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Eat Here Indy highlights city’s black-owned restaurants during pandemic, protests

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Eat Here Indy is dedicated to raising awareness and support for locally owned restaurants.

Its mission has become even more crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic, and rising tensions and discussions about race gave them a chance to highlight a more specific group: the city’s black-owned restaurants.

They came up with a running list of places for people to visit.

“We want more eyeballs on these local businesses,” founder and CEO Bradley Houser said. “We want people to not only just see it but to actually start going to these places. We’re going to connect you to them, but your job as a consumer or as a neighbor is to go to actually go to these places and spend money with them.”

Houser, an Indianapolis native, says pushing the platform forward has been easier with support from his landlord, Tamika Catchings, the former Indiana Fever star who now owns Tea’s Me Cafe.

After her 15-year professional basketball career was over, she realized she was too in love with the city to leave.

“The people here are beautiful,”  she said. Now, as the owner of Tea’s Me Cafe, her passion for the community matches up with her passion for her own business.

“It’s a part of my life,” Catchings said.

Catchings said helping budding entrepreneurs like Houser, who also have a passion for the Indianapolis community, gives her motivation.

It helps when the person who owns your building is also an entrepreneur who knows a thing or two about working in the Indianapolis community.

“The thing that inspires me the most is the people that I’ve been able to engage with,” Catchings said.

In addition to Tea’s Me Cafe, at least 20 black-owned restaurants have been featured on the Eat Here Indy website. Houser says he wants the Eat Here Indy platform to lift his community up.

“We just have enough negative in our society right now,” Houser said. “It’s an important time to hone in on positivity any way we can, and we’re using our platform to do so.” 

You can nominate a local restaurant that you feel should be highlighted.