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Kitchen Savages

The Best Places to Eat in Anacostia

Your guide to the best restaurants in this historic and artsy neighborhood.

Anacostia is full of DC cultural history. Popular attractions include Cedar Hill, the former home of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, which provides an in-depth look at the neighborhood’s past and the Anacostia Arts Center, which serves as a creative cultural hub. It's no wonder, then, that Anacostia's food scene reflects the richness and diversity of the community. 

DCity Smokehouse

DCity Smokehouse

Over the last decade, DCity Smokehouse has become a common fixture on "best of" barbecue lists in the DC area, with a curated list of sandwiches, sides, wings, half-smokes and platters. Its second location on Marion Barry Avenue offers the same counter service, mouthwatering sauces, casual seating and an easy-to-miss mini-chalkboard with specials.

Open Crumb Bread Pudding

Open Crumb

Open Crumb is another option that always packs the flavor, fusing West African and American favorites. The menu includes a range of simmered, stewed and double-fried delicacies such as roasted crab cakes and fried chicken sandwiches. Don't miss the Jollof rice and goat (or vegan) peanut soup, and be sure to top off your order with a sweet addition of bread pudding or fried plantain. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Open Crumb donated 300 meals each week to nonprofits. 

The eighth location of Busboys and Poets lives at 2004 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Anacostia. The restaurant-slash-bookstore doubles as a gathering place for local creatives, often featuring book and poetry readings, in-depth discussions, open mic nights and much more. Grab a bite and take in a cultural moment at what has become a DC institution.

Kitchen Savages

Pay a visit to Kitchen Savages, where the all-local staff serves up revered chicken wings, crab cake egg rolls and banana pudding cheesecake while also serving at-risk youth through the Trap Sundays program. This culinary training experience, which provides trainees with a safe setting to learn skills useful in the hospitality industry, is the mission at the heart of Darrel Gaston’s business. 

After strolling among the famous water lilies and lotuses at Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens, head to Turning Natural, a health food café offering fresh juices and smoothies, as well as vegan cupcakes and cookies, a salad bar, waffles and black bean burgers.

If you’re exploring Anacostia with a crowd, head to Mama’s Pizza Kitchen, which serves pizza and wings by the 10- or 20-count. After a day of exploring, there’s nothing like pizza and wings to satisfy the appetite, and Mama's is always cooking late – takeout is available until 12 a.m. on weekdays and 1 a.m. on weekends.