District Soul Food & Lounge

3.4
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53 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Soul food
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About

District Soul Food Restaurant and Lounge will be providing a unique mix of southern cuisine and live entertainment featuring a selection of delicious soul food and signature cocktails. Owners Craig Parkinson CEO, David Roundtree, COO, Christopher Alston, Chris Everette, and Eddie Reynolds are excited to bring District Soul Food Restaurant to the heart of barracks row in Capitol Hill. Executive Chef John Fearrington (La Residence, True Flavors Southern Diner) will bring a menu strongly influenced by Southern flavors. Our Sweet potato pound cake will be one of the items that is sure to have customers coming back time and time again. District Soul Food Restaurant and Lounge will operate as a restaurant, Cigar Lounge, accompanied with a food truck and catering services for special events.
Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Cuisines
Soul food
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Phone number
(202) 544-8888
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Business Casual
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Executive chef
John Fearington
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
E Street SE
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Parking details
Metered parking Valet Parking 1 block away
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Public transit
Eastern Market
Additional
Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cigar Room, Cocktails, Counter Seating, Entertainment, Full Bar, Gender Neutral Restroom, Happy Hour, Late Night, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wine
What 53 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
3.4based on all time ratings
3.6
food
3.4
service
3.7
ambience
3.5
value
Noise · Moderate
73% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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AL
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 29, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 3

Our server was very attentive; so the service was great. The crab fries were delicious and also the sweet potato hush puppies. The catfish was very unappetizing; lot's of breading and no flavor. The oxtails were just okay, I still have the leftovers in my refrigerator; and I'm a foodie so that's unusual for me.

I went on a Friday for lunch and several menu items were unavailable.

I didn't have any drinks so I can't comment on the bar.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 2ambience 3

When we made the reservations online it didn’t indicate that they were only serving brunch. We had to wait more than 15min for a server to .order coffee, my date was running late and by the time they arrived the table next to me was just receiving their food. We didn’t order any food and decided to leave.

DA
1 review
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I'm glad we found this gem. The atmosphere was great, the food was good, the music was perfect and we definitely enjoyed ourselves. The owner even came out and gave us a tour of the place, and made sure everything qas going well. We will definitely be back !

NC
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 12, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 5ambience 5

GREAT but lots of ROOM to grow! I was looking for a special place to have a birthday lunch with 3 other mature and extremely discerning suburban women - neither of whom were overjoyed to drive into DC for lunch. I won them over by location. So your location, in addition to two other things attracted me to this restaurant - the food and the newness. I was not disappointed. I walked into a very good looking venue - NEW & very different from the Banana Cafe. The color scheme and the artwork is beautiful! The food was GREAT! I am from low country SC and grew up on the dishes that are offered on the menu. (I consider myself an expert. LOL!) The food was good and authentic. Our server was charismatic and kind. These are the things that would compel me to return. Also the choice of music is SUPERB. It felt like a soul food spot.
However, at noon, mainstays on the menu were not available - Soul Rolls and either dessert (banana pudding & sweet potato pound cake). I'm no expert on the restaurant but I think that the Soul Rolls (at this Soul Food restaurant) should be a main staple & AVAILABLE. And at 1 o'clock after a half day of opening (as they are closed Monday until the evening), I thought they they'd be locked, loaded and ready to go. At the very end of the meal and outing, I made a comment about not getting the soul rolls to the woman who appeared to be a manager of some sort. She brought some out for us. THEY WERE GREAT!
Someone from the kitchen also brought the trash out and walked through the dinning area right behind us. That was extremely disconcerting. I hope that was that particular employee's decision and not the direction of the management.
Overall, it was GOOD experience with GOOD food. I am rooting for the success of this spot. I am going to give it a little more time before I return. BUT I WILL RETURN!

AR
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on March 10, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 4

Both of us enjoyed the food we ordered.
However, the service and attention to details needs to be improved.
I am planning to go back, though.

