Photo: Joshua Goodrich

New Kitchens On The Block: A Taste of DC Culture and Community

Everyone gathered under a tent as it rained outside on October 20. We were all waiting for part six of New Kitchens On The Block (NKOTB) to begin. If you are not familiar with NKOTB, it is an event where people can try food from new restaurants. The only twist is: These restaurants have not opened yet.

Nevin Martell and Al Goldberg host the scrumptious event in Mess Hall DC. Here, their goal is to help chefs promote their restaurants at one location and so local foodies don’t have to travel across DC for a taste of new cuisine. At this year’s edition of NKOTB, guests got to sample food from Maialino Mare, Hi/Fi Taco, Cranes, Tabla, Soko, Pearl’s Bagels, Bubbie’s Plant Burgers & Fizz, La Famosa, Emmy Squared and &pizza.

While the food was the main attraction, this was a time for the DC community to shine. People engaged in conversations as they mingled, drank and, of course, ate. Not to mention, the background included a bevy of popular music.

This event gave everyone the chance to taste DC culture, literally. La Famosa’s Chef Joancarlo Parkhurst shared his Puerto Rican food. His restaurant has family roots and gives Puerto Rican representation in the DC food scene.

Bubbie’s Plant Burgers & Fizz showed how veggies are capable of satisfying people’s burger cravings. This take on burgers reflects what we are seeing with restaurants offering new vegetable alternatives. These two different restaurants are just an example of how the featured chefs captured a mix of DC’s traditional and modern culture.

Food brings us all together. Attendees Moo and Josh liked listening to the playlist and watching chefs prepare their food. Sharmeen and Pinar described NKOTB as an awesome weekend activity, before excusing themselves because they were excited and wanted to continue to “stuff their faces.”

Mwame, Nana, and Nina were repeaters who returned because they enjoyed the top-notch food and meeting the people behind their meals. After attending their first NKOTB event, they even visited one of the newly opened restaurants featured. They applauded the diversity at the event but wished for an African restaurant to get featured.

At the end of the successful lunch session, Al Goldberg said, “the DC food scene is alive more than ever. [NKOTB] shows new chefs reinventing cuisine.”

The event was a delight, and many attendees expressed that they would go to these restaurants when they opened. People who attended NKOTB got a taste of good food, DC culture and the community. It was a genuine experience that will make everyone appreciate what the DC food scene has to offer.

For more information about Mess Hall DC’s s events, visit here.

Mess Hall DC: 703 Edgewood St. NE, DC;