The Washington, D.C.-based Williams, who’s done extensive work here with top arts groups such as the Mann Center and Philadelphia Orchestra, is getting ready for the 2022 premiere of his musical Grace, which captures the fictional Minton family of Philadelphia, who have gathered to mourn the matriarch who held the family together through her African American cooking traditions.
Williams’ EatOkra guide celebrates South Jazz Kitchen in Spring Garden, Friday Saturday Sunday in Rittenhouse, Brotherly Grub in Mount Airy, Tasties Soul Food in North Philadelphia and West Philadelphia, Atiya Ola’s Spirit Foods in West Philadelphia, and Corrine’s Place in Camden. (Note that although Williams shouts out Brotherly Love’s food truck, which frequently parks outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art, it is a brick-and-mortar cafe at 7135 Germantown Ave.)
In a statement, Williams said his choices “embody the soul of Grace, where we celebrate family, entrepreneurship, cultural traditions and, of course, the power of food to bring us together.”
Last summer, Philadelphia was among the cities featured in Williams’ viral voting rights anthem, “I Have a Right to Vote,” which got more than 1.2 million views during the national election cycle.
Here’s a September 2020 chat between arts critic Peter Dobrin and Williams:
Grace, which has been in the works since 2014, is set to open in early 2022 in Washington. The pandemic thwarted a debut in March 2020 as part of the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre in Louisville.
To download Williams’ Philadelphia guide, open the Apple Maps iPhone app and type “EatOkra” in the search field.