Take a Bite of History at Sweet Home Cafe

Sweet Home Cafe is brewing with African flavors from around the country; like its historic exhibits, the Natural African American Museum of History and Culture’s restaurant is a must try. With four different stations featuring traditional African cuisines from different regions, the cafeteria offers tasty bites of history.

I was pleased to learn the Sweet Home Café was cleverly designed to function as both a cafeteria and a museum exhibit (foodies rejoice). If you’re like me, you might treat every meal like it’s your last during any experience you embark on – whether its meal time or not.

Already in the “I came here to learn something” mindset, I was determined to try something unfamiliar. This proved easy to do; Sweet Home Cafe offers four distinct menus – The Agricultural South, The Creole Coast, The North States and The Western Range. Each menu showcases regional recipes. After thoroughly reading the menu at each station, I ordered from The North States.

The Son of a Gun Stew was idyllic. I love savory, meaty dishes and anything with a kick. This had it all. I imagine this would be perfect on a cold or rainy day, but I’d welcome it whenever. The meat was tender and marinated in similar flavors to the spicy broth. The soft potatoes and seared tomatoes added different textures to every bite, making each one new and unique. I was wishing I’d asked for a second piece of bread to wipe this bowl clean.

Son of A Gun Stew, Courtesy of the African American Museum of History & Culture

The Thomas Downing NYC oyster pan roast was prepared to order; its presentation and required method for eating reminded me of mussels in savory broth served with toasted bread for mopping. The oyster pan roast’s sauce was golden and creamy, with the consistency of a cozy, smooth blended tomato soup, while the roasted oysters offered a couple bites of savory texture. Warm and full, I was more than pleased with my entrée.

Thomas Downing Oyster Pan Roast, Courtesy of the African American Museum of History & Culture

As a Boston native, I’ve had my fair share of baked beans. While they can make me long for a trip home, this is not a side dish I typically seek out beyond the New England border. First, because, its typically served as lukewarm or cold mush, and second because beans beans are good for your heart…

Sweet Home Café is my new exception. The beans were the perfect complement to my savory roast, the smokey and sweet flavors were layered within each satisfyingly tender bite.

My only question – in a building sampling history and culture, why not offer a sampler platter?

Plan your visit to DC’s most educational cafe here!

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