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Thomas Downing and the Black history of American oyster bars

Frame > Frame Stories > March 2022: The Shellfish Issue > Thomas Downing and the Black history of American oyster bars

EDITOR’S NOTE: In keeping with Frame’s mission to cultivate and celebrate culinary talent, Frame Stories occasionally spotlights content from other organizations that are essential to documenting and preserving the work of this dynamic community. This month, we’ve partnered with Taste the Diaspora, a Detroit-based food agency founded by chefs Ederique Goudia and Jermond Booze alongside farmer Raphael Wright with the goal of strengthening the Black food system. Taste the Diaspora cooks pop-up dinners, offers food business consulting and mutual aid, and uses the power of media to tell food stories that highlight African contributions to American cuisine — as evidenced by their #BlackHistoryFoodFacts social media campaign. This excerpt focuses on the African-American history of oyster bars and the contributions of Thomas Downing, the father of the modern American oyster bar.