A Celebration of Good. Black. Food. | Food Feature | Indy Week
Pin It

A Celebration of Good. Black. Food. 

Swelling with new restaurants, our cities are bursting with a variety of flavor. Even so, the ownership demographics are skewed.

"There seems to be such a gap in equity and who is getting all the business in the way downtown Durham is changing," says Erika Smith.

Erika and her sister, Courtney, started Piri (www.piridurham.com), their new family-owned catering business, to combat this evolution. Piri boasts the tagline, "Good. Black. Food."

Piri has been taking private gigs since last November, but it officially launched last month at Durham's Third Friday.

Born and raised in the South, with some travel abroad, the Smith sisters honor their Morganton-born great-grandmother, Sudie Kincaid, with a menu that serves collard greens, "3 cheese mac," and, soon, an apple-pear sauce that they grew up eating at her table.

"Our idea of Southern is wider because mac and cheese was a treat," says Courtney. "Most of what she cooked wasn't full of fat or sugar. On our menu we do try to incorporate influences that are Southern gourmet, but not laden with pork fat."

The menu includes lunch and dinner portions of meatloaf, coconut chicken with rice, marinated flank steak, seafood specials, and vegan options.

"The exciting thing is reconnecting to the different experiences we have across the African-American diaspora, how we all have similarities on some level," Courtney says of the new venture. "So much of what we connect across this experience is that we share being descendants of enslaved folks. Getting little bits and pieces of inspiration from that and tying it back to my roots here in the South."

Courtney is a baker at Loaf, but she started Piri with her family as a way to get back to cooking over the stove, where her culinary pursuits began years ago.

She stresses seasonal cooking. Erika points out that sourcing local ingredients prioritizes "the farmers who have been here for generations, especially disenfranchised farmers of color."

On Saturday from eleven a.m. to three-thirty p.m., Piri will be serving food on the sidewalk outside of at Exotique on Main Street in Durham. They'll be back at the space above Loaf on November 17 for Third Friday.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Food Feature

Twitter Activity


Don't waste your $$ here. Horrible service, mediocre food. From what we heard - kitchen turnover is the issue due …

by Ibaguru on Piedmont Restaurant (Durham County)

I don't want to give this place any stars. We were just there this past weekend and the service was …

by Ibaguru on Piedmont Restaurant (Durham County)

Most Recent Comments

Congrats, Adam Sobsey, on a beautiful piece of work, evocative and moving. It captures much of what I feel about …

by cramco on Come Hell or High Water, Iconic Durham Restaurant Nana’s Was a Force of Nature. A Longtime Bartender Pays Honor to Its Unique Culture on Its Final Night. (Food Feature)

Yum! Thank you, Sharon for the great information!

by Mary Susan Klein on Peak N.C. Watermelon Season Is Here. Learn to Pick Like a Pro and See What Local Restaurants Are Cooking. (Food Feature)

The people of Cleveland have a different version of a steamer.

by Shocka Kahn on Kaffeinate’s Iced Okinawan Steamer Is Summer’s Answer to Pumpkin Spice (Food Feature)

© 2018 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation