For students of color, it feels like authentic food that reminds us of home is hard to come by in the city of Binghamton. Many of us want to do our best to support businesses owned and operated by people of color, but we don’t know where to turn. Luckily, last summer, local community organization Progressive Leaders of Tomorrow (PLOT) arranged the city of Binghamton’s first Black- and Minority-Owned Restaurant Week, which finally provided some kind of guide for those of us who strive to support our own. Instead of patronizing businesses that serve less-than-authentic “ethnic” food, maybe check out some of the POC-owned restaurants below. To be clear, this is not an extensive list, but these businesses may be a good place to start.
For those of you who will be hanging around Binghamton this summer, PLOT plans to hold the second Black- and Minority-Owned Restaurant Week from June 16 to June 22. Last year, anyone who ate at one of the participating restaurants and shared a picture on social media with “#607EatBlack” was given the chance to win different prizes such as a $25 Visa gift card, a PLOT shirt and more. If you’re interested, keep an eye out for any upcoming announcements from PLOT to learn more.
Coop’s Latin & Soul Food — 92 Robinson St.
Anyone who eats at Coop’s Latin & Soul Food is bound to come back for more. It serves a variety of classic Latin favorites like empanadas, plantains and combination plates with your choice of meat and Spanish rice. As the name suggests, though, it also serves soul food staples like fried, barbecue and jerk chicken, collard greens, mac and cheese and yams. On top of its delicious food, Coop’s also boasts really affordable prices. If this sounds good to you, be sure to check the restaurant out and give its Facebook page a “like” — this is how you can find out about Coop’s daily specials and any other relevant information for customers.
Caribbean Patty World — 190 Main St.
If you’re craving a great classic beef patty, look no further than Caribbean Patty Word. Its menu doesn’t end at just patties, though, and is actually more versatile than you might expect. It serves a variety of Caribbean dishes like jerk chicken, oxtail and curry goat, but also has burgers, sandwiches, wings and even different drink specials for every day of the week that it’s open, as it’s actually a bar and grill. Caribbean Patty World’s Facebook page is also useful to follow to find out different events going on, like Karaoke Night every Tuesday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. when wings are just 50 cents. Additionally, its convenient location on Main Street near many student residences makes it an ideal spot for students seeking some good Caribbean.
The Kitchen at Spotlight — 73 Court St.
Students may know Spotlight as a music venue, but have you tried its food? The menu may not be extensive, but the quality of its food makes that a nonissue. Spotlight serves its fair share of soul food favorites and wings, but its selection of burgers and sandwiches is a game-changer. You can indulge in the buttermilk fried chicken in Spotlight’s “CBR” burger, enjoy a classic pulled pork sandwich or try out the “P&M” burger with spicy ham, sharp cheddar and grilled red onion. Spotlight also hosts a variety of events featuring live music and drink specials, often announced on its Facebook page, so go and enjoy all that Spotlight has to offer.
The Good Bao — 58 Henry St.
The Good Bao serves a variety of Asian dishes, making it the perfect spot for friends who may all have different tastes. Its bao menu includes Thai chicken, Korean beef, pork belly and banh mi, but the restaurant also serves rice bowls, scallion pancakes, ramen and pho. Additionally, customers can purchase bubble tea that comes in a variety of flavors and different toppings like tapioca and mango jelly. If you stop in, be sure to say hello to co-owner Soal Sotivongsa, ‘12, who got his undergraduate education at Binghamton University, and his business partner, Steven Lounsavang, who previously worked in the kitchen at Thai Time.