Some noteworthy organizations include:

  • Color of Change

  • NAACP

  • Black Visions Collective

  • Black Women’s Health Imperative

  • Marsha P. Johnson Institute

Take it one step further by researching local charities to support and encouraging your clientele to donate.


6. Toast to Success 

Use Juneteenth to highlight beverages produced by Black-owned breweries, distilleries, and wineries. If you don’t currently offer any, this is the perfect opportunity to try one as a limited time offer (LTO). Be sure to include the beverage’s back story on your menu or in promotional social media posts. Your LTO just might prove popular and become a regular menu item. 


7. Promote Black-Owned Suppliers

Juneteenth is a great time to promote Black-owned businesses in your area; source ingredients, special food items, desserts, decorations or restaurant supplies from such establishments to support the community. Make sure to give them a shoutout in your menu, online, and on your social media pages.


Depending on the space you have available and how you design your restaurant, you can also feature handmade goods and artwork in your restaurant. This is the perfect option for restaurateurs who have a bakery, coffee shop or café since they’re usually gathering spots.


 8. Create a Special Menu

Whether you offer it throughout the  week leading up to Juneteenth or just on the weekend, creating a special menu to celebrate Juneteenth is a great way to feature traditional dishes in a unique way. 


  • Soul Food—Include staples like chicken, fried okra, black-eyed peas and collard greens.

  • Cajun Cuisine—Add some Creole charm to your menu with offerings like gumbo, crawfish boil and etouffee.

  • African Eats—Mix in the delicious flavors and rich traditions of African delicacies like yassa, jollof rice, fufu, and piri piri chicken.

  • Caribbean Cooking—Incorporate a few delicious menu items that invoke an island vibe like jerk chicken, pepperpot, and pineapple chow.


9. Get Your Name Out There

Be sure to promote your specials and events on all of your social social media channels and tag other accounts that reshare content from Black creators and business owners for further engagement. Make sure your online menu is updated, including all of your curated special Junteenth offerings. 


Reach out to sites like Black People Eats and Eat Black Owned, two directories for Black-owned restaurants,  to get your name out. 


10. Decorate

Make it a real celebration by decorating your restaurant for Juneteenth. Incorporate the symbolic colors of green, red, black and yellow into napkins and paper plates and cups, streamers, garland, and floral arrangements.  


Take Away

In 2024, Juneteenth, a federally-recognized holiday that’s gaining in popularity, is dedicated to uplifting and celebrating the Black community. Generate excitement for the holiday and your restaurant this year by curating specialty menu items, becoming involved in community outreach, and more.



By Eileen Strauss

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