When George Washington University grad student Katherine Ashworth Brandt started Dine After Dark—a non-profit committing restaurants to open earlier or close later during Ramadan—she hoped the initiative would someday become as common as Chinese restaurants staying open on Christmas. But a year later, celebrations have changed for a much different reason. In response, Dine After Dark is organizing a directory of takeout and delivery spots with halal-friendly options. Tradition during Ramadan is to fast from sunrise to sunset throughout the month-long holiday (April 23 to May 23), ending each day’s fast with the iftar meal.
“The entire purpose of Dine After Dark’s mission is to help people and to build inclusive communities and better business and we’re still able to do that this way. It’s just that our community’s needs are different this year,” says Brandt. While she is not Muslim, Brandt started the organization after reading a story in 2017 about Brooklyn Tech High School refusing to reschedule prom when the event overlapped with Ramadan. Although Brandt couldn’t help those students, their story pushed her to start an inclusive initiative at home.
Currently, the list of restaurants includes Busboys and Poets, City Kabob and Curry House, Duke’s Grocery, George’s King of Falafel and Cheesesteak, and Lapis. Some are offering Ramadan specials, like Busboy and Poets’ grilled-kabob spread and a four-course feast from Lapis. Restaurants apply to be part of the list with no fee and Dine After Dark notes if the restaurant serves halal chicken or meat with direct links to order online.
Carryout and delivery isn’t available during the time frames Dine After Dark would typically ask restaurants to remain open—either an early start at 4 AM or late close at 10:30 PM. However, Brandt says customers have been placing orders a few hours in advance or buying extra for the morning’s pre-fast meal, suhur.
“We just want to make this simple and try to offer a little bit of normalcy in a time that’s very, very abnormal,” says Brandt.