A plate of shrimp coming out at Bronze
Written by Adele Chapin, Images courtesy of Nina Palazzolo

This past Thanksgiving, Keem Hughley had worked more than 20 days in a row at his Washington, DC restaurant, Bronze, and he finally decided to take a day off that Wednesday before the holiday. Then he got a phone call: Would Bronze be able to cater a Friendsgiving for music legend Stevie Wonder?

Obviously, a day off could wait. During Bronze’s first year in business since opening on H Street in December 2022, plenty of music superstars have taken notice of the restaurant’s fusion-inspired Afro-Caribbean menu.

A spread at Bronze

“I do this thing called Bronze Uber Eats, which is hilarious because we don’t actually do Uber Eats,” Hughley says. “But our Uber Eats [client list] is Thundercat, Stevie Wonder, Common, Pusha T, Black Thought, Timbaland, 9th Wonder. These are the people we deliver to.”

Hughley, who grew up in the neighborhood just two blocks away from the restaurant, says the recognition Bronze has received is a blessing. But with his ambition and creative vision, perhaps it’s not a surprise.

The 32-year-old owner, who’s worked in the hospitality industry since he was 15, got inspired by the Afrofuturism movement when deciding to open Bronze. Hughley imagined a fictional character called Alonzo Bronze, an adventurer who traveled from Africa around the world picking up spices and ingredients, pre-Transatlantic slave trade. Alonzo’s travels connect the menu’s wide-ranging ingredients, as seen in a dish of torched oysters dressed up with flying fish roe and scotch bonnet pepper sauce. Hughley brought in Brooklyn-raised chef Toya Henry and mixologist Al Thompson, alum of DC’s famed barmini, to help him bring his vision to life.

“The back story is a concept of freedom,” says Hughley. “How do we create outside the box that is given to us as Black restaurateurs?”

You don’t have to know the restaurant’s origin story to appreciate the food—or the sleek décor. Bronze spans three levels, with design from Black-owned architecture group Drummond Projects inspired by both Japanese minimalism and the curving forms of Arabic mosques. There’s a moody speakeasy-style bar downstairs called Pre-Earth, a more traditional dining room on the second floor called Earth (look out for live jazz here on Sundays), and a private event space on the top level called the Crane Room.

Hughley emphasizes that every diner is treated like a star, from neighborhood regulars to Grammy-nominated artists. “We’re not a place that only focuses on celebrities. Pretty much everyone who has dined at Bronze can tell you that everyone who walks through that door gets the same warm greeting and we focus on that person from start to finish,” he says.

Can’t Miss at Bronze

A spread of salads at Bronze

Kampachi Crudo

This dish leans into Bronze’s Caribbean-fusion attitude, incorporating the restaurant’s split pea rice rolled into a rice ball. “This dish is an example of what we do at Bronze—we don’t limit ourselves to any cooking style or technique,” explains Hughley.

Braised Oxtail With Pappardelle

These housemade noodles are the perfect way to soak up every bite of the sauce jazzed up with an oxtail jus.

Grilled Sea Bass

Another bestseller, butterflied and served over pickled carrot and pickled papaya with a side of ginger-spiced carrot puree.


The namesake cocktail sums up the fictional Alonzo Bronze’s globe-trotting travels. There’s Peruvian pisco mixed with cachaça from Brazil, gin from London, and yuzu from Japan.

about this restaurant

  • Chef

    Keem Hughley

  • Address

    1245 H Street NE
    Washington, DC

    • Caribbean

    • Fine Dining

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