As music legends’ memories are reminded to both older and younger generations through recycled lyrics and tribute tours, a Washington, DC Belgian food restaurant decided to pay homage to the late Marvin Gaye.
He’s been referenced by 2Pac on “Keep Ya Head Up,” joined by Erick Sermon on “(Just Like) Music” and sampled on classic singles by Method Man and Mary J Blige, Ice Cube and Fat Joe. Marvin now means something even in culinary art.
Opened last fall by one of the singer’s biggest admirers, Eric Hilton, the restaurant “Marvin” stands in DC’s 14th Street NW, a section that once represented the heart of the city’s black social life and a block away from where Gaye dropped out of high school to pursue a legendary singing career.
Hilton’s desire to mix Belgian and soul food together was purely intentional as it pays tribute to Belgium, the place Gaye wrote the classic “Sexual Healing” and spent some of his most pleasant days in the Belgian beach resort town of Ostend, according to a recent segment from National Public Radio.
Admitting the powerful influence of the Motown legend and furthering his justification for creating the restaurant, Hilton confessed that Gaye created one of his favorite albums of all time.
“What’s Going On is the best record ever made. That’s the record that does it for me,” he previously told The Washington Post.
Stepping away from the typical clichés found on menus at legend-based tribute restaurants like Hard Rock Café and Planet Hollywood, Hilton decided to stick with quality-based food without titled meals.
“He liked Soul—Dover Soul and chicken. We have both of those so—that’s good,” he jokingly told NPR.
Despite the name-based dishes, the restaurant features a centerpiece on its lower level with an image of Gaye smiling as though he were watching everyone enjoy their meals.
In addition to the lavish settings of new furniture and architecture, the restaurant contains an instantly famous rooftop deck known for being overly crowded even during the winter nights.
“It’s incredible because it’ll be 20 degrees out in January and people still pile [in],” Hilton said.
While the lines between a Marvin Gaye tribute and fine dining may sometimes become blurred as the restaurant turns in to more of a social hang-out with offerings of chicken and waffles and a featured deejay each night, ‘Marvin’ nonetheless is expected to continue the legend’s memories in his native home.
Reported by Cyrus Langhorne.