Opening 2016


Greg and Kwame

Gregory Vakiner and Kwame Onwuachi became friends after meeting in culinary school and soon began collaborating throughout the course of their education. From putting on catering events together during school to working with one another at Eleven Madison Park, these two have a vision for fine dining that stems from their combined experiences with travel and food. Come see what this team plans to offer the culinary world at The Shaw Bijou in Washington D.C.

Kwame Onwuachi

Executive Chef/Owner

Since Onwuachi's mother is a chef herself, he has been surrounded by food since he was a small child. At the age of twenty, Onwuachi found himself with a drive to become a chef, but no funding to get there. He began selling candy on a train to raise start up funds for a catering business, with an eye to earning the money he would need to pursue a formal culinary education. When he initially enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America, Onwuachi took full advantage of the opportunity to do an externship while working at Per Se. Immediately following graduation from CIA, Onwuachi worked at Eleven Madison Park before being offered the opportunity to travel with Dinner Lab, a competition across the U.S. in every major city. After winning Dinner Lab, he was invited to stay on to continue traveling with the company.

After putting on a dinner in Washington, D.C., Onwuachi was contacted for a business opportunity. That meeting has led Onwuachi to The Shaw Bijou: a restaurant of his vision paired with his former classmate, longtime coworker, and close friend, who shares closely Onwuachi's views of what it takes to run a great restaurant.

The timing in between ventures has allowed Onwuachi to spend time traveling through parts of Southeast Asia and India, furthering the cultural influences he grew up with. What truly inspires Onwuachi's cuisine is his Nigerian and Jamaican ancestry, his childhood in the Bronx, his time spent living in Nigeria and New Orleans, and traveling around the world. Onwuachi recently became a Top Chef season 13 participant and was named a "rock star redefining the industry" by Zagat DC for its inaugural "30 under 30" list in 2015.

Gregory Vakiner

General Manager/Owner

On track to pursue a degree in engineering, Gregory Vakiner found his true passion for food after years of working in restaurants throughout his hometown in Butler County, Pennsylvania. Soon after enrolling in the Culinary Institute of America in Poughkeepsie, New York, Vakiner met Onwuachi. The two began working together, coordinating pop-ups throughout New York City to help Onwuachi finance his education. Shortly before graduation, the world-renowned Eleven Madison Park presented Vakiner with a job, which he accepted without hesitation. This started Vakiner on the path towards his passion: a career centered around hospitality. Though he enjoyed his time at Eleven Madison Park, Vakiner and Onwuachi had always dreamed of opening a restaurant someday together. The result: The Shaw Bijou.

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When are you opening?

We will open this winter. We are finishing the build-out of our space and look forward to serving you.

Will you be taking reservations?

Yes, we will utilize an online ticketing system to take reservations.

Why online ticketing?

We aim to provide a memorable experience to our guests. Online ticketing allows us to prepare for you and your unique needs. It also provides you instant transparency into what days and times are available for your planning needs.

Will you accommodate dietary restrictions, food allergies, and/or dislikes?

We will adjust our experience for you to the best of our ability. Please provide as much detail as possible when online ticketing is available, and we will be sure to confirm all dietary needs with all guests prior to your reservations.

What else will you be serving besides food?

We will offer a chef's beverage pairing as well as wine and non-alcoholic pairings. We will also have a bar with specialty cocktails, wines, beers, rare liquors, and more.

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The Shaw Bijou

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