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12 Delicious Black-Owned DC Restaurants You Should Know

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12 Delicious Black-Owned DC Restaurants You Should Know


Washington, D.C. pays homage to Black culture across the city with memorials, museums, parks and, perhaps most delectably, its restaurants. As one of the most diverse cities in the U.S., D.C. has always been known for its wealth of cuisines represented at dining institutions across the city, and a number of its Black-owned institutions are among the most distinctive and flavorful in the nation’s capital. From fried chicken to chili, and from Caribbean to Ethiopian joints, Black-owned restaurants in the D.C. area certainly are not short on flavor. Below, we’ve rounded up just a few of the most delicious Black-owned restaurants you should know in the DMV. 

Arlington
In summer of 2020, James Beard-nominated Chef Rahman “Rock” Harper opened the doors to his fried chicken mecca, named after none other than his own mother, Carole Harper. This tribute to the matriarch of the family serves up delicious fried chicken on its own or in sandwich form, along with all the requisite sides. Recently, the restaurant expanded to a second location in Water Park.

1711 Crystal Dr, Arlington, VA 22202

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Shaw
A D.C. institution since 2013, DCity is serving smokehouse barbecue from a humble location in what was once a garage. Smoked wings, ribs and Mac & Jack Cheese are not to be missed, and the restaurant boasts a full bar to boot.

203 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001

U Street
Ben’s has become something of a mainstay in D.C. over the course of the last six decades, and its original location on U Street is a historic gem. Not only has the chili recipe stayed consistent, but so too have countertops, booths and stools in the first of the restaurant’s now multiple locations across the DMV. Don’t miss great deals during happy hour.

1213 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

Shaw
Halfsmoke is where dining meets party, whether you’re five or 55 years old. With plenty of board games, lounge-worthy futons and a menu that includes a bottomless happy hour and boozy milkshakes, you could spend hours at this restaurant. And by the way, brunch goes all day.

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651 Florida Ave NW #7, Washington, DC 20001 

All Set offers a modern take on seasonal dishes made with fresh, local ingredients.

All Set

Silver Spring
All Set, co-owned by Executive Chef Ed Reavis (who also co-owns Money Muscle BBQ and Fryer’s Roadside), offers a modern take on seasonal dishes made with fresh, local ingredients. The New England-inspired menu includes offerings like Maine Style Lobster rolls alongside Chesapeake classics like Maryland crab cakes — each equally delicious.

8630 Fenton Street, Plaza, 5, Silver Spring, MD 20910

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Downtown
Delighting diners since 1993, Georgia Brown’s brings together fine dining and Southern soul. With the occasional bout of live jazz, the restaurant seeks to take diners to Louisiana with biscuits, fried green tomatoes and fried chicken livers (and doesn’t disappoint).

950 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20005

Columbia Heights

One of the most consistently well-rated Ethiopian restaurants in a city full of Ethiopian restaurants is Letena, which certainly means something. The vegetable sampler is not to be missed, and the injera is perfectly fluffy and tart. The decor of the restaurant is also stunning, so be sure to sit in rather than order out. 

3100 14th St NW #121, Washington, DC 20010

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Dupont Circle
If you’re looking for a trendy African restaurant, look no further than Swahili Village, whose menu largely features Kenyan classics, but also brings together flavors from India, Iran, Portugal and the rest of the African continent. The Dupont Circle location is actually one of five Swahili Villages scattered throughout the northeast, making this a practical empire of its own. 

1990 M St NW, Washington, DC 20036

U Street

Theirs is frequently touted as one of D.C.’s best fried chicken sandwiches, and you’ll find a number of Roaming Rooster locations throughout the city, all serving up not only sandwiches, but wings, tenders, nuggets and more. Roaming Rooster has been a mainstay in D.C. since 2015, when the restaurant started off as a food truck that has since found plenty of brick and mortar locations.

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1301 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

The plush seating area of Jeanine Prime's St. James.

