I was probably spending too much time on Twitter when someone tweeted me about using data from our Black-owned food and drink business spreadsheet for his website. If it reaches more people and serves to help folks support the community, I’m all for it.
“We were totally inspired by the data set you and your team put together,” says Corey Austin, digital producer at the Richards Group. Austin and his coworkers wanted to take SideDish’s admittedly bare-bones spreadsheet and create a visual tool that maps all of the restaurants in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. And so they did.
In a matter of five days—Austin says he was in “code mode” to get the product finished this quickly—Justice Kitchen was live. “I really hope visually people see the map for the first time and it strikes them the way it struck me. There’s a constellation of Black-owned businesses in our city and each one is an opportunity to put money into something important, into the community.” Austin wanted to use a fist rather than the typical map pin icon because, he says, “these restaurants represent more than that.”
Austin collaborated with his Black colleagues on approach and tone, and says his coworker Scott Luther found the perfect domain name for the website. “It totally felt perfect because that’s the unmistakeable goal of it all: justice for Black people.” Austin wanted to make supporting Black-owned restaurants easier for people to do.
And it wasn’t just our dataset that Justice Kitchen uses. Austin’s coworkers are a part of Facebook group that shares recommendations for Black-owned eateries, so they pulled from there as well. Users can also submit restaurants through a form on the website.
The Justice Kitchen code is open source so creatives can pick up the project and replicate it in their own cities. (Making it free and reproduce-able was the goal from the start.)
Austin says that he and his team are always thinking creatively and whipping up websites and apps. In terms of community, though, it’s “not something they’ve always focused on as an agency.” I appreciate the team at the Richards Group took the initiative to use their skillset for what they saw as an important cause. I’m glad the SideDish team could play a part in that.