KJ
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on March 3, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 4

Although the service was an area of frustration (took over an hour to get food), the food was mostly terrific. Fried catfish, great! Shrimp and grits, wonderful. Sweet potato hushpuppies, over fried. I really wish the wait staff and owner had been more communicative and professional about the service problem. Will give them another try but will wait till they have been open longer.

OT
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on March 3, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Overall experience was pretty good. Crab fries are awesome! We had an issue with our food, but one of the owners was in the restaurant helping staff out, and was very accommodating to our situation. The server was great as well. My girlfriend and I went there for brunch and enjoyed the bottomless mimosas! There was also a live band upstairs. We’ll definitely go back and recommend it to others. Even better, it’s black owned!

F
Washington DC
54 reviews
Dined on March 3, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 3ambience 3

Great crowd, chill music downstairs.

l
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was great and the service was impeccable.

TB
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on March 1, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Food is pretty good. They need to revise the greens to make them more sweet, less bitter and clean them better. They were gritty. Mac needs more cheese. Catfish and pork chop were delish. Need cornbread basket or something. I will go back

BG
1 review
Dined on February 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food at District Soul Food exceeded my expectations, as I have been disappointed so many times when eating Soul Food in Restaurants. The food was extremely well prepared and very tasty. The Staff was very nice and very professional. I would not hesitate to eat at District Soul Food again.

b
Washington DC
20 reviews
Dined on February 26, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 2

With this being a soul food restaurant, macaroni and cheese is a staple in this genre of America food. This restaurant’s macaroni and cheese was subpar at best. Enough said.

CN
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on February 24, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 5

This was my second visit. This time, with a large party so I believe this played a part in the 4-Star rating as opposed to the 5 Stars I gave the week before. Because of the size of the group, it took quite a while to take the order and serve the entire party. Out of 18 people, 6 persons had eaten before the rest of the party had been served. Members of my party, who had been for the first time did offer one of the owners feedback, which was well received. The experience was not bad so I know I will be back.

S
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

The service was good, the food was great. The ginger ale and ginger beer were flat. I will come back again.

SW
1 review
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Let 's give them a minute to work the kinks out. Overall it was an ok experience.

OT
1 review
Dined on February 22, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

I've been to this new restaurant twice in two weeks. The first time I attended on a Saturday night and sat in the upstairs dining area to hear the entertainment. There was a line, and the restaurant was jammed packed on both levels. It's clear that the restaurant was working out the kinks with staffing and wait times--we waited for almost an hour for food--but it was delicious. The atmosphere was great and even the owners were on hand to help serve food. The second visit we ate downstairs--everything was like clock work. We were seated promptly, the food came out of the kitchen within an acceptable time--delicious again, and the chef even came out of the kitchen to see if we enjoyed our meal. It's crazy loud in the restaurant--lots of energy and chatter, but it's a wonderful spot, good cooking and great staff. My biggest gripes are: 1) there aren't enough bathrooms in the restaurant (one private restroom/stall for all sexes on the 2nd level), and two of the same on the first floor. #2) There is a cigar room on the 2nd floor, and you can smell the faintest whiff of tobacco in some areas of the 2nd floor (i.e., in the adjacent bathroom, for example). All in all, I highly recommend this restaurant as it grows into its own over the next few weeks, and I will return time and again.

OT
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on February 22, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Good food and great services. It was a soft opening, so some menu items were not available. Overall the food was good.

KW
1 review
Dined on February 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We enjoy ourselves Nathan is an excellent waiter I recommend him to serve me everytime I attend the restaurant if he is there, you ROCK young man peace

KC
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on February 21, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 3

This was my second visit to District Soul Food. I went online and checked the menu which listed grouper. I was looking forward to a great meal because I was having surgery the next morning.

Unfortunately when placing my order for the grouper, the waiter went to check and came back advising that grouper was not on the menu. I was extremely disappointed and asked for a manager. The manager/owner came and stated "that should have been taken off the online menu." Well it looks like it's going to be one of those evenings!

