Woodley Park neighborhood welcomes first Black-owned restaurant

Cheers filled the air in Northwest D.C. as two hard-working chefs with big dreams celebrated the grand opening of their restaurant — Flavorture — the first Black-owned restaurant in the Woodley Park neighborhood.

Family, friends and supporters, even city officials and business leaders, came out to watch Chefs Lew McAlister and Pinkey Reddick cut the ribbon on their new American cuisine restaurant, nestled on 24th Street in the shadow of the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

“Flavorture is upscale American cuisine. We got elevated soul food. We have vegan dishes. We are a twist on excellence, and we pride ourselves on great flavor and great culture vibes,” said Chef Mac, who began cooking at 8 years old at his home in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Both chefs are co-owners of Flavorture and have worked independently as Washington-based caterers.

Flavorture — the first Black-owned restaurant in the Woodley Park neighborhood opened up Saturday. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)

“We were two separate companies that merged together and made this huge collision which is now Flavorture. So he’s the flavor, I’m the culture — basically where flavor meets culture,” said Chef Pinke, who first learned to cook from her grandmother and mother in Southeast D.C.

Supporters crowded beneath tents outside the restaurant to celebrate the grand opening.

“Do we have energy going on this afternoon?” asked at-large councilmember Kenyan McDuffie to the cheers from the crowd.

“This is a great day not only for Pinke and Mac, this is a great day for Washington D.C. … I’m excited about that because we’ve got a Black-owned restaurant right here, smack-dab in Woodley Park, in the nation’s capital. It doesn’t happen every day,” McDuffie said.

The venture has the backing of the District government.

Co-owners of Flavorture listen to remarks from Salah Czapary Dir. Mayor’s Office of Nightlife and Culture.
(WTOP/Dick Uliano)

“It’s Black History Month and supporting our Black businesses is essential. Black businesses need our support and they need our likes,” said Kristi Whitfield, director of the Department of Small and Local Business Development.

Flavorture’s owner-chefs said the restaurant provides a homey atmosphere.

“When we designed this place — we designed it so when people come in, they felt like they were home,” said Chef Mac.

“The vibe is just relaxing, really. Upscale American soul food, so just a home vibe with a little style,” said Chef Pinke.

What about the food?

“One of the best sellers right now has been our beef short rib sliders. We’ve got amazing lobster and blue crab scampi pasta dish that’s done really, really well. Upcoming: we’re going to be introducing a pan-seared duck breast — that’s one of the things I’m very excited about. And we have a full-line vegan menu that we have coming up,” said Chef Mac.

Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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