DC’s MLK Jr. Memorial Library cafe to get José Andrés menu, hospitality job training

The grand reading area features a two-story ceiling dominated by a mural with mobiles in the newly renovated MLK Jr. Memorial Library on G Street in Washington, D.C., on July 14. (Photo by Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The D.C. Public Library has chosen D.C. Central Kitchen to operate the cafe at the newly reopened Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, and José Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup will consult on the cafe’s operation and menu.

There will also be hospitality-sector apprenticeships for D.C. residents.

The library, at 901 G St. Northwest, reopened in September after a three-year, $211 million complete renovation.

The building’s renovation added a 4,300-square-foot ground-level cafe connected to a new outdoor garden, and a new fifth floor that includes a 14,900-square-foot rooftop, event space and catering kitchen

Occasions Caterers will manage catering services in the rental spaces.

The new cafe, named “Marianne’s by D.C. Central Kitchen,” after Marianne Ali who led D.C. Central Kitchen’s joint-training program and who passed away in 2017, will be managed by D.C. Central Kitchen, which has tapped Andrés to consult on the cafe’s operation and menu development.

The cafe will provide on-the-job training to youth and adults, and will house the first hospitality-sector apprenticeship program in the District. ThinkFoodGroup and Occasions Caterers will work with D.C. Central Kitchen to offer jobs and internships.

“This cafe and catering partnership with D.C. Public Library will help transform how American cities imagine the role and combined power of libraries and nonprofits,” said D.C. Central Kitchen CEO Mike Curtin Jr.

“We are honored to help carry forward the legacy of Dr. King while honoring the memory of our beloved colleague Marianne Ali, who embodied the values of D.C. Central kitchen by affirming the worth, dignity and potential of everyone she met and educated.”

D.C. Public Library held a virtual ribbon cutting for the new library on Sept. 24. It expects the library to see 1 million visitors a year.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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