May 17, 2023 - Food and Drink

Celeb chef Kwame Onwuachi is making a D.C. comeback

Chef Kwame Onwuachi. Photo: Storm Santos

Chef Kwame Onwuachi. Photo: Storm Santos

Celebrity chef Kwame Onwuachi is returning to D.C. this fall with a fresh restaurant concept inside the SW Waterfront’s new Salamander Hotel, as first reported by Eater DC.

Why it matters: Onwuachi is among the culinary world’s brightest stars, with a growing shelf of bestsellers (“Notes from a Young Black Chef," “My America”), cooking awards, and a newly crowned No. 1 NYC restaurant, Tatiana.

Onwuachi’s D.C. spot will mark an anticipated return for the one-time Shaw Bijou chef, who departed the popular Afro-Caribbean restaurant Kith/Kin at The Wharf in July 2020.

How it started: Onwuachi bonded with Salamander founder Sheila Johnson as they created The Family Reunion, an annual celebration of Black and brown hospitality professionals at Johnson’s Middleburg, Virginia, resort.

Early details: A restaurant name and concept are TBA, but the space will be designed by New York-based Bentel & Bentel — the group behind swanky dining rooms including Manhattan’s Eleven Madison Park.

  • The restaurant is part of a larger revamp of the 373-room property by The Wharf, formerly a Mandarin Oriental.

What he’s saying: “The time is right to return to D.C.,” says Onwuachi, who spent time here as a kid with his grandfather, a Howard professor. “I fell in love and can’t wait to return.”

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