Shaw Bijou alum Kwame Onwuachi officially enters the next chapter of his closely watched career Thursday, October 19, with the debut of new Afro-Caribbean restaurant, Kith and Kin.
The widely anticipated follow-up to his incredibly short-lived venture across town, all eyes or now on Kith and Kin because of the deeply personal influences the two-time restaurateur and Top Chef alum has woven in the DNA of the establishment — and because it’s the first of the high-profile restaurants touted to investors to actually open in the still-evolving Wharf. Neighboring eateries from local restaurateurs Mike Isabella, Fabio Trabocchi, Jamie Leeds, Cathal Armstrong and other hospitality leaders remain on hold for, in some cases, months.
Onwuachi’s place, tucked into the ground floor of the new Intercontinental hotel, features a dedicated bar, a private dining room, a “wine wall” displaying nearly 400 bottles, and a centerpiece mural that hangs on a back wall.
The eye-catching endeavor, which was arranged by artist Meg Biriam, is composed of quotes provided by famous chefs Onwuachi has worked with to date, as well as some thoughts shared by immediate family members. Contributors include French Laundry founder Thomas Keller, restaurateur Daniel Humm (Eleven Madison Park, Nomad), former Nomad chef James Kent, and Onwuachi’s mother, Jewel Robinson.
Customers can settle in at various places throughout the 96-seat restaurant.
A large banquette snakes through the main dining room.
There are 18 seats at the bar, a semi-private dining room off to one side, and four-tops sprinkled all about.
Then, of course, there is the key selling point: Unobstructed views of the completely renovated Southwest waterfront.
The restaurant is scheduled to operate for dinner only Thursday, October 19, through Saturday, October, 21. It is projected to begin serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner Sunday, October 22, with brunch expected to follow some in the future.
Status: Certified open. 801 Wharf Street; website.