The plush seating area of Jeanine Prime’s St. James.

St. James

U Street
This modern Caribbean restaurant is a newer addition to the burgeoning restaurant empire from Trinidadian native Jeanine Prime (whose first restaurant, Cane, has been the recipient of much fanfare, including four consecutive Michelin’s Bib Gourmand awards). The restaurant brings together African, East Indian, Chinese, Portuguese and French flavors in an eclectic mix of both large and small plates designed to be enjoyed family style. Be sure to try the crab and Trini-style taro dumplings in a coconut curry sauce and the goat-centric paratha platter.

2017 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

Shaw

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Home to one of the very best burgers in D.C. (that somehow travels incredibly well), Melange is the brain child of Ethiopian-born, French trained, Michelin-starred Chef Elias Taddesse. All burgers are made using dry aged, 100% locally sourced beef, and served atop house-made milk bread buns for an almost out-of-body experience. 

1819 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

Wharf 

New Orleans-themed Milk & Honey is a must-visit for brunch, where decadent dishes like shrimp and grits and chicken and Biscoff waffles abound. The restaurant now has several locations across the DMV, but the Wharf outpost is one of our favorites for people-watching and for a stroll along the water after a large meal. 

676 Maine Ave SW ste 710, Washington, DC 20024

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Washington, D.C

Arizona students ponder political values during DC trip

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Arizona students ponder political values during DC trip


PHOENIX (AZFamily) — From the moment the students boarded their morning buses, they were challenged to think about political values like liberty, equality, and justice.

Thursday was the third day of an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC for 275 Arizona high school students.

At the Jefferson Memorial, they explored the complexities of a Founding Father who enslaved people.

Shirley Thoreson from Maryvale High School said it’s important to learn the nuances of key historical figures. “We need to acknowledge the truth so we can move forward and learn from the past.”

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Learning from the past is one of the major goals of the four-day trip.

The students arrived Tuesday on the Arizona Cardinals team plane. Team owner Michael Bidwill launched the annual civics trip three years ago, selecting students from Title I schools in a statewide essay contest.

For some students, it’s their first time on an airplane. Alexis Delgado marveled at the lush trees in the D.C. area. 

“It’s been like a dream, to be honest, because I’ve never experienced something so beautiful, coming from a dry place,” said the incoming PXU City High School senior.

All week, instructors with the Close Up Foundation have encouraged students to find their voice. Sixteen-year-old Janelle Harris found hers.

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“It was really scary, to be honest. I was really nervous,” she said.

On Wednesday, the 16-year-old walked straight up to U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly and asked him a tricky question about why he maintains support for Israel despite the suffering in Gaza.

“Seeing as he was an astronaut, I feel like it’s an astronaut’s duty to fight for the progression of humanity, not just Americans,” she said. 

She said this week’s lesson plan helped. “I definitely did use what we talked about in the deliberating process and just tried to get my point across as best I could in the small portion of time I had to talk to him.”

The senator was impressed. “It’s good to see that they’re interested in something,” Kelly said.

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Janelle knows she didn’t convince Sen. Kelly to change his views, but she found it powerful to express her political values.

“I thought it was a very interesting experience, and I’m very lucky to have had it,” she said.

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Analysis|Five winners and losers in D.C.’s 2025 budget

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Analysis|Five winners and losers in D.C.’s 2025 budget


After months of fierce debate, the D.C. Council passed its final version of its $21 billion budget Wednesday, further raising taxes to stave off the steepest cuts that Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) proposed.

Council tax hikes — including as on homes worth more than $2.5 million, on the universal paid leave tax that all employers must pay and by eliminating tax exemptions for out-of-state municipal bonds — made some of those investments possible, leaving some feeling that taxpayers were losing out in this year’s budget, while others celebrated the enhanced investments.

In a year of tough choices, here are some of the winners and losers in D.C.’s 2025 budget. Which initiatives or agencies got more investment? What got cut? Who got what they wanted (or didn’t)?

