Soul food is making its mark in Antelope Valley — which shouldn’t be surprising since, demographically speaking, Palmdale and Lancaster are together home to the third largest black community in the United States, behind LA and Long Beach. Time 2 Grub and D&B Catering and Events are two black-owned soul food establishments that are filling a niche in the community.
Time 2 Grub: serving great soul food
Tanya O’Neal moved from LA to Antelope Valley for the affordable cost of living, safer streets, and community feel. However, she soon noticed a gap in the local market for Southern cuisine. Setting up in 2018, O’Neal first started cooking soul food staples in her home permit-free. Following in the footsteps of major South LA Instagram accounts (the likes of Mr. Fries Man and Trap Kitchen), O’Neal advertised her dishes on social media. Word-of-mouth spread fast, and it wasn’t long before she had a steady stream of customers. O’Neal soon secured a space in Sol Plaza Boutique Mall with her menu featuring oxtails, meatloaf, smothered steak, and vegan options.
D&B BBQ: family-owned business
D&B BBQ Catering and Events is another black-owned eatery in Sol Plaza Boutique Mall. Husband and wife team Bella and David Blackmon first started out selling their unique Southside Chicago barbeque fare at Lancaster farmers market. They also provide catering for large-scale events, including events for the chamber of commerce. Their cafe took a lot of work to get off the ground, but now has numerous repeat customers. “Our biggest thing is word of mouth,” says Bella. “You can flyer and all that, but word of mouth brings business. We take pride in what we do, and we love to see our repeat customers.”
The value of online marketing
All Antelope Valley restaurants should also consider the value of online marketing to boost their customer base. 97% of customers rely on search engines to find local restaurants, so having an online business presence is critical. For example, making your website mobile-friendly allows mobile users to easily view your website — considering there’s currently 3.6 billion mobile users worldwide, this is an important step. Mobile ordering and payments are also useful mobile-orientated features that encourage sales.
Time 2 Grub and D&B have attracted a strong local fan base, thanks to both social media and Postmates orders. Now, however, O’Neal has also managed to purchase a food truck, which she hopes will help her expand her reach and serve even more of the local community.