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Dōgon by Kwame Onwuachi to open at Salamander Washington DC this spring

(WASHINGTON, D.C. – January 24, 2024) – Chef Kwame Onwuachi is no stranger to pushing boundaries, but at his new Washington, D.C. restaurant, he will also honor them and the West African lineage that helped draw the borders of the District of Columbia.  

Dōgon by Kwame Onwuachi will open this spring along the revitalized Southwest waterfront at Salamander Washington DC – part of a significant hotel enhancement project. The acclaimed chef makes his highly anticipated return to the nation’s capital with a concept inspired by DC Surveyor Benjamin Banneker and his heritage to the West African Dogon tribe. Pronounced “Doh-gon,” the restaurant will serve vibrant cuisine through an Afro-Caribbean lens and draw from Onwuachi’s unique Nigerian, Jamaican, Trinidadian and Creole background. Dōgon is being designed by the architectural firm Modellus Novus.

“I firmly believe that a restaurant should have a story, because when it has a story it has a soul,” said Onwuachi. “Researching the history of Benjamin Banneker, the Dogon tribe, and the connections to our location was a humbling-yet-inspiring experience. Our menu will celebrate all the cultures within DC’s four quadrants. This is the story of Dōgon.

According to historical accounts, Benjamin Banneker was a self-taught mathematician, astronomer, and inventor who made significant contributions to the development of Washington, D.C., including his innovative use of astronomy to help survey the soon-to-be City of Washington in 1791. Authors have also contended that Banneker's ancestry can be traced through his grandfather to the Dogon tribe from Mali, reputed for their advanced knowledge of astronomy, mathematics, and engineering. To read more about the history of Banneker, the Dogon tribe and their connectivity, visit  

“Through his surveying work and skills, Banneker’s has helped bring people together for generations,” said Onwuachi. With this story and the Dogon lineage as our foundation, we saw an opportunity to create something new: a restaurant that celebrates the rich cultural heritage of Africa in a contemporary DC setting.”

Dōgon will be Onwuachi’s second restaurant opening in the space of 18 months, following the highly acclaimed Tatiana in New York City. Last year, Tatiana was named as the city’s best restaurant by the New York Times and rated one of the best new restaurants of the year by Esquire. Forbes called it more than a restaurant and the “future of fine dining.”

Onwuachi has penned multiple books, like his successful memoir Notes from a Young Black Chef and the bestselling cookbook My America: Recipes from a Young Black Chef. He has also been a contestant and a judge on Bravo’s Top Chef. In 2019, he was acclaimed by Esquire as its Chef of the Year, recognized by Food & Wine as one of its Best New Chefs, and named by the James Beard Foundation as "Rising Star Chef of the Year.”

The Dōgon opening brings Onwuachi together again with Sheila Johnson, founder and CEO of Salamander Collection, with whom he has built a special relationship. The pair created The Family Reunion, which has quickly become the premier gathering of culinary professionals of color in the country and takes place at Johnson’s Five-Star Salamander Middleburg resort in Virginia. Salamander Collection was recently voted Best Luxury Hotel Brand by readers of USA TODAY and is the largest Black-owned luxury hotel company in the United States.

The incredible story of Benjamin Banneker, the Dogon people and its lineage of astral observers has also fueled the design of Dōgon, which will offer indoor, bar and outdoor seating options. Undertaken by Modellus Novus, which previously collaborated with Onwuachi at Tatiana, the interior will transform the night sky into architectural language. Guests will immediately be transported into a distinctively dramatic atmosphere where chain curtains welcome guests at the entrance, referencing Banneker’s Gunter’s Chains – a device he used to measure and survey.

The restaurant opening is part of an overall property redesign at Salamander Washington DC, creating the warm and welcoming environment for which the company is renowned. Additionally, the enhancement project will showcase a brighter and more residential design, and include striking gathering spaces, an expanded two-story spa and modernly refreshed guest suites designed by Thomas Pheasant. Work is scheduled to conclude in the spring.

An opening date for Dōgon by Kwame Onwuachi will be announced in the next few months, while diners and those interested in exploring employment opportunities can sign up to receive updates at, and also follow on Instagram at @DogonDC.

About Salamander Collection

Salamander Collection is privately owned and operated, and based in Middleburg, VA, just outside Washington, D.C. Founded by entrepreneur Sheila Johnson, it has a luxury portfolio featuring the Forbes Five-Star Salamander Middleburg, an equestrian-inspired property in the Virginia countryside; Salamander Washington DC, an elegant hotel located along the capital’s vibrant Southwest waterfront; Half Moon, the storied resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica, featuring three distinct experiences including the acclaimed Eclipse; Aspen Meadows Resort, which features sweeping views on 40 beautiful acres in Aspen, CO’s west end and newly renovated Herbert Bayer-inspired accommodations and arrival experience; Hotel Bennett, a spectacular grand hotel in Charleston, SC, overlooking the city’s historic Marion Square; and Innisbrook Resort in the St. Petersburg/Clearwater area, which hosts the PGA TOUR’s Valspar Championship each year on its famed Copperhead Course.