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Fifth Annual Boston Black Restaurant Challenge Returns For Black History Month

BOSTON (CBS) -- Tuesday is the first day of Black History Month and there is a new effort in Massachusetts to support Black-owned restaurants. Lawmakers and Black restaurant owners joined together to kick off the fifth annual Boston Black Restaurant Challenge.

"This year is particularly important because Black restaurants have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19," said State Rep. Chynah Tyler.

For the next four weeks, the Boston Black Hospitality Coalition is calling on residents to support the city's Black-owned restaurants by eating out or ordering take-out as a way to celebrate diversity.

It will give restaurants, like Wally's Cafe Jazz Club some much-needed support.

"We've been closed for two years due to the pandemic," said Frank Poindexter.

He said Wally's Cafe Jazz Club is hoping to reopen in the next few weeks and he hopes this call for support will bring people back in. "Hopefully it will help. It's about communities making sure that they work together."

Lawmakers also announced $350,000 in funds from the American Rescue Plan Act will go to the Boston Black Hospitality Coalition.

"We know our small businesses are the lifeblood of our state and this money is going to be critical towards bringing some of those businesses back," said State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz.

But restaurant owners know that won't be enough to help them survive.

The owner of Soleil said the winter months are usually tough for restaurants but this year has been extra challenging with the Omicron surge.

"Personally the loss of revenue because people are working from home, explained owner Cheryl Straughter. "Just please visit all the restaurants. There are a number of Black restaurants in this city just go out and taste the flavor."

There are more than 70 eateries and cocktail bars you can support as part of the challenge. Visit for the full list.

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