DMV Black Restaurant Week, which runs until November 14, recognizes and celebrates Black restaurateurs contributions to the District’s blossoming culinary scene. Participating restaurants benefit from an increase in community awareness of their businesses, and the community benefits from sampling and enjoying a range of delectable dishes each place has to offer. From catfish po’boys to earl grey lattes, taste the best of D.C.’s food scene and support your local Black-owned businesses all in one go.
Creole on 14th
This spot is where “elegance and Southern charm meets DC,” with New Orleans style Bayou Rolls and Fried Green Tomatoes, Catfish, Jambalaya, and local oysters. The swankiest on our list, Creole on 14th has bottle service options ranging from $25-$800 and a slew of signature cocktails as well as nonalcoholic house drinks. While their brunch is impressive, their events and after-dark service are just as heavy hitting. “Creole After Dark” features food, drink, hookah, and live DJ’s, all with Creole flair. Creole on 14th: 3345 14th St. NW, DC; creoleon14thdc.com // @creoleon14th
Jerk At Nite
With locations in DC and Baltimore, Jerk At Nite pulls out all the stops. They serve traditional Jamaican recipes with a modern twist, and their instagram is full to the brim of shots of gooey mac, dripping meats, rum cakes and sauce smothered roast veggies. Denville Myrie, Jr. first started selling jerk chicken out of his dorm room at Howard University and has since returned to the campus with a signature food truck. They’re solidly rooted in their community, and have been feeding protesters at Howard’s ongoing student-led occupation. Jerk At Nite: 2149 Queens Chapel Rd. NE, DC; jerkatnite.com // @jerkatnite
Lai’s Rum Cakes
With Southern charm you can taste, Lai’s Rum Cakes features traditional flavors like Rum, Spice, and Pina Colada, alongside more imaginative takes on the classic (like Strawberry Lemonade or Cookies and Cream). Lai, a full time professor and speech pathologist, began baking her infamous rum cakes for friends and family before transitioning her hobby into a business venture. Her cakes are made to order and can be made alcohol-free for those seeking traditional flavors without the boozy kick. Online only. Laisrumcakes.com // @laisrumcakes
Little Food Studio
Operating out of a space smaller than most studio apartments in the city, Little Food Studio lives up to its name. The restaurant is Chef Danielle Harris’s first brick and mortar location, and blew up on TikTok when it opened on Upshur St. in Petworth early this Spring. They serve a surprisingly lengthy menu for their size, with breakfast goodies like scones, egg bakes, and seasonal cookies as well as sandwiches past 11am. The menu specifically clarifies that all items are available until sold out — which they do, and often. Little Food Studio: 849 Upshur Street NW, DC; littlefoodstudio.com // @littlefoodstudio
Motown Square Pizza
When Detroit-born Paulos Belay moved to the DMV, he brought his hometown’s pizza with him. After two years of perfecting his method he opened Motown Square Pizza in Edgewood’s Mess Hall serving cheesy, crispy, sauce-loaded, slices– square ones, that is. The pared down menu doesn’t pretend to be fussy. Each of Belay’s 7 styles of pizza starts with Wisconsin brick cheese and parmesan, and come in two different sizes (four and eight squares). The Motor City is Belay’s love letter to Detroit, heaped with ricotta, sausage, crushed tomatoes, hot honey and fresh parsley. For those who like to stick to the classics, try the OG or Pepperoni pizzas. Motown Square Pizza: Mess Hall, 703 Edgewood St. NE, DC; motownsquaredc.com // @motownsquaredc
Bonus: District Fray’s Favorite Black Owned Eateries in the City.
While they might not be participating in DMVBRW, these restaurants deserve all the love that comes their way and more. Ghanian classics join force with Asian/Southern fusion food, boozy milkshakes, and French pastry.
