There are plenty of grocery stores and fresh food options all over D.C., but east of the Anacostia River, there are only a handful.
Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office launched the Food Access Fund in 2021 to close the fresh food gap.
On Monday, to kick off DMV Black Restaurant Week, Bowser’s office announced an additional round of $5 million in funding.
“What I know about working in neighborhoods across all eight wards is that people want the same thing. They want safety, they want great parks and transportation. They want access to great retailers, fresh food and places where they can sit down and have a meal and propose a toast with their neighbors,” Bowser said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Miss Toya’s Southern Cajun Kitchen, a new Black-owned restaurant opening in the Penn Branch neighborhood in Ward 7.
Miss Toya’s was a recipient of a previous round of Food Access Fund money.
Chef Jeffeary Miskiri, founder and owner of Miskiri Hospitality Group, which includes several other Miss Toya’s restaurants, said his family has deep roots in Ward 7 — his wife grew up in the area.
“Restaurants take time to grow and mature, but we’re going to put the effort in,” Miskiri said. “I’m going to be here every day to make sure that I give the people what they want: good food, good service and a reflection of what we have to offer.”
To date, the mayor’s office said it has invested over $24 million into the Food Access Fund.
The grantees in the latest round of funding include Capital Square Bar and Grill opening in the Skyland Town Center in Southeast and Tasting Lab D.C., a food incubator and shared commercial kitchen opening near the Anacostia Metro Station in Ward 8.
DMV Black Restaurant Week started in 2018. This year, it runs from Dec. 3 to Dec. 10.