Over the years, the sights and sounds of Welton Street have changed dramatically, but Brother Jeff Fard and Ron Springer hope to make sure Five Points keeps some of its original character. In addition to the many events Brother Jeff Fard hosts at his Cultural Center, the two plan on starting up a commercial catering service that will serve food from across all parts of the African Diaspora.
Although the catering service is not officially ready to open its doors, you can get a feel for its potential by stopping by Black Dollar Saturday at Brother Jeff’s Cultural Center for sample plates that will include some Caribbean delights, a vegan option and a healthy dose of soul food.
“It’s a wonderful idea, the representation of black cultural foods, the international aspect of it, we’re representing Africa, the Caribbean, the Americas and we have an expansive vegan menu,” Springer said.
Once the operation fully takes off patrons will able to grab items like Ghanaian jollof rice, escovitch fish and curries from the Caribbean, as well as a plethora of classic soul food options. The kitchen will offer healthy cooking classes and will take a health conscious approach to their menu items.
“All facets of cooking will utilize healthy alternatives because our people are dealing too much diabetes, high blood pressure, cancers, and we are what we eat,” said Springer.
The 80205 area code, which includes the Five Points neighborhood, is one of the fastest gentrifying parts of the entire country. Census numbers validate that cultural shift and paint a pretty vivid picture of the demographic changes that have recently occurred in the formerly predominantly black area.
For example in the year 2000, there were 9,559 white folks and 10,878 black folks in that zip code. A decade later, in 2010, there were 7,485 black folks and 15,586 white folks, and the pace of these demographic shifts has seemingly only accelerated since the latest release of the 2010 census numbers. Despite these changes, Fard and Springer are determined to have Brother Jeff’s Cultural Center remain a central component of the Welton Street experience.
The hope is that the addition of a catering service would not only lure black consumers who may have left the area back to Five Points — as Springer noted, “I’ve traveled across town for a plate for many occasions” — but also give Brother Jeff Fard an opportunity to exercise one of his center’s primary functions, supporting small and local black businesses, especially those on Welton Street.
For example, every Saturday, Brother Jeff Fard incubates and grows small businesses through his Black Dollar Saturday campaign that allows up and coming businesses to hold vendor space at no costs to the vendor.
Black Dollar Saturday is an effort to support small, local, black owned businesses.
“We’re arguably the number one supporter of black businesses; we’re bigger than the city of Denver, we’re bigger than the State of Colorado as it relates to supporting small black businesses. No one’s doing this, and we’re doing this without huge financial resources behind us,” said Fard.
Fard sees this new catering service as an opportunity for those no longer living in the Five Points area to at least be able to take the food of Five Points with them wherever they go.
In the slightly more distant future, they also hope to use their catering capabilities to dip into the trendy food truck industry.
Brother Jeff’s Cultural Center. 2836 Welton St. Black Dollar Saturday: Every Saturday from 11-6.