This is the first in what I hope can be a semi-regular series of profiles of local business owners in the neighborhood. If you’re a local entrepreneur and have a story to tell, let me know!
“Food brought us together, and we just want to extend that, to see food bring this community together,” Jamal Chappelle explains. Jamal’s part of a team of long-time friends who’ve united to create Revive, one of the newest additions to the culinary scene here in Truxton Circle, located in what used to be The Hot Trout Grill at 8 Florida Ave. NW.
Jamal, Melvin Hines and Charese John, the co-owners, are all locals, but first became friends at Morehouse College in 1989. They’ve stayed close throughout the years, and when they found the opportunity to work together, using the business experience of Jamal and Melvin, and the event-planning and culinary expertise of Charese and her husband Kingsley (Revive’s head chef), they couldn’t resist.
Charese is a second-generation event planner. Kingsley has cooked in kitchens around the world, from his native St. Lucia to France to Chicago and New York. And now they’re both plying their skills just a few blocks away. Charese actually lives on North Capitol Street herself, and her kids are some of Revive’s most frequent visitors.
In five years time, the group hopes to find space for a sit-down restaurant and expand their brand, but in the interim they’re focused on improving their current space, perfecting their menu and serving the community, for example by offering internships to young people who want to learn about the business.
Revive features both takeout dining and catering services, all grounded in a blend of traditional soul food and island-inspired innovation. On the takeout side, you can chow down on fish and chips ($9.00), blackened tilapia ($9.00), fish sandwiches ($5.00) and more, and I can say from personal experience that under no circumstances should you leave without trying the Revive Ice Tea ($2.00) and truffle fries ($3.75). The team particularly recommends their Chicken & Red Velvet Waffle combo ($10.00, including a Revive Ice Tea).
When it comes to catering, Revive can help with events 24/7, including last-minute requests, creating custom menus for clients. They’ve serviced law firms, corporate events and house parties. So if you think your next holiday soiree could use an omelet station or some sweet tea or, should you be so adventurous, a Red Velvet waffle station, give Revive a call.
This Friday (Feb. 24th), Revive is launching a new initiative with recently hired chef Cris Dinwiddie, CatFish Fridays, a weekly event inspired by Cris’ former popular spot of the same name at 4th and Rhode Island NE. They’ll be open until 10pm and $10 can get you three pieces of whiting or trout, 2 pieces of croaker, 4 BBQ ribs or – of course – some of Cris’ legendary catfish.
When I first moved in, I remember the blank stares I would get describing where I lived until I mentioned “The Hot Trout,” one of those signs that seemed to work its way into everyone’s consciousness in the DMV. Here’s hoping that Revive can generate the same kind of recognition, but with the food coming first, as it so clearly does for Jamal, Melvin, Charese and the rest of the Revive team.
Revive is open for takeout from 11am to 6pm Monday-Thursday, from 12pm to 7pm on Saturday, and, starting this week, from 12pm to 10pm on Friday. Catering is available anytime, day or night. For more information, call 202.667.1212 or 202.667.1213.
If you stop in, let us know what you think! (And seriously, get the tea and truffle fries.)