DC’s newest Black-owned restaurant honors Afrofuturism and African cuisine

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  • Published on April 21, 2023
  • Last Updated June 8, 2023

H Street now has a new restaurant concept called Bronze, which uses gastronomy and Afrofuturism to break down barriers associated with being Black.

Discover the mouth-watering flavors of the newest Black-owned restaurant in Washington, D.C., motivated by Uber rides and travel. On H Street NE, Bronze has replaced Smith Commons.

The 150-seat restaurant has three levels and offers imaginative international cuisine with African influences. Hughley’s own science fiction tale of African-born Alonzo Bronze, who travels the world in search of, trading, and bringing the best aspects of other cultures to his people, serves as the foundation of this large-scale endeavor.

Interior of Bronze
Interior of Bronze Derek and Victoria Miller

Keem Hughley’s creativity truly thrived during the pandemic, leading to the birth of his restaurant. People can expect to Indulge in a unique dining experience that seamlessly blends the magic of Afrofuturism with the rich cultural heritage of the African Diaspora. This eatery is an ideal spot for those seeking an unforgettable culinary vibe that will tantalize the palate and transport you across the world.

Bronze owner, Keem Hughley.
Bronze owner, Keem Hughley. Alex Clirror

When you enter, you will forget that you are in the nation’s capital, notesTravel Noire. Instead, you are taking part in an exploration and journey that honors the 700-year-old legend of Alonzo Bronze.

Interior of Bronze.
Interior of Bronze. Derek and Victoria Miller

To learn from and share with other cultures, Bronze was rumored to have traveled extensively. At some point, the Bronze people and their mythical cranes made their way to a prosperous island in the modern-day Caribbean.

Every level of the Bronze building tells a new story. The restaurant’s first floor, appropriately named “Pre-Earth,” is dimly lit and cozy. As they make their way to the second floor, customers are greeted by an oasis of natural light and greenery.

If you’re just in the mood for some good vibes and drinks, head up to the cocktail bar on the third floor, also known as the Crane Room, where you’ll find a large, rounded cutout overlooking the Earth below, as well as wallpaper covered in cranes.

Interior of Bronze.
Interior of Bronze. Derek and Victoria Miller

Artwork, lighting, and interior design by Jimmie Drummond and his team bring the stories of the African diaspora to life in the restaurant. Drummond Projects was established by Drummond, who is also its lead architect.

Interior of Bronze.
Interior of Bronze. Derek and Victoria Miller

Bronze’s Afrofuturistic menu is the brainchild of executive chef Toya Henry. Henry is a former New York City fashion editor and stylist who decided to follow her passion for cooking instead. Henry’s mother is from Barbados, and both of Henry’s parents are from Jamaica.

Braised oxtail with pappardelle.
Braised oxtail with pappardelle. Alex Clirror
Grilled poulet with fingerling potatoes.
Grilled poulet with fingerling potatoes. Alex Clirror

Bronze’sfamily-style menu is a delightful fusion of her Caribbean roots, her fascinating travels across Asia and the Caribbean, and her past conversations about food with Uber drivers from all over the world.

A bartender at Bronze creating one of the restaurant’s craft cocktails.
A bartender at Bronze creating one of the restaurant’s craft cocktails. Alex Clirror

Bronze has become more popular and is a must-try for anybody in the D.C. region who loves good culinary experiences; thus, reservations are strongly recommended.

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Evie Blanco is a journalist with nearly a decade of experience who was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Queens, New York. She is extremely well-versed in hip-hop music and culture and is always aware of any developments within it. Whether it’s the latest in pop culture, a fascinating foreign destination, a truly amazing new restaurant, or breaking news, she loves to write about it all.

This story was originally published April 21, 2023 12:11 PM.

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