“The DC Public Library has selected DC Central Kitchen, in partnership with Occasions Catering and Chef José Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup, to provide food and catering services for the modernized Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.”

Photo by Anna Meyer via DCPL

From the DC Public Library:

“The DC Public Library has selected DC Central Kitchen, in partnership with Occasions Catering and Chef José Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup, to provide food and catering services for the modernized Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. As part of managing the building’s café, meeting and special event spaces, the group will offer District residents hospitality-sector apprenticeship opportunities.

The $211 million Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library modernization added two new spaces: a 4,300 sq. ft. ground-level café connected to a new outdoor garden space and a new fifth floor that features a 14,900-square-foot rooftop, event space and catering kitchen.

DC Central Kitchen will operate “Marianne’s by DC Central Kitchen,” on the first floor of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. Occasions Caterers will manage catering services in the event rental spaces. DC Central Kitchen has tapped Chef José Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup to consult on the café’s operation and menu development.

Photo by Anna Meyer via DCPL

“Having a cafe where customers can purchase snacks or beverages gives them more reasons to spend time in their library, which is a crucial part of our goal to make the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library a hub of activity downtown, said Richard Reyes-Gavilan, executive director of the DC Public Library. “In addition, giving cafe employees job training in customer service, hospitality and in other areas to prepare them for success beyond their time at the Library, the cafe embodies Dr. King’s passion for economic self-determination.”

“Marianne’s by DC Central Kitchen represents the most high-profile addition to our portfolio of meaningful programs and innovative social enterprises in a decade,” said DC Central Kitchen CEO, Mike Curtin, Jr. “This cafe and catering partnership with DC Public Library will help transform how American cities imagine the role and combined power of libraries and nonprofits. We are honored to help carry forward the legacy of Dr. King while honoring the memory of our beloved colleague Marianne Ali, who embodied the values of DC Central Kitchen by affirming the worth, dignity, and potential of everyone she met and educated.”

Marianne’s honors Chef Marianne Ali, who led the DC Central Kitchen’s job-training program to national prominence. Ali won a White House Champion of Change Award for her work with returning citizens before passing away in 2017. In addition to serving high-quality beverages and light fare featuring locally-sourced ingredients, Marianne’s will provide on-the-job training to youth and adults facing barriers to employment and house the first hospitality-sector apprenticeship in the District. ThinkFoodGroup and Occasions Caterers will work closely with DC Central Kitchen to offer jobs, internships, and apprenticeships to help ensure that District residents have an opportunity to learn the skills needed for jobs in the food and beverage industry.

Operating hours for Marianne’s by DC Central Kitchen are to be determined, pending city health guidelines. To learn more about rentals of space in the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, visit”

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