5 Inspiring Kansas City Food Entrepreneur Stories for Black Restaurant Week

5 Inspiring Kansas City Food Entrepreneur Stories for Black Restaurant Week

In honor of Black Restaurant Week in the Midwest, we’ve curated a fine selection of the best stories about Black restaurant owners in the Kansas City metro.

Read about how these culinary crusaders conquered the kitchen and crafted a food product, founded a food truck, opened a restaurant and more.

But it’s about more than just a week elevating our Black-owned restaurants. This is a reminder to always support our Black doers, dreamers and makers in the metro.

So get ready to get inspired with some of our best food-focused entrepreneur stories.

Earstin and Penelope Sanders pose outside Aunt Mildred's Barbecue Mobile Eatery

Mom’s Secret Barbecue Sauce Inspires KC Entrepreneur’s Next Business during COVID-19

Earstin Sanders, Aunt Mildred’s Southern Style BBQ 

It’s not often a great business idea is locked away in a safe … but for long-time serial entrepreneur Earstin Sanders, that’s exactly where he’d get the idea for his latest venture, a barbecue sauce and mobile eatery inspired by his mother’s secret recipe. Earstin, who’s no stranger to entrepreneurship, had a killer lawn care and renovations business, but even with that entrepreneurial pedigree, had a lot to learn to get cooking in the kitchen … during a global pandemic, no less!

Find out how Earstin leveraged sauce and serendipity to start his savory venture in 2020.

KCSourceLink connected him to : ScaleUP! Kansas City, Missouri Small Business Development Center at UMKC

From Product to Vegan Food Truck to Restaurant in 2 Years: How Mattie’s Foods Did It

From Product to Vegan Food Truck to Restaurant in 2 Years: How Mattie’s Foods Did It

India Pernell and Arvelisha Williams, Mattie’s Foods

Sisters India and Arvelisha, seasoned hair stylists, will tell you that they never set out to start a food business … but that’s exactly what they did, first setting up a vegan-focused popup, then selling a food product (that you wouldn’t believe isn’t real cheese), revving up a food truck and finally opening their first brick-and-mortar location in only about two years. How’d they do all that, that fast?

Find out their secret sauce for starting so many food businesses (and how you can, too) on their culinary conquest.

KCSourceLink connected them to: Ennovation Center, Urban Business Growth Initiative, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Square One Small Business Services by Mid-Continent Public Library, Missouri Small Business Development Center at UMKC

Chris Goode, owner of Ruby Jean's Juicery

Ruby Jean’s Juicery Lifted by Community Support as COVID-19 Pauses 2 Locations

Chris Goode, Ruby Jean’s Juicery

2020 wasn’t so sweet for Chris Goode, but he still made lemonade from lemons … black lemonade to be exact. See, Chris is a community staple and a leader, so when the Black Lives Matter movement again swept the nation during the summer of 2020, Chris leveraged that opportunity to bring visibility to Black-owned businesses, create a prayer chain on Juneteenth and craft that delicious blackberry lemonade with activated charcoal.

Discover how Chris leveraged an opportunity to elevate entrepreneurs and spotlight those promoting social change.

KCSourceLink connected him to: ScaleUP! Kansas City

Brandon Simpson of Jazzy B's

Jazzy B’s: The Road to Restaurateur

Brandon Simpson knows what it takes to start a food venture … and then grow it. After the success of his food truck, the Lee’s Summit entrepreneur was able to open his own brick and mortar eatery for his full menu of barbecue-fusion cuisine. 

Follow his entrepreneurial journey from the classroom to the corporate kitchen to his own business.

KCSourceLink connected him to: Kansas City Food Truck Association, Square One Small Business Resources by Mid-Continent Public Library, Ennovation Center

Kansas City serial entrepreneur Gigi Jones works at one of her businesses, Zafar

A Battle with Cancer Inspired KC Entrepreneur Gigi Jones’ Businesses

Entrepreneurs can take a scary situation and turn it around to find the right path forward. Gigi Jones did just that with her cancer diagnosis. It taught her a lot and inspired her to help others find their own path to health and recovery.

See how Gigi’s health-centric business is helping others with healthy food.

KCSourceLink connected her to: 1 Million Cups, Ennovation Center, U.S. Small Business Administration, Community Teaching Kitchen at City Market, Missouri Small Business Development Center at UMKC, Square One Small Business Services by Mid-Continent Public Library

What’s the next step on your business journey—and who can help? We know! Give us a call at 816-235-6500 or request your free Personal Action Plan.


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