If you’re looking for delicious Black-owned restaurants in Washington DC you should try, then you’ve come to the right place! As the United States capital, Washington DC is a melting pot. It’s full of a variety of different cultures that are leaving their mark on the city’s culinary scene. While you’re spending a few days in Washington DC, you’ll get to experience literally every culture from around the world in some way.
One of the best ways to learn about all of these different cultures is by having a meal at one of the many restaurants in DC. In fact, Washington DC has become a hot spot for Black-owned restaurants that are inspired by the unique culinary histories of Black people in the US. You’ll find some of the best soul food in DC, along with some amazing African food in DC too! The city also has some delicious Jamaican and other Caribbean Black-owned Washington DC restaurants to try too.
On this list, we’ve tried to include a wide variety of Black-owned restaurants in DC. Some of these restaurants have been open for decades and have become staple Black-owned restaurants in Washington DC. Others are brand new, but already making a name for themselves in the city. No matter what you’re looking for, we guarantee you’ll find a Black-owned DC restaurant that you’ll love. So, let’s take a look at some of the most delicious Black-owned restaurants in Washington DC that you must try!
12 Delicious Black-Owned Restaurants In Washington DC You Must Try
Ben’s Chili Bowl
One of the most iconic Black-owned restaurants in DC is Ben’s Chili Bowl. Ben’s Chili Bowl originally opened on August 22nd, 1958. That’s 63 years of delicious food being served in a historic Black neighborhood in the heart of Washington DC. Ben’s Chili Bowl has stayed open through the DC Riots in the 1960s, they donated food to Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington, and were awarded a prestigious Historic Landmark designation.
Through all the years, their menu has stayed the same. Which is one of the reasons everyone loves it. On their menu, you’ll find their world-renowned chili, hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, subs, and desserts. They’ve also added vegetarian options so that everyone can enjoy this historic Black-owned restaurant in DC! Ben’s Chili Bowl is open daily for lunch and dinner. Friday and Saturday they are open until 4 am, so you can get your late-night snacks after a night exploring Washington DC.
Dukem Ethiopian has become the most popular Ethiopian restaurant in Washington DC over the years. Part of that reputation is thanks to the delicious menu. But another reason for the restaurant’s popularity is its live Ethiopian music. In fact, their live entertainment became so popular, that Dukem Ethiopian recently expanded to include a bar. There, you’ll be able to enjoy both Ethiopian food and live Ethiopian music nightly. It’s quickly becoming one of the best Black bars in DC!
Their menu is full of classic Ethiopian dishes, like sambusa, awaze tibs, dukem kitfo, and more. There’s something for everyone at Dukem Ethiopian, thanks to its large variety of both meat and vegetarian dishes. If you want to sample a bit of everything, they also have combination samplers that you can try! End your meal with a cup of Ethiopian coffee and a dessert like their white chocolate cake, baklava, or napoleons.
You’ll find some of the best soul food in DC at NuVegan Cafe. NuVegan Cafe is a completely vegan restaurant that is known for its amazing soul food. It’s a casual restaurant that has become a staple for vegans and vegetarians to visit when they’re in the city. Everything is made fresh daily in their kitchen from high-quality ingredients. It’s served cafeteria-style, so you can try as many of the different dishes as you want.
On their cafeteria-style menu, you’ll find a wide variety of classic soul food dishes with a vegan twist. They have vegan fried fish, vegan lasagna, vegan barbecue roast with rice, and more. They also have one of the best Black-owned brunch in DC events on Sundays. On their brunch menu, they have french toast, waffles, vegan omelets, cinnamon apples, cheezy grits, and lots more. Their menu is so extensive and is also full of hot fresh veggies, baked goods like cornbread and cakes, and delicious mac n cheese. You don’t have to be vegan to see why NuVegan Cafe is one of the best Black-owned restaurants in DC!
You’ll find Puddin’ in Union Market, an area in Washington DC where there is a few different restaurants in one large warehouse-style building. It started out as a food truck in 2010, and over the years grew to include two food trucks and their location at Union Market. In fact, Puddin’ is so popular, that they’re opening a second carry-out location in Capitol Heights, Maryland, just outside of DC. Puddin’ specializes in classic southern comfort food.