I was extremely disappointed and ordered several appetizers that I previously had and were delish being the Soul Roll and the Shrimp Fries. Well not the case on this visit.

There was no seasoning, no flavor or smoked Turkey in the Soul Roll. I showed this to the manager/owner who said he wanted to show it the chef....not only was it not shown to the chef, it was not removed from my check!

The Shrimp Fries that I had previously were in a tempura batter and seasoned well. The order that came was naked Shrimp and the fries were not great. The sous chef came to the table and he attempted to tell me what I had ordered previously was the Shrimp Boat, but that was not true.

The fried chicken which was previously delish on this night looked to be dark/old, refried and was not fresh.

The mac The fried catfish appeared as if it had been cooked in the oven or an air fryer

I dine out frequently at some of the best restaurants in the City and I know the difference between tempura and naked Shrimp.

The problem is you have a restaurant that has potential but does not have CONSISTENCY in menu planning; its cooking,seasoning, preparation or presentation and its menu ;

The waitstaff is poorly trained; that stands around doing nothing when there's plenty that needs to be done.

It's a sad commentary when only one person out of 4 enjoys their meal.

S
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on February 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food! I had the seeet potato harbrowns, catfish, Mac n Cheese, greens, and sweet potato cake for desert!

GP
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on February 17, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

The night we ate at the restaurant it was short staffed so I cannot give an informed opinion. The menu did not show any options for vegetarian or vegan customers.

LT
1 review
Dined on February 17, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 3

I understand this establishment is fairly "new" and I'd like to give it another chance...however, the service was absolutely horrible. One waitress staged for the upstairs dining area was unacceptable. The timing to receive just drinks and appetizers took at least 30 mins each...all because there was ONE bartender upstairs. My meal(catfish) was luke warm and not "fried" as indicated on the menu. Very bland also...the best thing was my appetizer - soul roll. No time soon will we be back to patronize District Soul Food

GW
1 review
Dined on February 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent!! We truly enjoyed the food and ambiance.

HG
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was my first time here and I was very pleased with restaurant. Reservation was at 1:15, we arrived at 12:50 and was seated by 1. Everyone from the hostess to the waitress was pleasant and helpful. The hostess was great about accomadating us to another table, as the one we was sitting at was by the door, and it was a bit chilly that day. We were seated by the window, with a nice view of the area. The food was great and the atmosphere was nice, not loud and overwhelming.. I had the fish and grits and it was delicious! The fish was cooked perfectly, not too hard, not too soft, and the consistency of the grits was great! My friend had a platter which consisted of french toast, eggs, and bacon. A special thank you to Nadia, our waitress. She was pleasant, and always anticipated our needs. And there is also an upstairs area, but unfortunately, it was closed off
to us that day because of a private party. I can't wait to explore that area. I would say the only downside was the bar area. Very small and only 2, maybe 3 people at the most can be seated there. However, there is room for expansion, which I see happening at some point in the future. My friend and I plan to return for dinner very soon. Overall, we had a great experience and we can't wait to return.

XG
Washington DC
18 reviews
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 5

Very nice restaurant and the food is delicious. Friendly owners and staff!

CN
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

It was a very comfortable, relaxed atmosphere. The service was a little awkward at first, only because our server, Nadia, was stretched a little. The food was exquisite - fresh and hot. The owners coming out to introduce themselves was also a great touch of that homely feel. I will be back with friends as I am celebrating my birthday all month.

S
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

Basically, the service and whole experience was poor. The owner was walking around drinking, while trying to address my issue. I requested his information, since he didn't have a business card and he questioned of why I needed it. The server had my food walking around, while conversing and hugging on guest. I was very disgusted! They ran out of ever side selected and my food was returned 4 times. My entree was given to me cold with 1 side (in which it was suppose to be two) . I was never given any accommodations for my horrible experience.