Have additions? Leave your list of budget wins and losses in the comments.

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Bowser and the council are going big on D.C.’s downtown. With empty office buildings and vacant retail storefronts at some of their worst levels in history, the council kept most of the Bowser administration’s nearly $800 million in investments toward reviving downtown. Split between the operating and capital budgets, the investments are intended to spur development, including tax incentives for developers to turn vacant office buildings into housing or something more interesting, and fill vacant retail space such as with a “pop-up retail” program that will allow vendors to temporarily fill vacant storefront spaces.

Not to be forgotten — and perhaps an honorary D.C. budget winner — is Capitals and Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, whose company is getting $520 million in public funds to revitalize Capital One Arena.

Coming off a historic spike in violent crime, Bowser and the council fully funded the D.C. police department’s requests for more officers and other needs this year, with a $572.9 million budget. The council’s public safety committee expects the department will be able to hire 276 additional officers through recruitment and the cadet program to bring the force to 3,370. The budget also includes $8.7 million to hire 40 new “community safety officers” who will take on tasks like administrative work, looking for missing people and low-risk security to free up sworn officers for more crime-fighting.

With all that love for downtown, lawmakers fought to spread a bit more of it to small businesses in other commercial corridors. Of note, a proposal from council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6) will double the Small Retailer Property Tax Credit from $5,000 to $10,000 — helping small businesses offset high real estate or other costs — while also expanding eligibility for the program.

The business committee also preserved $1.9 million enhanced funds for the Main Streets program, which supports businesses in buzzy retail centers across the District, while Allen also added grant funds specifically for LGBTQ+ businesses in Ward 6 Main Streets. And a bill by council member Brooke Pinto (D-Ward 2) — the BEST Act, which is funded in the budget — reduces licensing burdens and fees for businesses trying to get up and running with fewer headaches.

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The caveat: One of the most lucrative tax hikes the council passed is on the tax employers must pay into the paid family leave pot — impacting small and big businesses alike. The council hiked it to 0.75 percent from its current 0.26 percent. Any money that exceeds what’s needed to fund paid family leave goes into the general fund.

Council member Kenyan R. McDuffie (I-At Large) hit a trifecta in this year’s budget, advancing three major policy goals at once. Mendelson included McDuffie’s legislation to drastically reform the sports wagering landscape by opening up the market for competition, ending a monopoly held by the current contractor, Intralot, which has woefully underperformed lawmakers’ expectations. Building on that, the revenue from this new sports wagering system would go toward funding baby bonds, a program McDuffie spearheaded that creates trust funds for children born into low-income families. In addition, the council’s budget also includes funds to stand up a task force to study reparations, another major McDuffie priority.

McDuffie’s sports wagering bill survived an effort to separate it from the budget Wednesday — but some details may still be worked out during the council’s upcoming vote on laws associated with the budget.

5. New or prospective parents

A number of initiatives, big and small, cater to new parents with infants or small children — or those expecting or hoping to conceive. A newly established Child Tax Credit — an idea from council member Zachary Parker (D-Ward 5) — will offer up to $420 per child to households with a child under 6, depending on income. The council also enhanced the Earned Income Child Tax Credit. And the council funded council member Christina Henderson’s (I-At Large) bill to expand access to fertility treatment and established a new grant for to help expectant parents, or legal guardians, with child care needs when urgent medical appointments come up.

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With homelessness increasing, and with limited funds to address the insatiable demand for housing aid among lower-income residents, D.C.’s housing programs are underwater.

Amid a plan by housing officials to terminate more than 2,000 households from rapid rehousing, a time-limited program that provides a housing subsidy for people exiting homelessness the program, Bowser’s budget proposal slashed rapid rehousing assistance for individuals in half and by about 17 percent for families.

