By DaQuan Lawrence,
AFRO International Writer,
The greater Washington, D.C. region is known for an abundance of quality restaurants that offer customers a variety of food options and experiences. The following list includes some of the top Black restaurants in the DMV.
In addition to having a historically significant Black population that has contributed to the arts, culture, civil society, and business and political affairs, the African diaspora in the D.C. area is known for its broad variety of cuisine.
The AFRO spoke with some of the newer establishments, including restaurants, caterers and food trucks that serve some of the best vegan, African, Caribbean and soul food. Please make sure you check out the businesses below, and let the AFRO know what you think!
- Type of Cuisine: Soul food
- Location: 7097 Allentown Rd, Camp Springs, MD
Fourk’d is considered a labor of love by its founders, Dashawn Anderson, Eshe Frett, and Derrick Grimes. The trio initially met at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and collaborated for a catering company. Over the last decade, the business has grown to include a physical location that is centered on engagement with community members.
“Fourk’d Catering began as Impressions Catering in 2010. We rebranded as Fourk’d Catering in 2015 and opened our first brick and mortar location in March 2022,” Frett told the AFRO.
Since moving to their current location, Fourk’d has established great community engagement and seeks to build relationships with its customers and the community they serve. The new restaurant boasts a variety of soulfully inspired dishes that are bound to leave customers satisfied and seeking more. Fourk’d menu consists of foods that are derived from the founder’s cooking style, which can be described as “New Southern” or “Tradition with an Edge”.
In the future Fourk’d plans to open another carry-out style location or a sit-down restaurant in the DMV area.
“We live and work in the DMV and that’s where we want our business roots to remain. We pride ourselves on bringing quality food made with love and service that matches our local community,” Frett said.
- Type of Cuisine: Southern inspired soul food
- Location: 1839 7th St NW, Washington, D.C.
Known as the place in Ward 1 where food meets fashion, Stop Smack’N is a contemporary haven located a few blocks from Howard University, which brings a new ambiance to the District and serves exquisite Southern and Louisiana inspired cuisine. The venue offers various dining area – a dining room, a vault room with a DJ booth, and bar – for customers to choose their preferred experience.
Founded during the summer of 2021, owner DeAndre Green named the venue after a saying his mother usually told him during his youth, to avoid eating food or smacking loudly. The restaurant also doubles as a lounge which hosts events, and offers a diverse and unique menu, as well as hookah and bottle service.
- Type of Cuisine: Comfort food and soul food
- Location: 2005 14th St NW, Washington, D.C.
Founded by Washington native Ricardo Young, who was raised in Northwest D.C., Victory Restaurant and Lounge was born out of an idea to create a space where people could enjoy five star meals in a relaxing, welcoming environment.
Victory’s menu consists of several comfort and soul foods that leave customers wanting more. The restaurant also includes indoor and outdoor seating that includes large booths, which are ideal for sharing meals with friends and family.
A decorated businessman, Young created the concept in Miami, with the first Victory Restaurant & Lounge before bringing the restaurant to his hometown in 2021, and just opened the third location in Atlanta.
- Type of Cuisine: Soul food truck and caterer
- Location: ServingWoodbridge, VA
With an eclectic team of chefs with over 20 years’ experience in the food industry, Southern Taste is a food truck and catering company dedicated to bringing their spirit of Southern hospitality to events across the DMV area.
A woman and minority owned business, the company is dedicated to providing memorable experiences and serving comfort food classics.
Southern Taste’s menu includes a variety of cookout favorites with a sprinkle of soul foods and desserts. Over the years, the company has served thousands of satisfied customers via their unique combination of catering, custom menus, and both indoor and outdoor events.
- Type of Cuisine: Soul / Jamaican food truck
- Location: Serving D.C., Maryland and Virginia
This unique food truck and catering company serves a combination of soul foods and Jamaican foods that are known to leave customers wanting more. The food truck’s menu includes pork chops, fried chicken, baked and grilled salmon, as well as curry chicken. K&M was created in early 2023 by Keanna Gardner in honor of her mother, Margaret Gardner, the long-time owner of Margaret’s Catering who passed in Nov. 2022 from cancer.
For over 20 years, Margaret’s Catering and Food Truck served delicious soul food throughout the DMV, and K&M Food Truck continues this legacy of using only the freshest quality ingredients and recipes passed down over generations. Each dish is made using traditional preparation methods and imported spices and seasonings that provide authentic flavor.
From savory fried fish and oxtail to grits, collard greens, hush puppies and fried chicken, K&M Food Tuck and Catering offers an abundance of ways to for customers to satisfy their hunger.
