Updated: Sep 15, 2020
On August 3, 2020, chef and DC native Andre Williams opened Real Nutritious Food, his first brick and mortar restaurant in the Chevy Chase neighborhood of DC. Through his new concept, Williams focuses on seasonal ingredients and seafood as a way to add his own flair to modern American food and encourage people to eat healthier. With offerings like wood-fired pizzas, 1/4 pound jumbo lump crab cakes, and a few choice vegetarian options, Williams' menu has something for everyone.
Andre Williams was born and raised in Washington, DC. He began cooking when he was just five years old, learning the basics from family members who would later serve as the inspiration for his restaurant concept. Williams then started working in kitchens professionally eight years ago. After stints at Blue Jacket, Firefly, and Founding Farmers, as well as internships at Buttercream Bake Shop and with a French chef in Florida, his new concept was born.
Initially, Williams started small, with a catering business dubbed "RNF" for Real Nutritious Food. His focus on healthier options was born out of his prior restaurant experience. "I saw that DC thrives on carryout food, and that's the food I grew up on. I wanted to refine it and make it more nutritious," he says. Williams' health-conscious approach is largely motivated by his family history - his father, who was also a chef, suffers from diabetes. "High blood pressure runs in the family," says Williams. "I wanted to break that chain."
After catering for two years and testing his concept, Williams has now moved forward with his first brick and mortar restaurant. Despite the challenges posed by COVID, Williams took a chance on an open restaurant space in Chevy Chase in April. He emphasizes, "People still need to eat despite the crisis."
From my recent visit, I'd say Williams has built an impressive concept thus far. The service was quick and attentive and the atmosphere casual and unassuming. Most importantly our food was well-executed, with a few options for folks like me who crave heartier fare, as well as vegan, vegetarian, and health-conscious selections. I recommend the RNF Fish Sandwich, or what my husband dubbed, "the best fish sandwich he's ever had." The massive portion of wild-caught sea bass is served over a sturdy brioche bun that doesn't fall apart, with house-made slaw and tartar sauce that complement the seasoning in the fish batter quite well. *Note, we went unannounced and unplanned to try out this restaurant, so we could get a true sense of the dining experience.
Real Nutritious Food is located at 5534 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC, 20015. The restaurant is currently open for outdoor dining on its covered patio, takeout, and delivery within a 5-mile radius. Order online here or keep up with them on Instagram.