Ralph Lee, the co-owner of Ghibellina and Acqua Al 2, is a part of the 14th Street corridor’s hot new restaurant scene making the District attractive to young newcomers. But he is a rarity: He actually grew up here. As he witnesses the city change, he embraces it while remembering its history.
At Ghibellina, Ralph Lee, center, and executive chef Jonathan Copeland discuss the merits of a torta di mele made by server Carly Boyce. Lee, 31, co-owner of Acqua Al 2 on Capitol Hill and Ghibellina on 14th Street, the site of a bustling new restaurant and night life scene, grew up in predominantly black HIllcrest in Southeast Washington but attended the exclusive Sidwell Friends School in Northwest. "People would always say, 'Southeast? It's so dangerous!' And I remember being confused," he said. "I was thinking Southeast was great." Andre Chung/for The Washington Post