The “shoebox lunches” consist of southern fried chicken in decorative cardboard boxes featuring facts about prominent Black figures or history. They are modeled after the boxes African-Americans used to store food while traveling in the segregated South. During the Jim Crow era, many people of color prepared and packed meals because they were refused service at White-only eateries.
Patrick Coleman, the Beans & Cornbread owner, said stories of segregation he heard from his mother and grandmother sparked the idea.
He added the keepsake meal boxes to the lunch menu in November 2018 and they were a hit last February. Now, he will be serving a variety of soul food in the cartons, including catfish and the restaurant’s signature Harlem Burrito.
“It’s a history lesson [that] we call ‘lunch and learn,” he told Black Enterprise.
“It’s important that a younger generation understand the strength and determination that their forebears had to persevere through what we now consider normal day-to-day living,” Coleman added. “Despite the indignities of the era, Black Americans found a way through resourcefulness as well as resolve to ensure that they could travel and sustain themselves.”
The “History in a Box” will be priced at $11 but restaurant-goers can purchase them for $3. A portion of the sales will be donated to
What's Your Reaction?
Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.