French cuisine inspired cafe NURISH Food + Drink has come to Historic Anacostia not only to nourish the body, but also to revitalize and revamp the image of Historic Anacostia.
NURISH Food + Drink is in the Anacostia Arts Center, which also houses art galleries, boutiques, a yoga studio, a cooperative working space and much more. ARCH Development Corporation or ADC, the community and Kera Carpenter, the owner of NURISH Food + Drink, have collaborated to bring NURISH Food + Drink to Anacostia.
According to Nikki Peele, director of marketing and business development for ADC, the ADC believes that development of the arts and business is integral to the revitalization of Anacostia. The community shares similar sentiments.
"We held several community events. It was clear we needed a food option," Peele says.
ADC enlisted the help of Carpenter, owner of Domku Bar and Cafe in Petworth, for help in developing the idea of the startup kitchen and choosing a person to run the cafe. Like Anacostia, Petworth has also recently been through revitalization. According to Toque magazine, Carpenter started NURISH: The Center for a Creative Culinary Economy because of a lack of support for startup food businesses. NURISH is comprised of many components such as business education, mentoring and community development.
"She fell in love with the community," Peele says.
According to Peele, after Carpenter searched for a person to run the new cafe, "she decided to operate the cafe herself."
Since its opening the startup business has been a hit among residents and the DC area.
The cafe's success may attest to its pragmatic beauty, the soft tones of old school hip-hop consistently playing in the background and the tie- died pink walls. The friendly and welcoming customer service that includes witty banter between customers and staff allows regulars to refill coffee in their own mugs. And then there is the dynamic menu. It ranges anywhere from a Spicy Grilled Cheese to an Indian Spiced Pork Loin. The restaurant offers customers options because the menu consistently changes.
Peele says that she really enjoys the cafe herself, and it has received 5 out of 5 on Yelp in reviews.
General Manager of NUIRSH Food + Drink Nam Kim says, "We've been getting people from the neighborhood also people from Hive and government agencies in the area."
Owner of DC Modern Design + Build, Michael Vallen, says besides the great food and service his main reason for coming to the cafe is its proximity to his office, next door.
"It's so close" says Vallen.
Charles Robison, a designer and Anacostia resident says, "I think it's becoming a space that the community utilizes. Sometimes I sit here and work for up to six hours."
Ishmael Sparrow a 22-year old Howard Psychology major from Sugarland Texas has worked at the cafe since its opening in January. He says since working at NURISH Food + Drink he has become more experienced in the food service industry and that he also enjoys the food.
"Nam makes a bomb chicken soup," he says.
Although most of the food is made in the kitchen such as the soups and pastries, some of the food must be brought over to NUIRSH Food + Drink because it does not have an overhead oven.
For its food preparation NURISH Food + Drink, 1231 Good Hope Rd. SE, uses local markets because it wants to go for a healthy holistic approach. It offers many gluten-free options and even makes its own soda from syrup and club soda.
NURISH Food + Drink is not the last of the revitalization of the Historic Anacostia Area.
"ADC has many programs it is working on for the revitalization of the Historic Anacostia Area," Peele said.