Black-Owned Restaurants, Shops, and Landmarks to Discover in Connecticut

Camp F.L.Y. Slumber Parties creates memorable birthdays for tweens. Photo courtesy of Camp F.L.Y.
Camp F.L.Y. Slumber Parties creates memorable birthdays for tweens. Photo courtesy of Camp F.L.Y.

Black History Month is a time to reflect on the contributions of African American culture to our society and show support for the Black community. One of the most impactful ways to show support is by patronizing Black-owned restaurants and Black-owned shops in Connecticut. With that in mind, we’re shining a light on institutions dedicated to preserving Black history, as well as local Black-owned businesses in Connecticut that cater to kids and families.

From bookstores and party entertainment to coffee and sweet treats, here are some Black-owned establishments to discover in the Nutmeg State if you haven’t done so already. For more family-friendly activities and events to celebrate Black History month browse our event calendar and the Best Things To Do in Connecticut in February with Kids. Check out 30+ Children's Books to Celebrate Black History Month for great reads that represent and affirm kids of color. If you'd like more stories like this sent straight to your inbox, sign up for newsletters.

 
American Beauty, 1906, Artist Unknown, photo courtesy of the Amistad Center for Art & Culture

African American Museums and Historical Sites in Connecticut

Amistad Center for Art & Culture - Hartford 

Housed in the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, the Amistad Center for Art & Culture houses a collection of 7,000 works of art, artifacts, and archives, documenting more than 300 years of the artistic, literary, military, enslaved, and free life of Blacks in America. 

 
The Elijah Lewis House as depicted in this section of a Connecticut Freedom Trail Quilt, photo courtesy of the Connecticut Freedom Trail, Facebook

The Connecticut Freedom Trail – Various Locations 

The Connecticut Freedom Trail encompasses more than 130 sites in over 50 towns - and growing. From the Ancient Burial Grounds in Wethersfield to the New Haven Museum, The Trail documents and designates historical sites around Connecticut that celebrate the accomplishments of the state's African American community. 

The Mary and Eliza Freeman Center – Bridgeport 

One of the missions of The Mary and Eliza Freeman Center is to teach the history of Black people in Connecticut. According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, “The Freeman Houses are rare and irreplaceable evidence of African American life before Emancipation and should be considered a site of national significance worthy of careful stewardship and protection.” Through public programs that deepen our understanding of African American history and significant historical places, the Freeman Center has created a vibrant community in the heart of Bridgeport. 

Black-Owned Shops and Businesses in Connecticut

Nina’s Balloon Emporium - based out of West Hartford 

Owner April is passionate about balloons - and it shows.  Her balloon garlands, trees, arches, and wreaths add a special touch to almost any celebration.  

 
Jean Smith, owner and founder of Jean's Closet in Norwalk. Photo courtesy of Jean's Closet

Jean’s Closet - Norwalk 

This shop may be small, but it is packed with a delightful collection of yarns and handmade original creations. Tucked into an alley off of SoNo’s Washington Street, Jean’s Closet offers a range of classes and workshops in knitting and crocheting. 

Sugar & Cream Cake Studio – based out of Bridgeport 

Owner Adriel has been creating cakes out of her Bridgeport home since 2012. From cakes to cake jars—if you have a sweet tooth, the Sugar & Cream Cake Studio has you covered.

 
A great selection of books featuring kids of color can be found at The Key Bookstore. Photo courtesy of The Key Bookstore

The Key Bookstore- Hartford 

The Key is a Black-Owned bookstore “curated on for the pillars of Afrocentricity, Spirituality Environmentalism, and Entrepreneurship.” Through its storefront in Hartford and vast online store, The Key offers a wide range of children’s books, games, and subscription boxes. 

The Vault Virtual Reality– Seymour  

The Vault is Connecticut’s premier spot for VR Free Roam Arena and VR Escape Rooms. When you visit, expect a fully immersive virtual entertainment experience. From birthday parties to corporate events, the Vault provides a one-of-a-kind team-building experience. 

Magnolia Chocolatier - based out of Stratford 

Magnolia Chocolatier ships its delicious chocolatey confections anywhere in Connecticut and beyond. Chef Maggie has been making her sweet masterpieces since the early 90s. Nowadays, her online storefront is filled with unique combinations like pomegranate orange, mauby and nuts, and almond cardamom. 

Exotic Snax NYC - Norwalk 

Are you craving some Smoky Bacon Walkers Crisps? Or how about some seafood flavored Chinese potato chips? Want to wash it all down with some Japanese Fanta? Then Exotic Snax NYC is just your place. Take a trip around the world without ever leaving Norwalk. Exotic Snax NYC has a wide variety of rare snacks from across the globe. 

