Award-winning chef Kwame Onwuachi is paying tribute to an iconic figure at his new restaurant, owned by the nation’s first Black female billionaire tycoon, opening this spring in Washington, D.C., Blavity reported.
Onwuachi’s Caribbean Dogon restaurant is inspired by Benjamin Banneker, who played a key role in founding Washington DC in the 18th century, according to the Washington Post.
When Onwuachi decided to open a restaurant at the Salamander DC Hotel (owned by Shelia C. Johnson, America’s first black female billionaire), he wanted the restaurant to reflect the history of the area. Onwuachi learned about Banneker while researching the history of Washington, DC. Onwuachi noticed that Banneker was using the location of the stars to show the Washington DC area. The famous entrepreneur also researched the story of Banneker’s grandfather, who is believed to be a Dogon people from Mali and Burkina Faso.
Onwuachi is now preparing to open his restaurant, which will feature dishes from Nigerian, Jamaican, Louisiana Creole and Trinidadian traditions, honoring the history of Washington DC and the story of African history.
“My mantra is, if something has a story, it has a soul. What was there before?” Onwuachi said in an interview with The Washington Post.
The New Yorker formerly owned the Shaw Bijou restaurant in Northwest Washington. He also owns two popular cheesesteak restaurants, Philly Wing Fry. One of the locations is a Whole Foods grocery store. The other is the shop in Union Market. Both locations closed in 2019.
Onwuachi returned to New York during the pandemic and opened Tatiana, another profitable Afro-Caribbean fusion restaurant. Now he’s back in Washington DC and has given another gift to the land.
“The D.C. community [has] always been so great to me, and being a part of that community is one of the highlights I’m looking forward to,” Onwuachi told The Post.
Dogon will present astronomy-themed decorations in honor of the famous mathematician and astronomer Banneker. Onwuachi did not release further details about the menu. But he said it will be inspired by the culture and history of D.C.