Tour some of Orlando’s tastiest Black-owned eateries with Instagram influencer and guest blogger Christina Petsos.
The Orlando food scene offers a world of diversity, including many fantastic Black-owned restaurants. For Black History Month, I wanted to showcase some standouts. Get inspired to try something new and support our local Black community during your next visit to Orlando.
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Selam Ethiopian & Eritrean Cuisine
Selam, meaning “hi” or “peace,” is the name of this unassuming — and MICHELIN Guide Recommended — business down the road from SeaWorld® Orlando. Selam is also the name of one of the co-owners of this wonderful restaurant. The other co-owner is her brother, Abraham. As children in Ethiopia, Abraham is the one who taught Selam how to cook. Selam is now the head chef here, while Abraham loves to entertain and socialize with their guests.
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Opening a restaurant was a longtime dream for Abraham. When he immigrated from Ethiopia, he was originally living in California. He came to Orlando to visit family and decided he really liked it, so he decided to move here and open Selam with his sister. Abraham enjoys sharing the customs and traditions of his culture with his guests. For instance, Selam has a traditional coffee ceremony with authentic seating in the back of the restaurant. While here, I ordered Beef Samosas, the Coffee Ceremony, and the Selam Meat and Veggie Combination Special platter.
Ethiopian food is meant to be eaten with your hands, and each platter is served with injera, which is a type of thin bread made from teff flour. Teff is lower in calories and healthier than regular flour, as it is high in vitamins and minerals. The combination platter features red lentil, split peas, atalkelt wot (cabbage, carrots and potato), collard greens, timatim fitfi (made from injera), chicken, and two different types of beef. This platter, the Veggie Combination platter, and the Doro Wot are the most popular items at Selam. For a unique experience and flavorful food, stop by.
Sister Honey’s Bakery
Sister Honey’s Bakery in downtown Orlando’s SoDo District is award-winning for a reason, right? Absolutely. I am actually eating one of their Magic Bars as I am sitting here typing this, thinking “wow” after every bite. In fact, the owner, Evette Rahman, has won the title of World Dessert Champion multiple times. So, what is her secret? The answer is simple: love.
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This little bakery with a big heart is named after Evette’s mother, whose nickname is Sister Honey. Evette learned how to bake from her mother, who used only the best quality ingredients — a tradition Evette continues to this day at Sister Honey’s. Every single item sold here is made from scratch daily on the premises. It is easy to taste when something is fresh and homemade, which you definitely get here.
I had a hard time deciding what I was going to get so I settled on five things. (Basically, I did not choose, ha ha.) I tried the famous Coconut Cake, Hummingbird Cake, Magic Bar, Chocolate Silk Pie, and Cookies & Cream Cupcake. Every single dessert was amazing, but the Coconut Cake really stole my heart. This cake is actual perfection, and I cannot sing the praises higher. It’s heavenly. Like, when I die, this cake will be waiting in Heaven for me, no doubt about it. They also sell full cakes, and I urge you to order your next cake from this female- and Black-owned bakery.
Streetwise Urban Food
Located in Belle Isle near Orlando International Airport and Lake Nona, this small eatery brings huge flavor. The owner, Chef Peterson Pierre, moved from Haiti to America to make his dream of becoming a chef and opening a restaurant come to life. He was classically trained at Le Cordon Bleu, which can be seen in his style of cooking along with his own Caribbean flair.
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The most popular dishes at Streetwise, according to Chef Pierre, are the Chicken & Waffle Hot Mess and the Steak n’ Steak Sandwich, so I had to try both! The waffles are not just your ordinary waffles; they are cheesy herb waffles, a great combination with the chicken and its Buffalo sauce-infused maple syrup. I also made my own bowl, which was my favorite thing here.
Everything is made fresh and from local purveyors, which you can certainly tell in the taste. The bowls have a large portion and a reasonable price. I tried my bowl with the pulled chicken, and it melted in my mouth. For a wonderful meal with a great customer experience, try Streetwise.
World Famous House of Mac
World Famous House of Mac just opened in February 2023 in downtown Orlando’s SoDo District. They originally opened in Miami and decided to open a second location in Orlando. This is a fast-casual restaurant owned by Derrick Turton, aka “Chef Teach,” specializing in providing comfort soul food. And prior to pursuing his successful culinary career, Turton was world-famous entertainer Pitbull’s manager!
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Before opening World Famous House of Mac, people like Pitbull and other chart-toppers such as Flo Rida and A$AP Rocky were the ones who would test Turton’s recipes, with the Mac and Cheese always being the favorite. Turton’s heritage is Trinidadian and West Indian, so his macaroni starts as a foundation from what they call a macaroni pie, infused with other macaroni and cheese styles.
On their menu, you can find macaroni and cheese dishes like Buffalo chicken, pizza, chicken parm, cordon bleu, lobster, seafood and more. In addition to macaroni, they offer burgers, sandwiches, wings, pizza, pasta, salmon and other bites. Their wings are phenomenal. I tried the lemon pepper wings, which have a perfect lemon flavor that I could not get enough of. I also tried the Jerk Chicken Mac (10/10), Pizza Mac and a side of cornbread. This macaroni is loaded up on the cheese and flavor. Definitely stop by this new business, because you will be missing out on some seriously good food if you don’t.
Brappin Crabs is one of the newest food trucks on the scene that’s making a big impression. Jamor and Kaleea Thompson are a young couple that owns this seafood-forward truck. They just moved to Orlando from New York in August 2022 and are gaining speed with locals quickly due to their fresh seafood, homemade sauces and famous eggrolls. I remember seeing their food at their first 407 Food Fair, hosted by MAM Events, and thinking, “Wow, I must try that because it looks amazing.” My verdict: It is.
I tried their Banshee Fries, which is fried shrimp and lobster bites on top of French fries, topped with their secret brapp sauce, Asian zing and homemade cheese sauce. All these combined together for the most perfect flavor and I could not stop eating them. I was not sharing this meal with anyone. My next goal is to go back and try the Mac and Cheese Egg Rolls.
The Thompsons have only had their food truck for a couple of years and have already amassed a large following from being so present in the local community and providing exceptional food. They decided to move to Orlando after they graduated college because they always loved it every time they visited. Kaleea actually started her food business when she was in college and worked hard to perfect her recipes for the seafood she makes. The couple is passionate about what they do, and I see them being a notable business in Orlando. Follow them on social media to see where you can find them next.
The eateries featured here are just the start of all Orlando’s delicious Black-owned restaurants. Check out Visit Orlando’s guide to African American history and culture to discover more ahead of your next visit.
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