- Type of Cuisine: Plant based gluten free, soy free vegan food
- Location: 6202 Rhode Island Ave Suite 105, Riverdale Park, MD
Flavorful meals find their home at Gangster Vegan with a colorful variety of fresh food featured on every dish. Customers can find anything from cold-pressed juices to burgers reimagined. Gangster Vegan was originally founded by Vincent “Vinny Vegan” DePaul in Norristown, Pennsylvania. But the husband and wife duo of James and Taneea Yarborough loved it so much that they decided to open a franchise in the DMV.
- Type of Cuisine: Vegan soul food
- Locations: Georgia Ave, Howard University, College Park, Baltimore, Richmond and Woodbridge, VA
Nu Vegan Café is DMV-based restaurant, community, and health movement with six locations. Founded by Vernon Woodland in 2009, who later started the food truck in 2013,
Nu Vegan is a “community” that establishes strong relationships with customers and the DMV community through its healthy menu and several health-related initiatives.
Their menu includes sandwiches, smoothies, vegan crab cakes and vegan mac & cheese, as well as an array of salads and other entrees. Nu Vegan also offers vegan eBooks, online recipe and cooking tutorials, professional experts such as nutritionists and chefs, and youth education initiatives that seek to empower young people to become changemakers and live healthy lifestyles.
- Type of Cuisine: Juice shop
- Locations: Anacostia, Capitol Heights, Shaw, Takoma, Eastern Market and District Heights
Turning Natural is dedicated to bringing better food options to historically underserved communities in the District. A Black woman- owned business, Turning Natural was founded by Jerri Evans, after the passing of her mother due to cancer.
Turning Naturals shops offer a variety of food options along with the drinks such as salads, soups, pastries, and other vegan and vegetarian options. The chain also celebrates Black culture and features drink names such as Green Latifah and Swizz Beat, “Mikale Jackson”, “J Coal”, and “Nipsey Blue.”
Originally from Southeast D.C., Evans quit her job at Lockheed Martin in Atlanta after receiving word of her mother’s transition because she was motivated to inspire others to live healthy in honor of her mother’s legacy. She launched Turning Natural out of her kitchen with a recently purchased juicer and $300.
Through its six locations in the DMV, Turning Natural is successfully feeding and empowering communities to lead healthy lifestyles.
KenZo Island Bites
- Type of Cuisine: Jamaican cuisine with an American flare
- Location: Serving Rockville, Md.
KenZo Island Bites offers the ultimate experiences to guests in the area. Their full fledged menu provides a cocktail, brunch and dinner experience that includes special handmade sauces and Jerk seasonings. Though KenZo was established in 2019, they have grown a large audience of fans throughout the three states of D.C., Maryland and Virginia. They only provide pick up, delivery or on site catering services but ship their sauces nationwide.
- Type of Cuisine: Soulful seafood with Caribbean, Asian and local flare
- Location: Ward 1, Shaw-Howard community
Located on Florida Ave. near the historic Howard Theatre and Go-Go haven on the corner of Florida Ave and 7th St., FishScale restaurant was a RAMMY finalist for the 2023 Hottest Sandwich Spot. The venue is a destination spot for casually prepared, wild-caught sustainable seafood. Founded by culinary artist and chef Henry Brandon Williams after being inspired by his mother’s pescatarian lifestyle, FishScale serves healthy foods without compromising taste.
“The entire FishScale menu is comprised of Chef-crafted signature dishes which are seasonally inspired,” Kristal Williams, Director of Operations for FishScale told The Afro. “The premise of FishScale’s 4.5-star ratings on EatOkra and Yelp prove our mission is accomplished deliciously,” she continued.
FishScale made its debut in 2014 as a vendor at the White House Farmer’s Market and was established as brick and mortar restaurant in 2017. The site is dedicated to healthy foods, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, continued to promote and serve healthy cuisine for community members and customers.
“We know eating fish has several health benefits FishScale offers pan-seared or fried preparation. Our commitment to using 100% avocado oil helps to not cancel out the cardiovascular benefits fish offers” said Williams.
- Type of Cuisine: African cuisine; West African food
- Location: 3809 Rhode Island Ave, Brentwood, MD
Spice Kitchen Grill is a unique restaurant and food truck combination that seeks to establish positive racial and cultural connections by celebrating the beauty in Black people through West African street food. Olumide Shokunbi is the founder of Spice Kitchen Grill who spoke with The Afro about the early days of the restaurant and the vision for the future.
“I started Spice Kitchen in 2020 because I wanted to utilize my experience in the fast-casual food industry and my Nigerian culture to create a concept that I didn’t see in the world at the time” said Shokunbi.
Before founding Spice Kitchen, Shokunbi ran a fast-casual restaurant for a national chain prior to graduating from college in 2020. Later, he started Spice Kitchen Grill to merge his personal and professional experiences.
With the goal of bringing a greater variety of African cuisine to the DMV, Shokunbi mentioned plans of expansion in the future.
“The main goal for Spice Kitchen Grill is to provide more access to African food, and to change the way people think about African foods” he said. “We want to surely grow into a nationwide brand” Shokunbi concluded.