For West African Food, Bukom Cafe can’t be beat. The restaurant has been an Adams Morgan staple ever since they opened in the early 90’s, serving up flavors from Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, and Liberia as well as live music. The menu features regional specialties such as whole Red Snapper as well as chocolate truffle cake, and entrees come with a choice of rice, fufu, pounded yam, eba, banku, or kenkey. You won’t find drinks like theirs anywhere else in the city. Go for the African Mule, a blend of whiskey, fresh lime juice, and ginger beer. Bukom Cafe: 2442 18th St. NW, DC; bukomcafe.com // @bukomcafe
Calabash Tea and Tonic
Calabash wants you to decolonize your tongue. Founder Sunyatta Amen is a 5th generation master herbalist and ethnobotanist dedicated to fostering inclusive wellness spaces in gentrified communities, as much of DC has become over the past several decades. They have it all, from unique tea blends like the “Teayoncé” to superfood seasonings, coffees, aromatherapy items and hoodies. Calabash Tea and Tonic: 2701 12th St. NE, DC; calabashtea.com // @calabashtea
Florida style seafood, Maryland caught crabs, and late night eats come together at Crab Boss. Tucked away next to Ben’s Chili Bowl, Crab Boss serves up Poboys, platters, and canned cocktails alike. It’s a grab and go favorite, though featuring some outdoor rooftop seating. They offer a unique “Boss Hour,” running from 3-7pm Wednesday through Friday and featuring heavily discounted menu favorites. The drinks and food alike are reminiscent of island life, pairing blue curacao cocktails with snow crab legs. Crab Boss: 1001 H St. NE, DC; crabboss.com // @crabboss00
For those looking outside of the city, PG County’s Gangster Vegan is a plant-based wonderland. Their menu consists of bowls, juices, burgers and cheesecakes, all 100% raw, soy-free, gluten-free and vegan. You can supplement from their dine-in or takeout menu with their packages of pre-prepared juice cleanses, ranging from novice to advanced, or to just enjoy alongside meaty roasted beets, sunflower seed cheese, homemade bbq sauces. Gangster Vegan: 6202 Rhode Island Ave., Riverdale Park, MD; gangstervegan.com // @gangstervegandmv
Retro, inventive and versatile, Halfsmoke on Florida Ave in Shaw serves all-day brunch and an impressive array of milkshakes, as well as a full bar. Their chipotle-style sausages can be ordered with endless combos of toppings (up to 50,000 – no, we’re not kidding). All brunch entrees come with bottomless mimosas and for $35 you get full access to their bottomless HH. Boozy milkshakes and homemade biscuit sandwiches are served daily. Halfsmoke: 651 Florida Ave. NW, DC; halfsmoke.com // @halfsmokedc
Even with their first anniversary approaching, Kitsuen remains one of DC’s most vied for spots. The Asian/American fusion restaurant has a powerhouse team behind it, including rapper Pusha T, and serves up unique dishes like their Karaage Biscuit — a Japanese style fried chicken on homestyle Southern biscuits and presented slider style (pickles and all). Ramen bowls, Cajun fried shrimp, and an impressive array of sake are all options to choose from, alongside a wide array of Hookah flavors. Kitsuen Bar: 1362 H St. NE, DC; kitsuen.com // @kitsuenbar
Locally sourced and handmade, Macaron Delights opened in the summer of 2020 as a family affair. They operate out of Edgewood and serve up pastries that would be better suited to one of Paris’s arrondissements than DC’s wards. Basil mousse petit gâteau, cherry tarts, and seasonal macaron flavors aren’t even the best they have to offer — custom desserts and cakes are made to order. Macaron Delights: Mess Hall, 703 Edgewood St. NE, DC; macarondelights.com // @macaron.delights
Serving up Southern Comfort, Puddin’ got its start at DC’s iconic Eastern Market before expanding to a station in Union Market and several food trucks in the area. Owner Toyin Alli serves local and sustainable seafood, like fresh caught Chesapeake Catfish and Rappahannock Oysters as well as her famous Brown Butter Bourbon Bread Puddin.’ Puddin’: Union Market, 1309 5th St. NE, DC; dcpuddin.co // @dcpuddin