As we witness the dialogue shift in San Jose, our #sanjoselove remains constant. We’re sharing our platform with local community organizer Mary Celestin, a San Jose native, musician, engineering student, and now activist who offers ways you can participate in the BLM movement through financial support.
In her now viral illustrated guide, Let’s Get to Work, San Jose! Mary offers ways locals and visitors can support the Black community. First up, Mary recommends her favorite Black-owned restaurants to check out via al fresco, takeout or delivery.
With the best jerk chicken platter in town, experience a taste of the Carribean at Back-A-Yard. Order Jamaican patties, salad “yard” bowls, and dessert... Don’t skip the sweet potato pie or key lime pie. You can even purchase their famous sauces to go!
Mary’s Take: I love going here with my Dad. We’re are both Haitian-American so we always try to sit at the table with the Haitian flag.
There’s no shortage of delicious Ethiopian food in San Jose. Named after the word for a traditional Ethiopian home, you’ll literally be taking in authentic, homestyle smells and flavors at this family-owned restaurant.
Owned and operated by Jackie Johnson, a Bay Area caterer for over 20 years, this Japantown favorite brings Jackie’s soul food delights from her plate to yours. Jackie’s Place fell victim to a fire that forced them to close last month but they are hoping to reopen soon. So stay tuned to enjoy their signature fried chicken and catfish or their shrimp and grits along with black eyed peas and hush puppies. And by all means, don’t forget to save room for dessert!
Mary’s Take: It's currently closed due to a fire but you can still support via their fundraiser!
Tucked away in a residential neighborhood, this local gem is a go-to for Somalin dishes. Popular dishes include the roasted goat cutlet, jumbo steak platter, and the sambusas!
A contemporary spin on classic Ethiopian dishes, enjoy entrée dishes with traditional options such as sega kitfo (steak tartare) or K’eywot (red beef stew) and ahi tuna and tofu variations. Mary personally recommends the vegetable platter.
Easy and convenient family Ethiopian restaurant with its casual, laid-back atmosphere serving homestyle meals.
Prepared with exotic Ethiopian spices, Mudai offers traditionally-prepared individual and shareable plates can be prepared for meat-eaters and vegans. Try a combo with classics like lamb tibs, gomen, doro wot. Soak it all up with traditional injera flatbread and wash it down with Ethiopian beer.
A San Jose Ethiopian hotspot where many Silicon Valley tech leaders have been known to grab a bite, this eatery boasts some of the highest reviews around. Check out classics combo plates or the new Silicon Valley classic, the Zuckerberg Combo.
A favorite of locals to take their out-of-town guests, Zeni offers a Western-style dining room and a traditional Ethiopian-style dining ambiance with low stools and tables. Dishes offer authentic flavors and customizable options. Dine with a group and share, experience and interact with the cuisine. Mary personally recommends the Kitfo (the ground beef sauteed in butter and spices), the Tibs (cubed meat made with sauteed onions and jalapeno peppers), and the Kik Alicha (yellow in color split pea stew).
One of the most anticipated and buzzworthy openings of late, this new coffee shop in SoFA District is owned by Jeronica Macey and Be'Anka Ashaolu. San Jose natives and sisters, they inherited their love of coffee through their grandmother and have always dreamed of creating a space that feeds souls and makes people happy. Jeronica and Be'Anka recommend their Celebration Latte as an introduction to their menu.
They may not have a full-on brick and mortar location but the food is still a must try. Don't sleep on the flavors and explore San Jose like a local!
A true local eatery that's all about the food, order your combo platter and watch them grill your order right outside. Located in a walk-up trailer, Jon's Jon's is a family run business for over two decades, serving up good food and service.
Mary’s Take: Be careful! Their special spices, rubs and signature sauce are known to be addicting!