A mouthwatering menu. A view of the U.S. Capitol. Sounds like it's stacking up to be one of the D.C.'s finest restaurants. So it might surprise you to know that this place is inside the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.
It's called Mitsitam. Executive Chef Richard Hetzler is back to work after a big win Sunday night. A panel of food writers honored Mitsitam with a RAMMY. It's an award handed out by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. Mitsitam became the first museum restaurant ever to win a RAMMY.
"We all looked at each other. Did they just say the Mitsitam cafe? And then we all stood up and it was on from there," laughs Hetzler.
The category is best casual restaurant. It's a boost for the staff at this restaurant where the menu changes every season.
They are not just cooking Native American food. They are also giving something back. About three quarters of the money they spend buying food for the restaurant goes back into the community. The salmon, for example, comes from a tribe in the state of Washington.
Peter Stangel is here in D.C. on business. He lives in South Carolina. When people suggested Mitsitam for lunch, he was "a little dubious." He says the restaurant is "changing my view of museum food and leading me to want to set up more meetings on this side of town."