If you want to try some of the best soul food in DC, then you’ll want to head to Puddin’. Their menu includes shrimp and grits, chicken n’ beef sausage gumbo, red beans n’ rice, and shrimp po boys. But Puddin’ is probably best known for their brown butter bourbon bread pudding. One bite of this amazing bread pudding, and you’ll want to keep coming back for more. It’s been described as a bite of heaven, and it deserves every bit of that praise. But so does everything on the menu at Puddin!
Since 1992, Bukom Cafe has been serving some of the best West African food in DC. You’ll find menu items that are an ode to Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria, and Liberia. All of the menu items are made using traditional West African techniques. However, Bukom Cafe adds its own twist to each menu item, which is one of the things that makes it so unique. Over the years, Bukom’s reputation for delicious West African food in DC has had them featured in Bon Appetit Magazine, the Washington Post, and BBC!
Start your meal with one of their appetizers, like Naija pepper soup, moin moin, beer meat, or suya. Their entrees include a variety of different things like soups, stews, fish, chicken, and rice. You can try their stewed beef, ecowas okra soup, or egusi. If you want fish or chicken, try the red snapper, chicken yassa, or mamma’s platter to sample a little bit of everything. They also have traditional West African desserts like their Bukom Rum Cake that you can enjoy at the end of your meal.
The Sweet Lobby
Have you ever wanted to visit a winner of the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars? Then you’ve got to go to The Sweet Lobby. The Sweet Lobby is an upscale boutique bakery in Washington DC’s Barracks Row neighborhood. Sweet Lobby’s owner is Dr. Winnette McIntosh Ambrose who is a self-taught pastry chef. Within months of opening The Sweet Lobby, Dr. Ambrose won Cupcake Wars, which helped put The Sweet Lobby on the map. Since then, the bakery has been featured in a number of publications and it’s earned a spot as one of the best Black-owned restaurants in DC.
The Sweet Lobby has a variety of different baked goods available for you to try. They have a staple set of flavors that you can always find, as well as seasonal offerings. You’ll obviously want to try their award-winning cupcakes. But they also have madeleines, macarons, eclairs, and shortbread. To pair with their amazing pastries, they also serve loose leaf tea and European-style hot chocolate. The Sweet Lobby is incredibly popular, so you may have to wait in line to purchase your selections. However, one bite and you’ll see it was worth the wait!
Georgia Brown’s opened in 1993 and has become an iconic Black-owned restaurant in Washington DC. They are known for serving fine southern cuisine. So this is where you’ll find some of the best soul food in DC, in a more upscale environment. They are open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner. Every Sunday, they are one of the most popular Black-owned brunch in DC options. On Wednesday nights, they also have live music!
They are a more upscale Black-owned Washington DC restaurant, so keep that in mind when you visit. While they don’t have a designated dress code, you probably don’t want to show up in your sweat pants. Georgia Brown’s also takes reservations if you want to make sure you won’t have to wait too long for a table. On their menu, you’ll find fried green tomatoes, smoked turkey collards, Ma Brown’s biscuits, buttermilk fried chicken, and more. They also have a large dessert menu where you’ll find soul food and southern classics like banana pudding, chocolate bourbon pecan pie, and peach cobbler.
Provost is a Black-owned Washington DC restaurant that specializes in American cuisine with soul food roots using organic ingredients. It’s a great restaurant in DC for vegans and vegetarians since they have a wide variety of plant-based options on their menu as well.
They are only open Friday through Sunday. On Friday, it’s for dinner only. Saturdays and Sundays, they serve brunch as well as dinner. Throughout the rest of the week, they are closed for private events. So, you can rent out Provost if you want the whole place to yourself!
Reservations aren’t required, but they are highly suggested. Provost is one of the most popular Black-owned Washington DC restaurants, so they get booked up pretty fast. Their menu is seasonal, so it does change every few months.
