Though Chocolate City has become a little more vanilla over the years, it’s still a mecca (word to Howard University) for Black culture.
Black businesses in fact, make up the heart and soul of Washington DC LendingTree, the online lending marketplace, released a report earlier this year that found that the DC metro area ranked second on the list of places with the highest rate of Black-owned businesses . Overall, about 7.7% of businesses in the region have Black owners, which shakes out to be 8,649 out of 111,872 total businesses.
While staples such as Ben’s Chili Bowl and Ooh’s & Aah’s will always have our hearts, some newcomers are definitely making their mark as well. From bookstores to bars, here are some of our favorite loud and proud Black-owned DC businesses.
An upscale CBD, hemp and i71 compliant gifting shop, Monko is slated to open next month in the Mount Vernon Triangle neighborhood (444 K St. NW). A lifestyle brand as much as a retail undertaking, Monko will appeal to the modern wellness-seeking consumer while also promoting community advocacy and offering programming that speaks to local cannabis culture. The luxe new storefront will be DC’s destination for premium products such as W!NK and Apothecanna, with a highly curated line of accessories and apparel, all in a lounge-like environment.
CitySwing’s brick & mortar location serves as a non intimidating, fun, and educational space designed for a wide range of golfers – from those addicted to the game, to those that have never imagined picking up a club. Here is where you can practice, play, compete in a league, or simply get introduced to the game.
Chef Peter Prime has shown he’s ready for primetime at Cane, which he founded along with his sister, Jeanine. Chef Peter has transported the cuisine of Trinidad to Washington, DC after honing his skills at Spark at Old Engine 12 and at the French Culinary Institute, where he worked with well-known chefs like Todd Gray and Michel Richard.
Chances are, if you’ve been to a great party, pop-up or cultural event in DC, it was at Sandlot Southeast. The venue is 5,000 square feet of dining and entertainment space, including both indoor and outdoor seating, at the Maren DC building at the foot of the Frederick Douglas Bridge. So if you come to DC and want to know where the vibe is, you should probably stop by here (or at least scan through their IG page).
MahoganyBooks is an award-winning independent bookstore specializing in books written for, by, or about people of the African Diaspora. Started in 2007 by husband and wife, Derrick and Ramunda Young, MahoganyBooks has grown from being exclusively an online bookstore to opening the doors of their first physical location in the historic Washington, DC neighborhood of Anacostia. The store has garnered national recognition for its emphasis that books by Black authors matter.
Mr. Braxton Bar & Kitchen
Mr. Braxton Bar & Kitchen is a traditional American bistro with an international flair – meats, seafood, salads, and pasta done with the Mr. Braxton twist! The restaurant and bar comes from couple Shannon Cunningham and Booker Parchment, and the wide-ranging menu ranges from coconut shrimp salad to three different flavors of steamed mussels to rack of lamb with rosemary sauce.
The GuestHouse DC
As the curator behind The GuestHouse DC, Larry Braithwaite is an unlikely accountant who created a place to build community in the nation’s capital — where people of color (and all races alike) can come as they are and share space with folks like themselves. The GuestHouse is a place for those in need of a venue for networking and socializing.