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The restaurant is set to open in Spring 2024 at the Salamander D.C. hotel, in the Southwest waterfront neighborhood, and is a part of a major revitalization of that hotel.

Kwame Onwuachi discusses his latest venture: Dōgon

The Afro-Caribbean restaurant is slated to open in Washington, D.C., in the spring

Chef Kwame Onwuachi believes one key thing: “If a dish has a story, then it has a soul.” As an award-winning chef, author, producer, and restauranteur who recently played in the NBA All-Stars game and was named “the Most Important Chef in America” by the San Francisco Chronicle, Onwuachi seeks the soul in everything he does, whether it is serving as executive producer for Food & Wine, spearheading his annual “The Family Reunion” gathering, or developing exciting recipes for his restaurants. His restaurant Tatiana in New York was called “the future of fine dining” by Forbes magazine, was named the best restaurant in the city by The New York Times, and one of the best new restaurants of the year by Esquire. With many new projects on deck, including a television show that will soon go into production, we were delighted to check in with Onwuachi to discuss his upcoming launch of a new concept in Washington D.C., Dōgon.

The restaurant is set to open in Spring 2024 at the Salamander D.C. hotel, in the Southwest waterfront neighborhood, and is a part of a major revitalization of that hotel.

Can you share the vision for the new space and what you are excited to explore there?

This restaurant will encompass all that makes D.C. special through an Afro-Caribbean lens. Dōgon will serve a vibrant cuisine through an Afro-Caribbean sensibility and will draw from my unique Nigerian, Jamaican, Trinidadian, and [New Orleans] Creole background. I firmly believe that a restaurant should have a story, because when it has a story, it has a soul. Researching the history of Benjamin Banneker, the Dogon tribe, and the connections to our location was a humbling-yet-inspiring experience. Our menu will celebrate all the cultures within D.C.’s four quadrants. This is the story of D.C. experienced through Dōgon. 

This will mark your return to the D.C. dining scene after closing Kith/Kin, what makes that city the right place to launch this concept?

I am excited to return to D.C., and I appreciated the warm welcome when I announced the exciting news. What makes this the right place is simply Sheila Johnson, founder and CEO of Salamander Collection. We have built a special bond. We created The Family Reunion, which has quickly become the premier gathering of culinary professionals of color in the country and takes place at Johnson’s Five-Star Salamander Middleburg resort in Virginia. She is at the helm of the largest Black-owned luxury hotel company in the United States. I love that this joint collaboration venture is Black owned/Black-led. 

What would you most want diners to know about Dōgon before they come?

To understand and learn about the incredible history of surveyor Benjamin Banneker and his contributions to our Nation's Capital and his heritage from the West African Dogon tribe. He was a self-taught mathematician, astronomer, and inventor who made significant contributions to the development of Washington, D.C. Many do not know about him, and he needs his story to shine. I want diners to understand his impact, legacy and history in D.C. and be excited about our tribute to him through Dōgon’s culinary experience. 

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