However, you can typically find dishes like seafood chowder, stuffed mushrooms, whole wild-caught red snapper, cajun chicken and shrimp pasta, and more. For dessert, try the fresh strawberry cheesecake, the ice cream cookie sandwich, or the bread pudding. If you visit for brunch, they have chicken and waffles, french toast, avocado toast, and eggs benedict, just to name a few. You’ll love this Black-owned brunch in DC spot!
Cane is a casual DC restaurant that is known for its Caribbean Street Food menu. They are Monday through Saturday for dinner. They offer both dine-in and take-out options. This is good because Cane isn’t a huge restaurant inside. You’ll find Cane on H Street, NE, in Washington DC. Along with their extensive Caribbean street food menu, they also have a large drinks menu, featuring some Caribbean classics.
On their menu, you’ll find jerk wings, veggie bowls, geera pork, cow heel soup, and coconut rice. For dessert, they have coconut cream flan and hops bread pudding. Most of the mixed drinks on Cane’s menu feature rum. That’s because it’s the staple alcohol in the Caribbean. They also have flights of rum, so that you can try a variety of different Caribbean rums. However, if you don’t like rum, don’t worry. They also have a selection of beer, wine, and house-made fresh juices.
Calabash Tea And Tonic
One of the most unique Black-owned restaurants in Washington DC is Calabash Tea and Tonic. Calabash Tea and Tonic is open Wednesday through Sunday from the late morning to early evening. They’ve been featured in a variety of different media outlets including Good Morning America, the Food Network, and The Washington Post. They specialize in vegan light eats, tea, and coffee.
Their food menu includes items like their vegan BLT, cobbler kiss, veggie patties, and omega bites. They also have unique coffee and tea blends available in the cafe. You can try tea blends like their Jamaican ginger sorrel, the triple goddess lemonade, or the love potion #10 chai. You can also purchase their coffee blends, tea blends, and other goods while you’re visiting the cafe.
Oohh & Aahh’s
Oohh & Aahh’s is a Black-owned restaurant in Washington DC that originally opened in 2003 on U Street. U Street is a Historic Black neighborhood, where you’ll find some amazing Black-owned restaurants in DC. Oohh & Aahh’s strives to preserve Black culture and does this by serving some of the best soul food in DC. In fact, it’s easily one of the best soul food restaurants in DC! Over the years, Oohh & Aahh’s has become a staple DC restaurant and has won awards for ‘Best Mac n Cheese’ as well as being featured on “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives”.
Their original U Street location is currently carry-out only. However, at their Georgia Avenue location, you can dine in. They also have a full bar at their Georgia Avenue location. They are open daily for lunch and dinner. On Saturdays and Sundays, they are also open for one of the best Black-owned brunches in DC.
Their menu includes dishes like catfish and grits, fried chicken, turkey chops, and meatloaf. They also have signature sides like their fresh collard greens, yams, yellow rice, and their signature mac n cheese. Oohh & Aahh’s is easily one of the best Black-owned Washington DC restaurants and you have to try it!
Milk And Honey Cafe
The best Black-owned brunch in DC can be found at Milk and Honey Cafe. Milk and Honey Cafe is a New Orleans-themed southern brunch restaurant in Washington DC. They are so popular that they have 6 locations throughout the DMV area, including one on H Street in Washington DC. Their menu is huge and includes several award-winning dishes.
If you don’t know what to get on the menu, Milk and Honey Cafe suggests Chef Sammy’s award-winning shrimp and grits or the sweet potato waffles with pecan caramel. Their menu also includes dishes like the rum chata french toast, deep-fried salmon hash, and chicken and waffles.
If you’re in the mood for a lunch dish, they also have fried fish sandwiches, a shrimp po boy, or the blackened salmon BLT. They even have salads! End your meal with one of their amazing desserts like the lemonade cake, 5-layer chocolate cake, or the deep-fried strawberry shortcake biscuits.
There are so many Black-owned restaurants in Washington DC that it’s hard to pick just one or two to try. If you have the time, we definitely suggest trying a few of these amazing restaurants. Whether you’re looking for African food in DC, some of the best Black bars in DC, or the best soul food in DC, there is a Black-owned Washington DC restaurant on this list that you’re sure to love!