Muck Mudd – Bridgeport 

Muck Mudd’s mission “is to Educate one Child at Time until we have an Educated Populace and Community that will enhance the Greater Community and World.” It achieves this goal through a variety of programs, including after-school tutoring, college and high school entrance exam prep, homebound tutoring, a Summer Academy, and much more. 

Live Like a Lotus – Based out of Canton

Live Like A Lotus Kids kids yoga will come to your child’s school or any facility. Kids' classes are available for a variety of ages and group sizes.  Owner Felicia Jordan is a  ChildLight Yoga® & Mindfulness for Children Instructor and looks “to spread a positive outlook and help her students to look within to find their peace of mind.”

Artistic Director and Owner Jimmy Locust in his Stamford studio. Photo courtesy of the Locust Performing Arts Center

Locust Performing Arts Center  – Stamford 

Artistic Director and Owner Jimmy Locust has appeared in music videos and worked with superstars Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Paula Abdul, Quincy Jones, and Debbie Allen. The Locust Performing Arts Center has a wide range of dance classes for ages three and up in hip hop, ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary, modern, musical theater, creative movement, and adult dance. 

The Russell Dance Studio – Woodbridge 

The Tia Russell Dance Studio has been servicing the Greater New Haven Area for the better part of a decade. With a variety of classes offered for students aged 18 months through adults, this studio has made a name for itself through jaw-dropping performances and dynamic choreography. 

Sisters Sulena Lindsey and Keeya Holley own Camp F.L.Y. Slumber Parties. Photo courtesy of Camp F.L.Y.

Camp F.L.Y. Slumber Parties – serving all of Connecticut 

These slumber parties can be set up just about anywhere. Simply choose one of their Instagram-worthy themes, and let the magic be delivered right to your home. 

Black-Owned Restaurants in Connecticut

 

Two sisters with a passion for desserts run Brown Butter Creations. Photo courtesy of Brown Butter Creations.

Brown Butter Creations – Glastonbury 

Brown Butter is run by two sisters with a passion for desserts who specialize in custom-made cakes, cupcakes, and cookies. All of their baked goods are made to order, so make sure you plan. 

Berkins Blend Cafe – Glastonbury & Hartford 

You'll want to grab a seat and settle into Berkins Blend Cafe. Doug Barber and Andréa Hawkins (the name Berkins combines parts of the pair's last names) invite you to stay awhile whether you're cozying up with a cup of coffee or devouring one of their savory or sweet food options. 

 
Try the wings at Hot Rod Cafe. Photo courtesy of Hot Rod Cafe

Hot Rod Cafe – New London 

Delicious apps, scrumptious salads, and more than 20 varieties of wings fill the menu of the Hot Rod Cafe. Diners can enjoy a meal while sitting on the cafe’s beautiful deck overlooking the Thames River. 

Capital Ice Cream – Hartford

Located just blocks from The Bushnell Theater and Bushnell Park, this vibrant scoop shop offers premium ice cream, ice cream sandwiches, milkshakes, ice cream cakes, and more. 

 
Chicken and waffles to die for at Ms. Barbara Jean's Soul Food Kitchen. Photo courtesy of the restaurant

Ms. Barbara Jean’s Soul Food Kitchen – Norwalk 

Ms. Barbara Jean’s fried chicken, cornbread, pork chops, catfish, black-eyed peas, and collard greens have a history of making bellies happy. Make sure to check out the restaurant's vegan options as well.  

No Leftovers – Norwalk

From Sunday Brunch to Seafood Friday, No Leftovers has got your week covered. Serving up Caribbean and Jamaican Food, this establishment offers popular favorites like jerk pork and chicken, steamed fish, oxtail, curry goat, curry chicken, and more.

Edible Couture – New Haven 

I have 5 words: Reeses’s. Peanut. Butter. Party. Bowl. These bowls of yumminess come in a variety of flavors and feed up to 15 people with little to no mess. As if that’s not enough, Edible Couture also serves up a full menu of cakes, cupcakes, gourmet cake cups, and more. 
 

Glow Wild Lantern Festival
Beardsley Zoo - 5:30 PM Pick
Lyman Orchards' Corn Maze
Lyman Orchards - various times Pick
Pumpkintown U.S.A.
Pumpkintown USA - various times Pick
Scott's Yankee Farmer Corn Maze
Scott's Yankee Farm - various times Pick
Beyond Van Gogh
Connecticut Convention Center - various times Pick
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides