Chefs | St. Louis Public Radio


Burger 809 on Cherokee Street is one of the restaurants taking part in St. Louis Black Restaurant Week 2019.
Holly Edgell | St. Louis Public Radio

Without support from diners, no restaurant can survive. Frank Williamson, organizer of St. Louis Black Restaurant Week, says attracting customers can be especially challenging for African American eateries.

Highlighting local black restaurants to help them attract customers is the driving force behind the week.

Diners can visit eight restaurants between Sept. 3-8 and enjoy a variety of specials. Williamson wants this week to be a relationship-building experience among restaurateurs, chefs and patrons.

Dakota Williams (at left) and Evy Swoboda, both in their 20s, have each made their mark on the St. Louis restaurant scene.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Twenty-four-year-old Dakota Williams has quickly worked his way up to a sought-after position – executive sous chef – at one of St. Louis’ top-notch restaurants. But the primary reason Williams gives for his choice of career isn’t all that sophisticated.

“I’m constantly hungry, so I knew when I was younger that I would have to find a job that I could eat at, because when I get angry it’s all because of hunger,” the Sardella standout told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh in a conversation that aired Monday. “And everybody knows that at work, so they just know to feed me.”

One of seven young professionals selected by Sauce magazine as this year’s “Ones to Watch,” Williams shared his journey from starting out at McDonald’s to working with celebrated restaurateur Gerard Craft. Fellow up-and-comer and Niche Food Group colleague Evy Swobody also joined the discussion, as did Sauce managing editor Heather Hughes.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 6, 2009 - The St. Louis food scene got a little more delicious, in notoriety at least, when three local chefs were named as Midwest semi-finalists for the James Beard Foundation awards last month.

Finalists for the awards, often called the Oscars of the food world, won't be named until March 23 at . Winners will be announced May 3 and 4.