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Shaw Bijou Alum Kwame Onwuachi Celebrates Afro-Caribbean Cuisine at Kith and Kin

“I want to cook for my friends and family every night”

A family-style meal of berbere-spiced ribeye, red beans, rice, and foie gras-cornbread stuffing at Kith and Kin.
Photo by Rey Lopez
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

Top Chef alum and Shaw Bijou co-founder Kwame Onwuachi is coloring in the menu at Kith and Kin — the new restaurant he’s opening this fall inside the InterContinental Hotel at the Wharf complex — with culinary touchstones reflecting his diverse heritage and world travels.

Some of the dishes he’s already worked up for the waterfront destination include jollof rice with marinated tomatoes and whipped ricotta; peel-and-eat shrimp seasoned with beer and roasted garlic; curried goat with tamarind-spiked chickpea puree; and berbere-spiced ribeye accompanied by rice, red beans, and foie gras-cornbread stuffing.

African flavors will be found in this jollof rice bowl, adorned with confit of spring onions, Nigerian red sauce, marinated tomatoes, and whipped ricotta.
Photo by Rey Lopez

“I want Kith and Kin to open new doors for diners, to educate them, and to excite them,” Onwauchi said of his desire to expose others to dishes reflective of his Nigerian, Creole, and Caribbean roots.

Onwuachi spent a few early years living in Nigeria with his grandfather, and he also spent lots of time with family in New Orleans growing up. He recently enjoyed a few inspirational meals in Curaçao, the Caribbean island he calls a “melting pot” of South American accents.

“Travel has always influenced the way I cook,” Onwuachi told Eater this summer, adding, “Being exposed to different cultures is a way to learn as you’re meeting locals.”

The 96-seat, 3,500-square-foot space reserved along the southwest waterfront for Onwuachi is expected to feature a spacious dining room, dedicated bar, and outdoor patio offering prime views of the custom-tailored neighborhood. Per a release, artist Emily Eisenhart is expected to contribute a mural displaying quotes from other chefs and hospitality professionals Onwuachi admires within the industry.

Pricing is as follows at the hotel restaurant: $9 to $15 for small bites, $12 to $26 for entrees, $22 to $65 for family-style and sharable dishes and portions, and $13 to $17 for cocktails.

The large-scale commercial hotel project at 801 Wharf Street SW, opening in October alongside a slew of new bars, clubs, and restaurants, will be a huge pivot from his previous role manning the experimental Shaw Bijou’s small prix fixe menu.