Lawmakers worked to fund more than 600 new housing vouchers — some of which would go to people exiting rapid rehousing — after lobbying from housing advocates. And though still a lot less than last year, council member Robert C. White Jr. (D-At large), the housing committee chairman, restored $6.9 million more in Emergency Rental Assistance Program funding, which Bowser had proposed cutting by more than half.

Still, White said he would “not sugarcoat it” Wednesday, noting that despite the council’s efforts, major gaps in housing aid remain.

2. Connecticut Avenue bike lanes

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It’s hard to imagine a more tortured government planning process. The Bowser administration announced plans to create a 2.7-mile bike lane on Connecticut Avenue Northwest in 2021, delighting cyclists while frustrating others who raised fears about fewer vehicle traffic lanes and parking spaces. After two years of divided views, the Bowser administration said last year it was hitting pause to rethink the bike lane design.

This spring, the Bowser administration said it would not move forward with the bike lanes and would advance a different vision — infuriating cycling and multimodal safe-streets advocates and pleasing other commuters worried about traffic and parking impacts. The decision was just in time for budget season. Allen, chairman of the transportation committee, tried to re-add a bike lane requirement through his committee’s budget proposal, but Mendelson did not move forward with it.

3. Lewis Ferebee and the D.C. Public Schools central office

For the second year in a row, a standoff erupted between Mendelson and D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Lewis D. Ferebee about how to fund the public school system. Bowser’s administration ignored a law known as the “schools first” funding formula, which directs that individual schools can’t get less funding than they did the year before. So in his own proposal, Mendelson redirected $25.4 million away from the DCPS central office back into individual schools.

Ferebee strongly objected. He and Bowser told Mendelson that the move would require cuts to programs including swimming lessons for third-graders and after-school meals and services like technology support, while blocking a pair of new initiatives — math training for teachers and the creation of an alternative school.

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Mendelson and the council did not budge, arguing individual schools should be the priority.

4. A comprehensive public safety plan

When the council passed the Secure D.C. crime bill in March, it came with an amendment from council member Trayon White Sr. (D-Ward 8) ordering the Bowser administration to create a comprehensive public safety plan. The only hitch: It had a $343,000 price tag, according to a fiscal impact statement, meaning lawmakers would have to set aside funds for it in the budget. But it’s not in the budget, making it a toothless provision.

Separately, White voiced concerns about cuts to the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement, which has been without permanent leadership for over a year and which runs the executive’s gun violence intervention program. Led by Pinto, lawmakers on the public safety committee said the agency needs to focus on enhancing its program by pursuing universal training for violence intervention workers and contractors and completing a merger with the attorney general’s similar Cure the Streets violence intervention program. Decrying a lack of coordination, lawmakers wrote in the report that “the dual programs currently in existence lead to a waste of taxpayer funds by duplicating what could and should be shared infrastructure.”

Pinto said she’d hoped that merger would be ready in time for this year’s budget, adding that the work is “certainly not over” in urging the executive to move toward a more “comprehensive strategy to prevent violence.”

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5. Scofflaws and dangerous drivers

Nearly $300,000 is included in the budget to hire civil attorneys at the attorney general’s office who will bring cases against dangerous drivers and begin implementing the STEER Act. Meanwhile, the budget also funds a program allowing the DMV to install a “speed governor” on cars to automatically lower the speed for people who are known reckless drivers.

Plus, with contributions from the public works committee headed by council member Brianne K. Nadeau (D-Ward 1), some Department of Public Works tow trucks will now get to have license plate readers to go after parking ticket scofflaws.

Michael Brice-Saddler contributed to this report.



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Five Documentaries to See at the DC/DOX Film Festival – Washingtonian

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Five Documentaries to See at the DC/DOX Film Festival – Washingtonian


Photograph courtesy of THE SIXTH and DC/DOX.

If you’re a fan of documentary films, this is a good weekend to be in Washington. The DC/DOX film festival returns to the District from Thursday through Sunday, featuring a number of internationally-recognized docs as well as stories with a local focus.

