Erik Bruner-Yang, Kwame Onwuachi, and More Top DC Chefs Will Serve Free Food at the Reach Festival

The Kennedy Center celebrates its new addition with a 16-day party starting Saturday

Chef Erik Bruner-Yang. Photograph courtesy of Foreign National

The Reach Opening Festival, a 16-day party celebrating The Kennedy Center’s new addition, doesn’t just promise to bring together top names from the art world when it launches on Saturday, September 7. Some of DC’s best chefs have signed onto the festivities. Erik Bruner-Yang (Maketto, Spoken English) will run a pop-up restaurant previewing his forthcoming Navy Yard project, ABC Pony, while a rotating lineup of top talents like Kwame Onwuachi (Kith and Kin), Kevin Tien (Emilie’s), and Jerome Grant (Sweet Home Cafe), will serve free samples in a chef tent each day.

The ABC Pony pop-up will mix festival-friendly fare for thousands like grain bowls and shrimp salad rolls alongside dishes that might appear on the restaurant’s permanent menu—an exploration of the connection between Italian and Asian flavors. One such dish is a hand-rolled fusilli bolognese that melds a traditional norther Italian meat sauce with Southeast Asian fermented sausage. Once it’s open later this month, the all-day cafe will also serve breakfast items like the scallion pancake breakfast sandwich stuffed with eggs, cheddar, and spicy salami. See the festival menu below. 

Menu courtesy of Foreign National

Talent in the chef tent will change almost daily with different restaurants handing out over 250 free samples to festival-goers. The lineup includes finer-dining spots (Reverie, A Rake’s Progress) alongside popular casual ventures like Chiko and The Royal. See a full schedule below.

The Reach Opening Festival Chef Tent 

9/7 Erik Bruner-Yang (10 to 11 AM)

9/8 Opie Crooks, A Rake’s Progress (8 PM to 10 PM)

9/10 Kwame Onwuachi, Kith and Kin (7 to 9 PM)

9/11 Erik Bruner-Yang (2 to 3 PM)

9/12 Kevin Tien, Emilie’s (7 to 9 PM)

9/13 Johnny Spero, Reverie (noon to 1 PM)

9/14 Tim Ma, American Son (6 to 7 PM)

9/15 Gil Welsford, Nicecream (8 to 10 PM)

9/16 Jerome Grant, Sweet Home Café (8 to 10 PM)

9/17 Marcelle Afram, Bluejacket (6 to 8 PM)

9/18 Johanna Hellrigl, Doi Moi (6 to 8 PM)

9/19 Scott Drewno and Danny Lee, Chiko (10 to 11 AM)

9/20 Shannan Tronscoso, Brookland’s Finest (2:30 to 3:30 PM)

9/21 Carlos Delgado, China Chilcano (1 to 2 PM)



Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.