So, you've pledged your support for Black-owned restaurants in New York City—what's next?
Cassandre Davilmar envisioned Lakou Café as an inclusive space—an oasis—for the Crown Heights community. Like countless other restaurants across the city, however, the current crisis put everything in limbo the past year. When protesters took over New York City’s streets, there was a renewed sense of purpose. Davilmar, the owner and founder of Lakou, joined her team in giving out hundreds of “protest patties” to help fuel the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s also brought a wave of support as more people seek out ways to back Black-owned businesses (today there are resources all over the internet and social media listing). Davilmar shares with Time Out New York about how Lakou has fared during the current crisis and the road ahead. In many ways, her story is one about how BIPOC-owned businesses are striving to find success and sustainability beyond a moment of national awakening. We've been around for about two years now. I was 29 when I opened Lakou in May 2018 as a Haitian American café and community events space. We would do movie nights, Haitian Creole classes and feature different Haitian artists and different members of the local community. We're in a Black neighborhood in Crown Heights. We're actually in a neighborhood that was previously and still known as Weeksville, which is the first black Freedman’s community in Brooklyn. I just wanted it to appeal to that inner desire to be around calmness and beauty—an inclusive space for everyone. We have an evolving menu wher