New website Spicy Green Book shines spotlight on Black-owned restaurants across SoCal

The Oscar-winning movie "The Green Book" brought attention to a travel guide that helped African American travelers in the mid-20th century.

Now, there's a website called Spicy Green Book that's shining the spotlight on Black-owned restaurants throughout Southern California with the intention of fostering community.

Keenan Handy, born and raised in Compton, started cooking barbecue in 1992. Now he's the owner of Hambone's, with locations in Huntington Beach and Bellflower.

Like with any restaurant, business has been difficult during the coronavirus pandemic, but the barbecue joint recently got a boost, thanks to the new website.

"It's great to see the movement, it's great to see the support from other cultures, just to come together as one," Handy said.

Danilo Batson, the mind behind Spicy Green Book, says he's been blown away by the response and interest from the community.

"Usually you find one, you put one on the site, everyone wants to get involved," Batson said.

Anthony Lee, owner of the Belly's Sliders & Wings food truck, is one of them.

"I thought it was a great opportunity. You know, anything that's able to get the word out and get your name out as a business, be able to have growth," Lee said.

Batson plans to go nationwide with the website, but to do that, he needs help. And he's getting it.

"Photographers, videographers, writers, journalists, people in tech... everyone is coming out in droves, trying to help out and get involved," he said.

In the long run, Batson hopes to use his website to foster dialogue in each featured community, with discounts for law enforcement officers.

"We want police officers to get to know us, see us, so next time there is police contact, you're like oh I know that business owner, I know that waitress, so on and so forth" he said.

It's something he and these business owners believe can enact change.

"We all are one people at the end of the day and we all have similar situations and similar things we go through in life that we all can relate to," Lee said.
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