Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Food and Jazz in Washington's Old U Street North West Corridor

During the first half of the 20th century the old U Street North West corridor now called the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, DC became a jazz haven with various clubs such as Crystal Caverns (later renamed Bohemian Caverns), Lincoln Colonnade, Club Bengasi, Gypsy West, the Hotel Cario ballroom, and the Northeast Casino among others.  According to a 1942 article in the New York Amsterdam Star-News, a typical menu in a Washington jazz club and restaurant in the 1940s might include, “barbecued pork, lima beans, rice, sweet potatoes, Hominy grits, mashed potatoes, green peas” and surprisingly, “spaghetti.” These venues propelled local music careers and hosted legendary jazz artist from around the country such as Cab Calloway.

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