Starex Smith and his two friends waited for service for 20 minutes in a separate section of a restaurant before it hit him.
That’s when a young couple — both white — sat behind them and within seconds were being served water and shown a menu.
Then he remembered.
“Oh, my God, I forgot I was black!” he thought.
Smith spoke up. The manager feigned not knowing English. The waiter dragged the other couple uncomfortably into the conversation. And when Smith wondered aloud whether he and his friends should just leave, the manager waved, “Bye!”
That day two years ago at a popular Biscayne Boulevard Peruvian restaurant was a turning point for him. Smith, 33, one of the co-founders of Miami’s Black Tech Week, started a blog: The Hungry Black Man (thehungryblackman.com).
He set out to write about restaurants owned by minorities, what he calls “black and brown people,” that are fair and welcoming to Miami’s diverse dining crowd. In the first month, he said, it got more than 200,000 views.
“I wanted to create something that gave people of color a voice but also to be a conduit to places that are doing things right,” Smith said. “I want to show appreciation to the people who appreciate us.”