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These D.C. Restaurants Are Supporting Black Communities and Protesters

How local establishments are lending a hand to the swelling social justice movement

Signs near the White House display messages left by protesters
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

More than 10,000 demonstrators filled D.C. streets Saturday, continuing protests that began in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis and grew after federal park police deployed tear gas on a crowd to clear the way for President Donald Trump’s photo op at St. John’s Church. While people gathered along the 16th Street NW strip leading to the White House — the site of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s newly christened Black Lives Matter Plaza — local restaurants did their part to supply marchers with water, food, and supplies.

A handful of restaurants and bars doubled as “safe zones,” including Compass Rose, Maydan, and Dacha, with others acting as a supply points for protesters. Capitol Lounge and Beuchert’s Saloon offered up bathrooms, in addition to providing first aid supplies, outlets, water, and snacks. The team from H Street ramen bar Kitsuen headed downtown Saturday to hand out masks to protect protesters. Thamee gave out sandwiches, and Ben’s Chili Bowl packed half-smokes into takeout boxes.

Sunday marked the 10th straight day of protests in the city. The restaurants and bars on this list have committed to working with organizers going forward or otherwise donating proceeds to support social justice organizations:

At the protests

Roy Boys: Beverage director Frank Mills tells Washington City Paper the fried chicken-focused bar raised $12,000 in four days to support protesters, which went towards food, supplies, and transit. The rest was donated.

Union Pub: The Capitol Hill pub worked with parishioners of St. Joseph’s Capitol Hill to provide water and snacks from its parking lot ahead of Freedom Fighters DC’s 2 p.m. protest on Saturday. The restaurant group (McClellan’s Retreat, Barrel, Eastern) plans to keep working with The Freedom Fighters DC on various effort going forward.

Red Bear Brewing: The NoMa brewery served as a mega drop-off zone for donations (sunscreen, gas masks, snacks) for Freedom Fighters DC protesters mobilizing over the weekend.

Chaplin’s: Along with handing out water bottles to peaceful protesters on Saturday afternoon, the Shaw ramen bar and sister sushi bar Zeppelin donated a portion of the day’s sales to Color of Change.

Beuchert’s Saloon: The Capitol Hill saloon donated its bathrooms, outlets, snacks, sandwiches, sanitizer, masks, cold water, ice and water to fill bottles, gloves, and masks on Saturday.

Republic Restoratives: The Ivy City distiller accepts $5 donations to get bottles of its hand sanitizer into marchers’ hands.

Ice Cream Jubilee: The homegrown scoops chain invites kids to draw, paint, and color signs that encourage an inclusive society. Artwork can be left at any Ice Cream Jubilee location and color digital copies can be emailed to Coloring sheets are available here.

Over the weekend

El Techo: The tropical Shaw perch reopened its rooftop over the weekend with limited seating. All DJs donated their fee to the DC Coalition of Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Men and Women. El Techo matched the fee donations.

Estadio: The tapas go-to ran a days-long community kitchen serving free meals to protesters and anyone else who needs them through Sunday. The restaurant retained $1,000 of the donations each day to help offset costs and divided excess proceeds evenly to Campaign Zero, Innocence Project, Black Vision Collective, and Black Lives Matter DC.

Donating sales

Arepa Zone: The Venezuelan eatery will donate 10 percent of its home delivery sales for the rest of June to a group supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. Use the code DONATEBLM at checkout.

ANXO Cider: In honor of Pride Month, the D.C. cidery is partnering with Casa Ruby, D.C.’s only organization founded and led by trans women of color. A dollar from each four-pack of ANXO’s Cidre Blanc Pride Edition will go towards the group.

Shouk: The falafel bar donated a percentage of this week’s proceeds to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

BBQ Bus: The neighborhood destination for barbecue platters and spicy sides will contribute 5 percent of June sales to DMV Black Restaurant Week.

Reverie: Chef Johnny Spero’s Georgetown eatery temporarily closed last week to stand with protest efforts. This week, a portion of sales will be donated to NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

South Block: For the entire month of June, the local juice chain will donate all proceeds from smoothie bowl kit sales to various groups supporting the BLM movement.

Rose Ave Bakery: The new downtown pastry shop inside Asian food hall the Block will donate 25 percent of sales from specials this week to Black Lives Matter DC. Bakery owner Rose Nguyen will also participate in Bakers Against Racism, a national June bake sale to support racial justice.

The Little Beet: The chain announced an anti-racism action plan that includes donating 10 percent of sales every Martin Luther King Jr. Day to an organization that benefits black lives.

Serenata: The Afro/Latin-owned bar in the La Cosecha market is hosting a series of pop-ups in June to benefit black organizations. On Saturday, June 12, and Sunday, June 13, chefs Tatiana Mora and Miguel Guerra will run their Mita pop-up with a four-course menu of vegan Latin dishes ($35). A percentage of proceeds will be donated to the local chapter of BLM.

Mita’s watermelon crudo.

Punjab Grill: After a temporarily closing to make way for protests, the Indian restaurant reopened for pickup and delivery Monday with plans to donate half of the day’s proceeds to Campaign Zero.