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Winter storm causes some restaurants to close during Black Restaurant Week

Restaurant owners participating in Black Restaurant Week hope more people come this week to make up for business lost last week.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Black Restaurant Week in Portland got off to a slow start this year due to last week's record-breaking winter storm. The annual restaurant event was scheduled to start Feb. 24, just two days after the snowstorm hit.

Nikeisah Newton owns Meals 4 Heels, a Portland meal delivery service that focuses on vegetarian and vegan food and serves fresh vegetables, cheese, kale and other healthy items. She had to close her kiosk in Southeast Portland on Thursday and Friday.

"It was really deflating," Newton said. "I think there was a lot of communication with the people putting (Black Restaurant Week) on, but it's just one of those things that happens."

Newton said her company's name comes from her time feeding sex workers. Her ex-girlfriend was going to school, interning and dancing to pay for school, and Newton's cooking was a special way of feeding her. She started bringing some of the food to the club, and it become popular. 

"With over seventy-five strip clubs in Portland, I thought it was a good idea," Newton said. 

Newton said Black Restaurant Week is a chance for people in the Portland metro area to support Black-owned businesses and try some new foods. 

Over in Hillsboro, Rush Bowls owner Adebola Adewumi and his staff make fresh acai bowls with fruit and all types of toppings. This is his first year participating in Black Restaurant Week.

"There's not a lot of healthy options of what to eat when you're on the go that's quick and easy," Adewumi said. 

Rush Bowls has been open for three years. Due to the winter storm, they were forced to close on Thursday and open late on Friday. 

"Some of our staff members are driving a little bit farther," Adewumi said. "The roads aren't safe to drive, if they aren't able to make it in, we have to shut down."

People who want to seek out participating businesses can visit the Black Restaurant Week website. Black Restaurant Week runs through March 5.

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