Art-drenaline Will Replace Nurish Food + Drink in Anacostia


French-inspired cafe Nurish Food + Drink closed inside the Anacostia Arts Center over the weekend. But the space won't be empty for long: Another cafe and food incubator called Art-drenaline will take its place beginning with brunch on Sunday.

Art-drenaline comes from chef Shawn Lightfoot and artist Amanda Stephenson, who in September launched a Hyattsville, Md.–based food incubator called the Fresh Food Factory for underrepresented and undercapitalized entrepreneurs. Like Union Kitchen and Mess Hall, the Fresh Food Factory provides professional kitchen facilities and training for food businesses looking to get their start. 

Art-drenaline will be an extension of this mission and provide food from many of Fresh Food Factory's members. As a result, the menu will represent a cross-section of cultures from around the world. Among the members who will have a presence are Tokyo in the City, which has a food truck in D.C., and Taste of Chad, a catering operation that highlights the cuisine of the central African country. Lightfoot, who's been a chef for the past 30 years including for Phillips Seafood, will oversee the overall menu, which will also include salads, smoothies, and other healthy dishes.

The cafe may have limited hours to start, but it will eventually be open from breakfast to dinner with a pre-theater menu to serve those seeing a show at the Anacostia Arts Center or Anacostia Playhouse. It will serve alcohol as well, although the exact menu is still in the works.

As the name suggests, art will also play a prominent part in the cafe. Local artists will be represented in everything from the tables to the plates to the paintings on the wall. Sephenson says she hopes to give the place a more "vibrant" look.

Both Lightfoot and Stephenson live in Anacostia, and they say they want to succeed in a neighborhood where others have failed. Not only is there a need for fresh options, Stephenson says, "there's a desire for it."

Photo by Darrow Montgomery