Sweet Home Café is telling the American story, one plate at a time

WASHINGTON -- More than a million people have visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture since it opened last September. But one exhibit in particular is striking a chord with visitors who describe it as "delicious."

"We go through over 600 pounds of chicken a day, we're going through over 100 pounds of catfish a day, oxtail is another 300 pounds a day," says Jerome Grant, the executive chef at Sweet Home Café, inside Washington's newest attraction.

"We sell out of everything," Grant says.

Grant, the son of a Filipino mother and African-American father, calls Sweet Home Café an "edible exhibit."

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The chefs at Sweet Home Café in Washington.

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"You know a lot of people associate African-American food with Southern food. We are more than Southern food. African-Americans were some of the true cooks behind American foods, whether we were slaves or indentured servants," Grant says.

He adds, "We were in these kitchens. We were in the kitchens at the Senate, we were in the kitchens within the stable houses, we were everywhere and we helped develop what American food is today."

So while Southern favorites like fried chicken are on the 50 item menu, you'll also find oysters made famous by New Yorker Thomas Downing.

"His oyster tavern doubled as a stop on the underground railroad," Grant says.

The 35 member staff serve up to 3,000 meals per day and it's an immense operation.

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Chefs prepare a meal at Sweet Home Café.

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Still, visitors agree -- it's something special.

"How does it compare? I can't tell the difference. It's good, man, I tell ya," Eugene Lamb said.

Grant, telling the American story, one plate at a time.

"This food… I'm at home!" Lamb said.

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Visitors eat at Sweet Home Café in Washington.

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