Residents of and visitors to Ward 8 have long faced the challenges associated with being in an area aptly described as a “food desert.” Sure, there are plenty of convenience stores whose shelves are stocked with cavity-causing candies and processed foods. And naturally, the ward has more than enough fast food restaurants eager to entice customers with “delicacies” deep-fried in days-old grease.
But finding a crisp spinach salad, a baked fish platter or just a freshly brewed cup of coffee can prove to be a daunting adventure. As for locating a grocery store East of the River, particularly one whose meats haven’t reached their expiration dates and whose fruits and vegetables aren’t wilted, rotten or frequently sampled by rodents — well, good luck.
So, seeing the recent red-carpet festivities which marked the opening of a new MLK Deli on Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. in Southeast was a real reason to celebrate. The new owners have decided to keep the name of the local carryout that has served Ward 8 residents for nearly 30 years. Owners have come and gone with ever-changing menus. But given the long lines last Sunday that the owners faced as they swung open their doors, it’s clear that residents and visitors to the ward both appreciate and desire a good, healthy meal.
Yet, we must also remember that the most recent owners closed their doors because of multiple armed robberies — stickup men who were “robbing while Black.” We pray that such atrocities won’t happen again. Even more, we encourage people to consider the impact of stealing a few hundred dollars on the well-being of their own community. Let’s support and protect the few Black-owned businesses of our beloved Ward 8.