The owner and chef of one of the District’s newest restaurants wants customers to experience fine dining in one of the city’s economically emerging neighborhoods.
Darrell Gaston is the founder and chef of Kitchen Savages, a restaurant located in the Historic Anacostia neighborhood of Ward 8. The restaurant sits a few feet away from the intersection of Good Hope Road SE and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE. Gaston, 36, said he opened Kitchen Savages to offer customers who reside east of the Anacostia River the chance to eat at a classy restaurant without leaving the area.
“People should not have to go downtown in order to have a good meal in an elegant setting,” said Gaston, who lives in the Fort Stanton neighborhood. “I grew up in Ward 8 where there are a lot of carryouts and the residents here deserve an elevated experience.”
Gaston’s establishment is one of the first eateries that will set up in Ward 8 in the coming years. Another eatery has been slated to open next to Kitchen Savages, and a DCity Smokehouse and another restaurant will start serving customers within months. Gaston said anti-violence and hip-hop activist Ron Moten and a partner are set to open a café near Kitchen Savages. He said another restaurant is due to start operating next to the Starbucks in the Maple View Flats building. Gaston said Ronald Williams, a Ward 7 resident, will open a seafood restaurant that will be a neighbor in the complex. He explained the building that will house Williams’ eatery will also have other restaurants too.
The Kitchen Savages Experience
A customer enters the front door that faces Good Hope Road SE. An employee asks whether the customer wants to sit at the bar or in the dining space. The bar consists of stools for customers to sit on and the work area for the bartenders. There are two huge television screens for bar patrons to watch.
The dining room consists of small tables for two with black tablecloths and blue chairs. The utensils are gold, and the napkins are black. Kitchen Savages waiters serve print menus, not Q-R codes as is common in restaurants. Soft rhythm and blues music plays while customers are in the establishment. On the western wall is a painted picture of Gaston’s late mother, Faith Gaston.
“I put that there so she can keep an eye on the place,” Gaston said. “It is like she is watching you, no matter where you go.”
The menu consists of starters, mains, sides, dessert, and drinks. For appetizers, customers can choose from chicken wings with a barbecue, garlic and honey flavor, their famous Savage fries, lamb Lollipops, which is marinated lamb in a jerk sauce, and crab cake egg rolls.
Main entree options include roasted quarter chicken pomme puree, honey-blackened salmon, jerk lamb chops, Maryland-style crab cake, lamb rigatoni and lobster macaroni and cheese. Sides include French fries, roasted asparagus, macaroni and cheese and crab macaroni and cheese.
Dessert choices such as banana pudding cheesecake, strawberry cheesecake and chocolate cake are available to customers.
There is also an assortment of spirits, liquors and alcoholic beverages customers can choose from.