Your Break Between Classes

Howard’s Best Eats

For the first time in two years, Howard University is conducting in-person homecoming events.  Campus is already buzzing with recent grads, long-standing alumni, first-year students, and many in the community experiencing their very first Howard homecoming. Whether this is your first or fifteenth homecoming, 101 Magazine has your back with a compilation of the best spots to eat in DC for this year’s homecoming.

Alana Matthew | 101 Magazine Photo by Jamaica Kalika

Ben’s Chili Bowl

This U Street staple, is one of the few remaining relics of Black Broadway, feeding Black history movements since 1958. Together, the founders (and Howard alumni), Ben and Virginia Ali created D.C.’s signature dish–the half-smoke– bringing in frequent A-list visitors like former president Barack Obama and Pope Francis.  

Regardless of their well-earned clout, Ben’s Chili Bowl and the Ali family are still rooted in the community. They regularly use their 18k Instagram followers to shout out the next generation of Black talent.

“We’ve always been that gathering place, I’ve seen generations coming back to Ben’s,” says founder Virginia Ali.

They have multiple locations throughout the district, products in grocery stores around the country, nationwide delivery, and even have their own Go-Go song

This year they celebrated their 64th anniversary, honoring the decades they’ve spent pioneering local gastronomy.

What to get: 

Most popular: Chili Half-Smoke or Chili Cheeseburger w/ Mustard and Onions (veggie alternatives as well)

Virginia’s favorite: Beef Dog

101 pick: Milkshake!

Alana Matthew | 101 Magazine Photo by Jamaica Kalika

Los Hermanos  

At Los Hermanos, twins Raymond and Aris Compres, are preparing authentic Dominican food. Los Hermanos specializes in serving their mom’s recipes in home-sized servings at affordable prices. Served cafeteria style, their cooking transports you straight to the Dominican Republic. 

What started out as a small bodega in 1995, the smell of their mom’s home-cooked meals would fill the store enticing customers. Soon, she was given full reign to do as she pleased, earning them a community of loyal customers.

Owner, Aris Compres, says, “We have a huge responsibility, Dominicans have a high standard for their food, it has to taste like their mom’s cooking.” 

Located right along the Howard shuttle’s West Campus route, getting to Los Hermanos is a convenient trip for the Howard student. “Every time I go on a Target run, I stop at Los Hermanos,” says Jasmyn Forde, a senior at Howard University.

Los Hermanos is a staple in Columbia Heights and the district’s Dominican community. This spot is a favorite for the Washington Nationals, who often make use of their catering services, and has been featured in the Washington Post.

With such a broad range of dishes, serving basically every Dominican dish there is, call ahead to see what is available during the week or what days certain dishes are out.

What to get:

Most Popular: “La Bandera” your choice of meat, rice, and a side!

101 Pick: Sweet Plantains and ask for Yuca Fries

Alana Matthew | 101 Magazine Photo by Jamaica Kalika


NuVegan is one of the most popular vegan restaurants in the DMV. This 100% vegan, family-owned restaurant was started in 2008 with the purpose of serving delicious food that satisfies the soul, as well as redefining the perception of vegan cuisine. Their mission is to be a place for cultural community building that can act as a motivating force towards global awareness.

With multiple locations and food truck service throughout the DMV, they even have a cafe in Howard’s Blackburn Center.

“We’ve always been next door to Howard, it’s been a real good relationship,” says Godel Sharp, manager at NuVegan Cafe.

Alafia Bailey, a student at Howard University says, “For me, it’s just convenient to be able to use dining dollars to get NuVegan.”

As one of the premier vegan joints in the country, NuVegan gets a lot of love and hype. Celebrities like Drake, Kanye West, and Kim Kardashian have made it a point to visit while in town.

Beyond great eats, NuVegan supports the collective interest in community building, youth education, business development support, and healthy eating initiatives.

What to get:

Most popular: Chick’n drummies, Mac and Cheese, Collard Greens

101 pick: Crab Cake or Fish Sandwich, Cabbage, Mac and Cheese

Staff pick: Fried steak, Sweet Potatoes, Mac and Cheese

Alana Matthew | 101 Magazine Photo by Jamaica Kalika

Roaming Rooster

Founded by an Ethiopian family, the Habtemariams, Roaming Rooster started as a food truck in 2015. During the famed “chicken sandwich war” over the pandemic, this Black-owned restaurant was able to capitalize on the national craze. In conjunction with the social media movement to support black-owned businesses during the George Floyd protests and specifically popularized by this tweet, Roaming Rooster has undergone a rapid expansion.

In 2018, they opened their first brick-and-mortar in the Northeast, followed shortly after by a U Street location in 2020. Which makes for easy access for the Howard community. They now have five locations and four trucks to meet the demand for their quality chicken sandwiches.

“The life on U Street was a big part of the decision-making for this location,” says general manager Luciana Calderon.

Possibly one of the best chicken sandwiches in the nation, Roaming Rooster is critically and customer acclaimed and has a very loyal following throughout the DMV. 

The goal of providing free-range, grain-fed, and antibiotic-free chicken is to uplift spirits and bring people together, for customers to feel good about the comfort food they’re eating. 

Roaming Rooster also has pop-ups on campus to promote the restaurant and give out food, so try and catch them!

What to get: 

Most Popular/Staff Pick: Honey Butter 

101 Pick: OG Nashville and a Half-Half

Jamaica Kalika

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