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Downtown / Lower NW >
Southern & Soul >
Saints Paradise Cafeteria
Posted by Jeff on 07/27/2008
Having been there several times for dinner, having a variety of entrees and vegetables, I think you get more than what you pay for. First, it's a cafeteria, slightly off the main street, and located under the church you have to find it. It's not the Outback, Macaroni Grill, or Ruby Tuesday's it's not The Country Buffett or a neighborhood diner it's a cafeteria. It seves a cross-section of customers ranging from well-to-do people (by any standards) from the neighborhood (many who've eaten there regularly for years), workers in the neighborhood, to local DC police, who want good, affordable food, some down-and-outers who make their purchase last several meals and, people like me and significant other who found it by word of mouth. You get good to very good food, in large portions to eat on cafeteria sytle tables (with several TVs showing CNN) or to take out (many take it "to go" but eat some there and take the rest home for leftovers). The food is almost all home-made (they tell you the mashed potatoes come from a box) there's one lunch/dinner special every day and they have a frequent customer card buy a certain number of breakfasts or dinners (Monday through Wednesday) and the next meal is free. What's as important as the food is that the staff is as friendly to the newest person (as we were) as they are to long-time regulars, the service is good (while eating at the table, they came and asked if I wanted more fish than I had, that it was hot, and it was at no extra cost), and they care about what they do, everyone from the cooks to the cashier, from the service line to the busboy (yes, they clear the table for you). And, while the cafeteria is associated with an African American church, no one is out of place, African American, white, Hispanic, or Asian. It's what a neighborhood cafeteria should be about good people and good food. For us, it's somewhat out of the way and it's worth the regular trip we make there.
Posted by Roberta on 02/05/2008
I am a regular patron and a native Washingtonian who is very picky about my food and the places where I eat. In particular, I go to the Saints Paradise Cafeteria on 6th Street N.W. because the customer service is outstanding. I would NOT recommend the Southeast Washington Cafeteria (heard lots of bad rumors about the SE Branch from my husband and others regarding their bad customer service.) The Saints Paradise Cafeteria (NW Branch) is clean, the food is out of this world good, you don't have to worry about anyone cursing or disrespecting one another. It's a respectful place to take children, family, and out-of-towners . You get a meal that is very fulfilling and every sense of the word "reasonably priced." It's the next best thing to Momma's home cookin' (God rest her soul). Always look forward to a long lines because where there's great food, you'll see a crowd waiting to be served. Believe me when I say "It's well worth the wait." I can't stress it enough, you can't get a better meal reasonably priced anywhere else in town outside of your Momma's home cooking. If you haven't noticed, meals in most places are charged by the pound so they can make a killin' in profit. The Saints Paradise Cafeteria charges by the plate, so you don't have to worry about paying an arm and a leg to get a good home cooked meal. It's so much food that you can't eat it all in one setting. Of course, if you get the Blue Plate (which is similar to a kids meal - you'll get smaller portions of whatever their special is for that day), I really l-o-v-e their food and highly recommend it to everyone. Good cooks, great food, clean atmosphere all around, and awesome customer service.
Posted by Archie on 10/01/2007
Steps away from Mt Vernon Sq subway station. Look for the church with the golden dome. Candied yams are to die for. Food is excellent, including deserts. We had dinner for two people, drink, and dessert for $24! That's not bad. Big portions. People behind the counter are so helpful and hospitable. They embrace business from everyone, including Filipinos like me. Did I say their candied yams are to die for??
Posted by Ms J on 08/26/2007
I am not originally from the area and have been trying to find a decent soul food restaurant. After several attempts I had not been satisfied until I was introduced to Saints Paradise Cafeteria. The food is spectacular and everything is well seasoned. A dinner plate will run you around $8. For some this may be too much money, but for the amount of food you get, it is definately worth it. I was able to eat half for dinner and the other half for lunch the next day. This is definately the closest thing you'll get to mom's food.
Posted by Devlin on 07/27/2007
I've heard of Daddy Grace Church/Saints Paradise Cafeteria for years, but never stopped by. I recently attended a funeral at the church above, and decided this was finally the time to try it. Wow! The food is fantastic. They have a menu of about 18 dishes, but they only cook about 4 a day, rotating through the posted menu. I had the ribs, mac-cheese with gravy, greens and corn bread. I had this bagged for take away. The cafeteria is a very decent, exceptionally clean environment, but I was tired after the funeral and just wanted to get home. Well, they stuffed SO MUCH food into the take-away box I couldn't finish it all. I NEVER thought I'd get to the point where I couldn't get through all the ribs put before me, but it finally happened. While this is a cafeteria associated with an African American Church, and the patrons are mostly AA, EVERYBODY is welcome. The staff are so friendly and welcoming. They looked like they were genuinely glad to see me. The entrance is on M Street at the end of the Church, between 6th an 7th street. Just follow the signs for Saints Paradise. You won't be sorry. You can bet that I'll be stopping by for dinner quite often now. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.
Posted by Angel on 05/31/2007
As a native Washingtonian, "Daddy Graces" has been pleasing my palate for as long as I can remember. If you love southern cooking, then look no further. My favorite dish is the fried catfish, w/mac & cheese, & greens. Wash it down w/an iced tea-lemonade mix and finish it off w/some banana pudding for dessert.
Posted by Mo on 03/06/2007
Saints Paradise is a perfect lunch and dinner treat for myself and friends. I love the seafood combo, greens, potato salad and cornbread. The desserts are really scrumptious and taste sinfully delicious. The cashier is so refreshingly friendly. I would recommend Saints Paradise for all out-of-towners who want a soulful experience in D.C. This is truly a landmark for most native Washingtonians! Keep up the good work and I will forever patronage you. Thanks.