The festival, which started only last year, includes 53 features and 47 shorts with topics ranging from music and art to politics and local activism. Some popular titles—including the DC-based film Daughters, which took home two awards at Sundance this year—have already sold out, but standby lines will be available for last-minute tickets.

Here are five noteworthy films that you can still purchase advance tickets for:

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Photograph courtesy of SUPER/MAN: THE CHRISTOPHER REEVE STORY and DC/DOX.

Super/Man offers a candid look at the actor known for portraying the Man of Steel, both before and after the horse-riding accident that left him paralyzed. Featuring a combination of home videos and new interviews with Reeve’s family, this intimate portrait has received rave reviews since its 2024 premiere at Sundance. Thursday’s opening night screening at the National Museum of American History is only for all-access passholders, but single tickets are available for the encore show on Sunday. 

The opening night screening will be followed by a discussion with Alexandra Reeve Givens and producers Libby Geist and Connor Schell, moderated by CNN’s Audie Cornish.

Where: Landmark E Street Cinema (555 11th St., NW)

When: Sunday June 16, 4:30-6:15 PM

Cost: $15.90 (with tax)

Photograph courtesy of BLACK BOX DIARIES and DC/DOX.

In a personal portrait of the #MeToo era, Japanese journalist and director Shiori Ito documents her vie-year battle to bring the high-powered man who sexually assaulted her to justice while navigating a difficult criminal justice system. The first-person documentary has been called one of the most anticipated docs of the year by publications like The Guardian and Esquire.

There will be a post-screening discussion with editor Ema Ryan Yamazaki and producer Eric Nyari, moderated by Leslie Combemale from the Alliance of Women Film Journalists.

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Where: Landmark E Street Cinema (555 11th St., NW)

When: Friday, June 14, 5:15 – 7:15pm

Cost: $15.90 (with tax)

Photograph courtesy of THE SIXTH and DC/DOX.

In this 2024 film, local directors Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine look at the events of January 6, 2021 through the eyes of affected Washingtonians, including multiple police officers, a Hill staffer, and a photographer. Earlier this year, multiple articles pointed out the documentary’s very limited release schedule—now you have another chance to see it on the big screen right here in DC.

The screening will be followed by a discussion with the co-directors.

Where: US Navy Memorial, Burke Theater (701 Pennsylvania Ave., NW)

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When: Saturday June 15, 10:45-12:30pm

Cost: $15.90 (with tax)

Photograph courtesy of APOLLO 13: SURVIVAL and DC/DOX.

DC/DOX is presenting the North American premiere of this documentary, which offers a fresh look at the highly-publicized Apollo 13 rescue mission in 1970. With newly-acquired archival footage and interviews, the film brings modern audiences back into the high-stakes story that gripped the world. 

Following the film, astronaut Jim Lovell’s daughter Susan Lovell will be joined by Air and Space Museum curator Teasel Muir-Harmony for a Q&A.

Where: National Archives, William G. McGowan Theater (701 Constitution Ave., NW)

When: Saturday June 15, 2:00-3:45 pm

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Cost: Free (Reservation Required)

Photograph courtesy of THE REMARKABLE LIFE OF IBELIN and DC/DOX.

After a young Norwegian gamer named Matts Steen dies of Muscular Dystrophy, his parents discover that he had a complicated, fulfilling life in the online video game World of Warcraft—a life they never knew about. After its premiere at Sundance earlier this year, critics have praised the film for its emotional storytelling and unique blend of traditional documentary and animated video game reenactments. 

Where: Landmark E Street Cinema (555 11th St., NW)

When: Friday January 14, 8:00-9:45pm

Cost: $15 (before tax)

DC/DOX runs from Thursday, June 13th to Sunday, June 16th at multiple locations. Tickets to most individual films are $15 dollars, not including taxes and fees. All-Access passes are available for $195 before taxes.

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