It’s been a lifelong dream for Chieff Bosompra to open his own business.
Ever since he was young, he wanted to be a successful business man, but never knew how to go about it.
“My mother always told me as a Black man you need to work twice as hard for the same thing your Caucasian counterparts get,” he said.
And at 29, Bosompra has done it. He teamed up with Top Chef Canada semi-finalist and former owner of The Dirty Bird Chicken and Waffles in Kensington Market Adrian Forte. Together, they’ve opened up a new burger joint, Aunty Lucy’s.
Serving dishes like the ‘Kumasi’ burger, named after the capital city of the Ashanti region in southern Ghana, Bosompra is hoping to use this platform to share parts of his culture through food, while simultaneously inspiring Black youth around him to consider entrepreneurship.
“Seeing Black men reach success just let me know it was possible to break through ceilings and invisible walls society had placed in front of us,” Bosompra added.
Forte feels that same notion. That entrepreneurial spirit, especially in the restaurant industry can be a challenge, but it’s something he’s up for.
“Black chefs and businesses have to work twice as hard to get the same recognition from their non-BIPOC counterparts,” he said. “It’s important to provide continual support to Black businesses after racial injustice is no longer a trendy topic or the most popular topic in the news cycle.”
The challenges that came with opening a business during not only the COVID-19 pandemic, but also in the midst of heated protests against anti-Black racism and police brutality across North America only lit a fire for Bosompra to see his passion through.
Aunty Lucy’s shares space with Duggan’s Brewery Parkdale, owned by Michael Duggan. Parkdale is the perfect spot for Bosompra’s new venture as the diverse neighbourhood has welcomed the business with open arms. Within the first two days they sold out their entire menu before closing time, which was even more success than Bosompra had anticipated.
“We’ve been off to an amazing start,” he said, adding that it just increases his confidence to strive higher and aim for bigger goals. “We want to continue to make amazing beef burgers while shedding light on Ghana and Ghanaian culture in our own way.”
For Bosompra, the work goes beyond operating a burger joint. It is also about using the platform to promote Black artists. For example, Bosompra has asked Kazeem Kuteyi, founder of artist collective New Currency, to curate a playlist to share with patrons. “It’s filled with Ghanaian highlife, afrobeats, and some other surprises,” Bosompra shared.
“Now I try to lead by example and do projects and initiatives that people wouldn’t expect all while hiring and highlighting Black creatives.”