Florida Avenue Grill: World's Oldest Soul Food Restaurant

World's Oldest Soul Food RestaurantWASHINGTON, DC - Located in the dynamic heart of Washington, D.C., the Florida Avenue Grill is a historic testament to the enduring legacy of soul food. Established in 1944 by the entrepreneurial duo Lacey and Bertha Wilson, this iconic eatery traces its humble origins to a time when resources were scarce. To sustain their fledgling business, the Wilsons often resorted to selling just two chickens at a time, relying on the meager revenue to keep their dreams alive.

Florida Avenue Grill: World's Oldest Soul Food Restaurant

Notwithstanding the daunting challenges they faced, including the notorious 1968 riots that rocked the nation's capital, the Grill stood tall and weathered the storm. Lacey Jr., the couple's son, valiantly protected the restaurant from harm, extinguishing fires that threatened to consume the establishment. Through sheer determination and dedication to their craft, the Florida Avenue Grill soon garnered an extraordinary reputation not only for its remarkable food but also for its welcoming embrace of a broad range of customers at a time when racial segregation was the norm.

Part of the Grill's allure lies in its signature corn muffins, praised by renowned food writers for their exceptional combination of density and moistness. The establishment proudly displays signed photographs from an illustrious list of luminaries in politics, entertainment, and sports, adorning its walls and creating an ambiance that pays tribute to the rich history it has witnessed.

In 2005, entrepreneur Imar Hutchins took the helm of this treasured institution, carefully preserving its original essence while subtly adapting the name and introducing slight changes to enhance the dining experience. As a gesture of respect and gratitude to the Wilson family, Hutchins named a condominium building constructed on the former parking lot "The Lacey," ensuring that their extraordinary legacy remains an indelible part of the Grill's story.

While the entire menu at the Florida Avenue Grill is highly recommended, one truly unforgettable combination awaits eager diners. The classic smothered chicken, served alongside creamy mashed potatoes and savory gravy, accompanied by a generous portion of collard greens, is a must-try culinary experience. For those with dietary restrictions, the owner's vegetarian lifestyle has led to the inclusion of delectable vegan options, ensuring that all guests can delight in the flavors that have made the Grill an enduring institution in the nation's capital. Indulge in this extraordinary soul food experience, complete with a refreshing cup of sweet tea, and join the ranks of countless patrons who have embraced the heart and soul of the Florida Avenue Grill.