The National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Sweet Home Café has a menu that’s curated with as much care as the exhibits. Dishes that we immediately recognize as soul food, like fried chicken or hoppin’ john, are being served alongside lesser-known dishes like son-of-a-gun stew and oyster pan roast.
The café is managed by Restaurant Associates and Thompson Hospitality, the largest minority-owned foodservice company in the country. More than two years of culinary development with leaders in African American history and cooking, including Jessica Harris, Leah Chase and BJ Dennis, led up to the first day of operation, Sept. 24. Celebrity chef Carla Hall is serving as culinary ambassador, helping to publicize the new museum’s food program.
Chef Jerome Grant, previously executive chef at the award-winning Mitsitam Native Foods Café at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, is leading the kitchen. On opening day, about 4,000 people were served, including President Obama and former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Here’s a peek at the new menu items.