A state with a sparse history of black-owned restaurants looks toward a bountiful future


Mateo Mackbee of Model Citizen prepares classic dishes including roast chicken, French onion soup, and pumpkin pie // Photo by Becca Dilley

It isn’t an accident that “Minnesota” and “soul food” are not exactly bedfellows. 

Unlike other major northern cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul did not see a significant migration of African-Americans between the first and second World Wars. By the 1940 census, there were just 4,646 black people living in Minneapolis, and about as many in St. Paul. Today, African-Americans make up less than six percent of Minnesota’s population (up from three percent during the Great Migration), and in spite of our perceived liberalism, we are considered the second worst state in the country for black people to live based on household income, access to…

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