black-owned-restaurant-expands-to-stay-in-dc

Black-Owned Restaurant Expands To Stay In DC

It’s a difficult time for restaurants, but Open Crumb is launching a new product to survive the challenging times.

WASHINGTON — As WUSA9 continues to celebrate Black History Month, we want to highlight a chef who is expanding his business to stay in D.C. Yes – expanding. Even as other restaurants close their doors. 

In historic Anacostia – Open Crumb has been bringing Authentic West African food to the community through catering and carryout for five years.

Peter Opare is the chef and visionary behind the family owned scratch kitchen which means everything is made from scratch: from freshly baked bread to jollof rice and long simmering spinach stew.

“That’s a recipe my mom developed at Ghana Café,” said Chef Opare.

For two decades, Opare’s parents owned Ghana Café in Adams Morgan. They initially used the kitchen in Anacostia to make meals for Whole Foods then decided Peter was ready to carry on the family tradition.

David James is a regular customer and travels from Northwest to Southside just for a special trip to Open Crumb.

“You can tell when someone puts love in the food. I mean, you can taste it and it brings you back. It’s that good,” he licked the tips of his fingers and laughed, “it’s that good!”   

Now Opare, his mom, and brothers are bringing that love to a new audience, making a pivot to survive the challenges facing the restaurant industry. According to DC Council, 50 restaurants closed in 2023. Just this week, Sticky Fingers on H Street announced their closing their doors.

Opare said some nearby business owners have been robbed at gunpoint, but besides crime he said it’s getting more expensive just to operate.

“Rising food cost are hurting us which makes us raise our prices and that means people are less likely to eat out, then there’s rising labor costs and just rising overhead costs in general,” explained Opare.

Soon, Open Crumb is launching a new product: prepared meals delivered to your home.

“Is that your answer to, ‘How do I still stay in the restaurant business?” asked Gonçalves.

“Yes, it actually is the,” answered Opare, “it’s our way of staying engaged and taking advantage of an opportunity we didn’t see before. I’ve been following the trend (of prepared meal delivery), but we can offer something new and different in that space.”

Opare said because of the family’s past relationship with Whole Foods, they have experience in mass manufacturing meal to go.

Opare said with the subscription prepared meal delivery, he is “creating a new product line to create a new revenue stream.”

And with this new plan, Opare is bringing a piece of his west African culture to more dinner tables and carrying on the long family tradition of serving D.C. residents.

“It’s a difficult time to be in this industry, but I still feel hopeful if we can figure out new ways to deliver our product,” Opare said.

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