Indoor dining is on hold in the North Bay for the foreseeable future, dealing a major setback for restaurants and bars that were hoping to salvage summer during the Covid-19 pandemic. Still, there are ways to support the local food industry, and last month, a Santa Rosa teacher launched an endeavor to highlight North Bay businesses and restaurants owned and operated by people of color, giving residents a guide to where they can support Black lives in the community while eating well.
Kelly Cramer, who works as a teacher at Roseland University Prep in Santa Rosa, made the ever-expanding online spreadsheet of Black, Immigrant and People of Color Owned Restaurants and Businesses in Sonoma County after looking for one like it on internet search engines.
“I just thought that it deserved to exist,” Cramer said at the time. “After much thought, I decided to also include all people of color and immigrant-run businesses because, although Black businesses need to be amplified now and always, I simply just wanted to keep this resource all in one place so people can continue to utilize it for the future, long after it’s trendy.”
Black-owned North Bay restaurants on the list include more than 250 restaurants and businesses. For North Bay food lovers in need of some real comfort, four spots stand out in Sonoma, Marin and Napa counties.
Buster’s Southern Barbecue has been serving up authentic Louisiana-inspired cooking in Calistoga since 1965 and has become a staple of the community. The restaurant serves up top quality tri-tip, pork and beef ribs and more with choices of mild or spicy BBQ sauce and their sandwiches, served on garlic toast, are a popular lunch for locals. Outside dining and take-out is available. busterssouthernbbq.com.
Bariadelli Caribbean Gourmet Pizza is located in northwest Santa Rosa, and specializes in authentic Caribbean cuisine, catering, take-and-bake gourmet pizzas and food-truck services. Now open for online orders, Bariadelli brings bold flavors to its menu, with items like Jerk Chicken Pizza and a Caribbean Supreme that features rice and beans, creole chicken, jumbo shrimp and fried plantains. bariadelli.com.
Marin County residents can also find Black-owned restaurants and chefs in their backyard, with locations such as Caribbean Spices Restaurant in San Rafael. Since 2009, Caribbean Spices makes Haitian and Creole cuisine, and the restaurant has been offering outdoor dining in addition to catering options with specialty dishes like oxtail and creole snapper. carribeanspicesdba.net.
Also based in San Rafael, Forrest Fire BBQ is the culinary soul of owner and pitmaster Forrest Murray Jr. Murray learned to cook from his family, and he puts that familial love into his food. Forrest Fire BBQ is a mobile operation, and Murray caters throughout the Bay Area with a menu that includes St Louis–style pork ribs, sirloin beef ball tip steaks and pulled meat sandwiches with all the sides and sauces. Forrest Fire BBQ also pops up at Marinwood Market on certain weekends, with ribs, hot dogs, corn on a stick and more on hand. forrestfirebbq.com.
“A disproportionate percentage of Black and POC-owned businesses have closed during the Covid-19 pandemic,” Cramer says. “Supporting these places is just ultimately good for everyone. Plus, so much good food and wine is on this list! A ton of places I can’t wait to try.”