EK
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

I was very nervous after reading all the reviews. I enjoyed myself, the food was good, the service was good. I hope they ge all the kinks outs and remain a thriving business on 8th St.

LT
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 1food 3service 2ambience 2

They need to get more organized, I had a reservation (open table) and they did not have it, good thing I had proof. I still ended up waiting 20 minutes. Service was slow. Patrons waiting to be seated we standing next to people that were eating, overcrowded. They need to design a waiting, perhaps upstairs in the lounge area.

E
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 4

Sadly, this place was a disappointment. The service is really slow, and the food wasn't seasoned well. Our waitress did the best she could, but that wasn't enough. Our reservation was at 7:00 and we didn't get our entree until after 8:00 pm. I received a duplicate order of my appetizer also.

I think the worst part was them running out of sweet tea, and our waitress not telling us what she brought is was unsweetened. Talk about gross.

I think it's time to take the L and find someone that can run this place better.

Lastly, garbage was being taken out of the kitchen throughout the evening. Why isn't there a side door out of site of the customers?

One more thing, there are staff members that hover around waiting to snatch your plates while you are still chewing your last bite, they could be used to refill beverages at the very least.

DP
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

The place is quaint and cozy. Good and fun atmosphere. It’s the second week being open. Service was better than the stories of the first week open. But they still have tweaks to make. The bar drinks take too long to come out. The menu was abbreviated for the soft launch which was a surprise. All of the main course items are fried or pork.
The fried pork chop was dry and not seasoned well. The Mac and cheese also lacked seasoning. The sweet potato cake was super delicious though. The pulled pork wasn’t bad.
The upstairs jazz lounge was nice. Great band. The cigar lounge looked cool but it needs more ventilation for the smoke. It was too stuffy and you could smell smoke downstairs.

I’ll go back in a month or so hoping the kinks are worked out. But I definitely see this place as a much needed culture infusion for Capitol Hill.

RW
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

I did not go to this restaurant on Thursday but went on Friday around midnight. The website stated that hey served food until 2 am. I was told upon entry, that full service from the menu was being served upstairs. My party went upstairs which was filthy and smelled of cigar smoke. No one approached me. I returned downstairs and was told that a partial menu was available. Upon ordering wine, was told no wine menu and had to order by type of wine only without being given a price. Served wine and was told that they only had wings and fries and nothing else on the menu despite seeing full-service meals and other items on bar menu going upstairs. Told that those were previous orders. Asked for manager and chef and no one came to my table- was told the chef "86" items on the menu. I " 86" my order and paid for a horrible 14.00 glass of wine. The restaurant should be "86" where is chef Ramsey who needs to redo this place!

RD
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The atmosphere was great the food and service excellent and alive music upstairs what's great I will be going back.

EA
Baltimore
2 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

Valtime day

MR
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was amazing. Crab fries where delicious and the catfish was awesome.

KN
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 3

I made reservations for 2/13 to celebrate Valentines Day. The drinks were strong, I ate the catfish, collard greens and mac/cheese. The crab fries and sweet potato hush puppies. I must say that I heard the service bad, but that was not my experience. I ate downstairs and it was a bit loud but the music was good and the noise was not disturbing. I also ordered the same dinner 2 days later. I was picking my mother up from the hospital and didn’t have time to cook. My mother talked about how good the food was all weekend. I will definitely be returning; ❤️ U District Soul Food & Lounge.

RJ
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on February 13, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

The oxtails was piping hot but bland. The sides were not well heated, just lukewarm.

JL
1 review
Dined on February 10, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 1

You were not ready to open. Your menu limited, you reservation system non existent, the layout and set up was non functional, it took almost an hour for the wings to arrive even though many plates were going upstairs to the music area. Finally, you failed to serve the entrees and we left at that point.

GB
Washington DC
13 reviews
Dined on February 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fish and grits were amazing. But Chris made things even better.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 2

The greens have too much vinegar and the macaroni and cheese is bland.

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